Date of Conferral





Health Services


Magdeline Aagard


African American women tend to experience higher health disparities in cancer-related illness than any other female population in the United States. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to identify and examine access-related barriers that play a significant role in the decision-making process of this population when seeking breast cancer health services. The central research question explored the effect that barriers to health care have on African American women in the Southeastern region of the United States. Secondary research questions explored the role the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 has on improving access to affordable, quality breast cancer screening services for the sample population. A critical theory lens of racism and ethnicity provided conceptual framework for this case study. Significant findings identified barriers to accessing breast cancer related health services as personal, community, social, systemic, and institutional. Personal barriers identified were related to access, autonomy, and benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Social barriers corresponded to cultural, financial burden, funding, health conditions, insurance, role within the family self-discovery, and spirituality. Community barriers included access, advocacy, and autonomy. Systemic and institutional barriers consisted of doctor listening, doctor's rapport, doctor treatment, lack of trust, and benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Implications for social change included bringing awareness of the need to establish a Breast Cancer Resource Center in the region to engage this population in preventive measures, improve health outcome and reduce health disparities.