Identifying barriers to healthcare to reduce health disparity in Zuni Indians using focus group conducted by community health workers

Clin Transl Sci. 2014 Feb;7(1):6-11. doi: 10.1111/cts.12127. Epub 2013 Nov 8.


The Zuni Pueblo is home to an economically disadvantaged population, which faces a public health challenge from the interrelated epidemics of obesity, diabetes and kidney disease. Efforts to decrease the impact of these epidemics have been complicated by historical, economic and cultural barriers, which may limit healthcare utilization. The NIH supported Zuni Health Initiative (ZHI) conducted a study to identify barriers to healthcare in the Zuni Pueblo. Community health representatives (CHRs) led 14 one-hour focus group sessions at which a total of 112 people participated posed unique questions that took into account the Zuni culture to elicit information on perceived barriers to healthcare. Audiotapes were translated and transcribed by bilingual ZHI staff. We reduced the text to thematic categories, constructed a coding dictionary and inserted the text into NVivo 9 program. We identified nine themes emerged regarding the barriers experienced in receiving healthcare and adhering to medical advice. These included distance; transportation; embarrassment; relating to healthcare professionals; navigating the medical system; awareness of available resources; waiting times; adhering to medication; and incentives in health promotion. In conclusion the implementation of culturally appropriate community-based health promotion programs and preventive screening techniques will improve access to healthcare and diminish health disparities.

Keywords: American Indians; access to healthcare; barriers to healthcare; community health representatives (CHRs); community-based participatory research (CBPR); health disparity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Community Health Workers
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Policy
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Mexico
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • United States Indian Health Service
  • Young Adult