Date of Conferral
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
This qualitative study described perceptions and beliefs of African American men and women ages 30 and over regarding their experiences with the health care system in the United States. The health belief model was the theory that drove this research, and it was grounded in the concept of cultural competency. The study used grounded theory methodology as well as phenomenology to describe the lived experiences of the participants and ethnography to describe the cultural characteristics of African American men and women ages 30 and over as related to their perceptions and beliefs about health care in the United States. The participants were purposefully selected from a women’s group (19), a men’s group (17), and a church group (38) for data collection. Selected questions from the Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire 18 and interviews of selected participants (3) were used to collect data. Data analysis consisted of organizing and arranging the raw data into categories by the research questions: (1) Do African Americans ages 30 and over perceive the health care system in the United States as biased and negative? (2) Do African Americans ages 30 and over believe the health care system in the United States as biased and negative? The themes that emerged from this study were distrust, lack of respect, lack of empathy, lack of communication and confidence, and racial bias. A theme that emerged from this study, not found in previous research or literature, was the high cost of medicine. This study supports social change by revealing that there is a need for policy changes among health administrators and practitioners to help mitigate disparities in medical care so all patients have equal and quality health care in the United States.