Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Rothenberg

Second Advisor

Mary Anne Adams

Third Advisor

Donna Smith


Historically, the Black church has acted as the leader and social service provider in the black community. Despite the church’s successes in providing support to alleviate health disparities, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has remained largely ignored. Research has shown that rather than just providing information about high risk HIV behavior, underlying inequities also need to be addressed. This analysis contains data from four separate qualitative focus groups containing faith leaders and community members and preliminary quantitative data from community members. Responses from community members and faith leaders are compared and reported relating poverty, violence, HIV, and other inequities within their neighborhoods. The analysis focuses on the common themes of perceived barriers and future recommendations given by the community members and faith leaders. Community members and faith leaders both identified structural barriers and inequalities. With regards to HIV services, community members were concerned with confidentiality as well as availability and extent of services. Faith leaders discussed possible conflicts with church teachings and funding. Both groups acknowledged the impact of stigma. These findings highlight greater environmental factors that impact HIV services in black ministries, but also includes changes that could be addressed by ministries at the local level.