All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Cynthia Ryan

Advisory Committee Members

Margater Jay Jessee

Christopher Minnix

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


Overlapping exigencies experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic illustrate the need for adaptable and flexible public health responses that include cultural perspectives and lived experiences of specific groups. The rhetoric surrounding COVID-19 has proven to be multifocal because of the social and environmental experiences occurring simultaneously. Americans experienced periods of civil unrest, unequitable health care, overall lifestyle changes, and an immediate shift to telehealth use as the pandemic unfolded. This research examines telehealth engagement during the pandemic among African American (AA) women ages 75 and older to indicate the benefits and challenges to patient care in a virtual environment and from an ecological perspective to show the role culture plays in health care. Structured phone interviews were conducted using an eighteen-item questionnaire to gain a better understanding of how personal beliefs, experiences, and behavior impact health decision-making among women who engaged in a telehealth visit during the pandemic. Participants were asked questions pertaining to health care, technology use in the home, experience with telehealth visits and providers, and interest in electronic health information. Findings show that telehealth has been beneficial to this population of older AA women who can fully engage in it, and that technological approaches can be more effective when they address physical limitations, accessibility, and cognition barriers among older AA populations. This study also notes iv the need for public discourse that emergences from fluid public health crises to be adaptable, flexible, and to accommodate the cultural perspectives of targeted groups. In order for the public health response to global health crises to be effective, social influences should be a part of the public discourse.



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