Date of Conferral





Public Health


Michael Schwab


Foreign-born African immigrants (FBAI) have a high rate of severe hypertension (HTN) and psychosocial-cultural factors have underlying roles in this, as in other chronic diseases. Literature lacks studies on FBAI women living with HTN. This study explored the HTN experience of FBAI women in the Washington Metropolitan area. This qualitative phenomenological study, was guided by a theoretical framework that included the Health Belief Model, Patient Centered Access to Health Care and the Transactional Model of Stress and Coping. Highly educated health care professional of 15 women participated in in-depth interviews. Thematic analysis was used for data analysis. Key findings included (a) most had a family history of HTN and believed HTN is deadly but reported going into denial after their initial diagnosis; (b) many did not practice lifestyle modifications and did not consider it a priority to take their medications as prescribed by their clinicians; (c) many preferred their ethnic foods to American food; (d) many used herbs from West Africa, though some were concerned about long-term side effects; (e) many had medical insurance and easy access to HTN services, but reported that clinicians did not listen to their concerns or provide culturally appropriate guidance; and (f) some recommended that HTN treatment services for FBAI should be designed better to address cultural patterns of communication, diet and exercise. The results of this study may contribute to social change by offering more culturally sensitive HTN services that would likely increase treatment compliance among FBAI women