Deaf Perceptions Project

General Information

The goal of the Deaf Cardiovascular Health Perceptions Study is to contribute knowledge on the perceptions of cardiovascular health among the deaf linguistic minority in areas such as Rochester, NY, Denver, CO, and Raleigh, NC. The deaf linguistic minority group is considered medically underserved since it appears to struggle with language barriers. The loss of hearing is considered a cultural identity rather than a disability among this population. This deaf group is highly represented in the smaller deaf community that primarily communicates in American Sign Language (ASL) and shares the values of Deaf Culture.

Due to language barriers and society's heavy reliance on an auditory-oriented method of information dispersal, this group has fewer opportunities to acquire knowledge of cardiovascular health compared to hearing native English speakers. It is unclear as to whether there are further discrepancies in their cardiovascular health perceptions among the deaf minority groups who share other racial and ethnic identities compared to those hearing individuals sharing similar racial and ethnic identities.

back to top

Status of the Project

Focus groups in North Carolina and Colorado have been completed. RPRC:NCDHR has completed the translation and transcription phase as well as the analysis of the data from North Carolina and Colorado.

back to top


McKee M, Schlehofer D, Cuculick J, Starr M, Smith S, Chin N. (2011). Perceptions of cardiovascular health in an underserved community of deaf adults using American Sign Language (Abstract). Disability and Health Journal; 4(3):192-7.

back to top


McKee M, Cuculick J, Schlehofer D, Smith S, Starr M, and Chin N. Perceptions of Cardiovascular Health in an Underserved Community: A Qualitative Study of Deaf Adults through CHIRTN (Abstract). Presented at the APHA 138th Annual Meeting, Denver, CO; 2010 November 7.

McKee M. Deaf cardiovascular health perceptions (Slides). Presented at the Health Literacy Annual Research Conference, Washington, DC; 2009 Oct 12-13.

McKee M. Deaf perceptions of cardiovascular health (Slides). Presented at the American Heart Association 2009 Joint Conference: 49th Cardiovascular Disease, Epidemiology, and Prevention and Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism, NHLBI Trainee Session, 2009 Mar 11, Palm Harbor, FL.

back to top


Deaf Strong Hospital 2015

Actors needed!


Seeking Deaf persons age 18 and up interested in participating in Deaf Strong Hospital, an all-day activity for first-year medical students at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry that will teach them what it feels like to be Deaf in a hearing hospital.

DSH 2014 group pic

This is a role-reversal exercise, which means all of the doctors, receptionists, and pharmacists are Deaf and only communicate in ASL. The medical students will become patients and will have to learn how to communicate with Deaf doctors and nurses to get the health care they need. This fun and exciting event will take place at the University of Rochester Medical Center on August 28, 2015 from 8:30 to 3:30pm.

You will be paid about $50 for your participation. Free lunch and a t-shirt will also be provided to all participants.

Interested? Contact

Ian Deandrea-Lazarus