Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Health Related Sciences

First Advisor

William Korzun, PhD

Second Advisor

Teresa Nadder, PhD

Third Advisor

Susan Roseff, MD

Fourth Advisor

Elizabeth Ripley, MD


A continuous need for blood products, specifically for those who require frequent transfusions, such as individuals with sickle cell disease, warrants the need for targeted interventions to increase blood donations from underrepresented populations. One population in particular, African Americans, only account for 1% of blood donors in the United States. Literature indicates numerous reasons why this population is underrepresented amongst donors, including fear, lack of knowledge about the blood donation, and specific to this population, lack of trust in the medical community. This study involves the development, implementation, and assessment of a targeted educational approach, incorporating the Theory of Planned Behavior and various teaching methods, to motivate African Americans non-donors to attempt to donate blood.

Participants attended a 1-hour educational session where they completed two surveys, one before the session and one directly after. A third survey was completed 2 months after the session. Of the 155 individuals enrolled in the study, 142 subjects were included in the data analysis. Sixteen percent of the study participants presented to donate as a result of attending the educational session. This resulted in a statistically significantly higher proportion of African Americans presenting to donate than the current proportion in Virginia. Analysis of results from the first two surveys indicated that subjective norm and attitude were significant predictors of one’s intent to donate blood, while perceived behavioral control was not a factor. The educational session increased survey scores related to intent to donate in comparison to scores obtained prior to the session. While this study resulted in a significant proportion of new donors, there is still a need for interventions that will focus specifically on changing attitudes toward blood donation and a need for methods to motivate African Americans to educate individuals in the community on the importance of becoming blood donors.


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