Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Dr. Donald Goodwin


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of mortality worldwide, and may disproportionately affect the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHOH) subpopulation in the United States. It has been suggested that communication barriers among the DHOH subpopulation contribute to the high prevalence of CVD risk factors. To assess this claim, this quantitative study utilized a cross-sectional data set of 400 DHOH and 400 non- DHOH participants taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) database. The differences of being told by a health professional of having specific CVD risk factors were assessed between the two groups and chi-square test and odds ratio were used to assess significant differences. Results showed the DHOH participants were told more often of having diabetes than non-DHOH ([OR= (3.17), p<0.001]), and of having health risk for diabetes ([OR= (1.63), p=0.04]), but were less likely to have been told they have high cholesterol ([OR=(0.59), p=0.01]) which is a CVD risk factor. There were no significant differences observed between the two groups of having been told they had high blood pressure or having been told they had high blood pressure more than twice ([OR= (0.97), p =.89], [OR= (1.21), p=.63]), respectively. Future research should seek to validate self-reported health status with clinical assessment findings, including actual diagnoses to enable clinical validation of self-reports. The positive social implication for this research is the advancement of the research needs of the DHOH community, including possible unaddressed communication challenges in healthcare delivery to DHOH patients.