224743 Perceptions of Cardiovascular Health in an Underserved Community: A Qualitative Study of Deaf Adults through CHIRTN

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Michael M. McKee, MD, MPH , Department of Family Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Jess Cuculick, MSW, MEd , Department of Liberal Studies, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
Deirdre A. Schlehofer, MPhil, EdD , Rochester Prevention Research Center: National Center for Deaf Health Research, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Scott Smith, MD, MPH , Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Matthew Starr, MPH , Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Nancy Chin, PhD , Community and Preventive Medicine/Social and Behavioral Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Surveys of deaf adult users of American Sign Language (ASL) have shown high rates of obesity and poor knowledge of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risks. We used a social marketing framework to conduct 11 focus groups (FGs) among deaf adults over 40 to ascertain their knowledge of CVD risk, their health promoting behaviors, and sources of information about CVD. Barriers and facilitators to those three domains were also noted. 77 ASL-using deaf adults participated in the FGs held in Raleigh, NC; Denver, Colorado; and Rochester, NY. Participants were recruited through deaf social and professional networks. To increase open exchange of information, deaf moderators only used ASL. Participants at all sites were predominately overweight/obese, white, female, and graduates of deaf schools. Average educational achievement in NC and Colorado focus groups participants were much lower than in Rochester. The awareness of heart disease symptoms, risk factors and the importance of exercise varied between regions studied. Limited knowledge about diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and medications was seen at all FG sites. There was an overreliance on friends and families for health information which led to distorted perceptions of CVD risks. Key facilitators of CVD risk reduction were strong social support among deaf peers and health information exchange. The findings support the need for ASL-accessible cardiovascular health information that can increase CVD knowledge in this under-served group. Risk reduction programs may be especially effective if designed in a group format which takes advantage of the close knit structure of the deaf community.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe knowledge of cardiovascular risk, health promoting behaviors and sources of information for deaf adults who use American Sign Language. 2. Define barriers and facilitators among participants in three different cities across America. 3. Assess what strategies could be effective for this group. 3.

Keywords: Deaf, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work closely with deaf individuals for a number of years through health educational programs and as a primary care physician. My active research interest is in this field.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.