Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Health Services


Dr. Frazier Beatty


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is preventable and reversible in the early stages with upstream strategies; however, the number of individuals diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is increasing annually. Although researchers have documented the physiological and psychological stressors associated with hemodialysis (HD), little is known about the effects of in-center HD on the recipients in DeKalb County, Georgia. This study described the experiences of 10 African American HD patients who dialyze in DeKalb County. Using a phenomenological approach, the interviews were transcribed and then analyzed for significant quotes and recurrent themes relevant to receiving HD in DeKalb County. The health belief model was used to identify the perceptions and susceptibilities that formed the lived experiences of the participants. Results showed that 70% of the patients had been diagnosed with hypertension and/or diabetes and that 50% had never heard of ESRD prior to diagnosis. All 10 patients reported never knowing that hypertension and/or diabetes was a major cause of ESRD. The study sought to find common themes related to the perceived threat of ESRD by the participants. This study can be used to implement positive social change by instituting upstream strategies to decrease the prevalence of ESRD or slow the progression of CKD in this population, heightening awareness of this disease in minority communities, and implementing a sustainable health behavior plan to decrease the prevalence of the disease.