Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (PhD)

Degree Level



Political Science


Leah J. Henry

Committee Member

Kathleen Barta

Second Committee Member

Valerie Hunt


Social sciences, Health and environmental sciences, Arkansas, Health beliefs, Health disparities, Health policy, Immigrants, Pacific Islanders


Public policies have different effects on different populations groups and can perpetuate health disparities among some populations. My research utilizes community-based participatory approach to research in the examination of one unique population: the Marshallese. This dissertation research presents three papers that are part of a cohesive research agenda predicated on community-based participatory research (CBPR) to facilitate policy-oriented learning. My research can be used to inform health policy, health care services, and health education. Chapter Two presents the article titled: Health Beliefs of US Marshallese Regarding Type 2 Diabetes.

This article explores the research question: what health beliefs related to diabetes influence diabetes self-management behaviors? Chapter Three presents the article titled: Interpretive Policy Analysis: Marshallese COFA Migrants and the Affordable Care Act. This article explores the research questions: for Marshallese living in the United States, 1) what is their understanding of and experience with the ACA and related health policies; 2) what effect do the ACA and related health policies have on participants’ and the community’s health? Chapter Four presents the article titled: Family Model of Diabetes Education with a Pacific Islander Community, and this article explores the feasibility of a family model of diabetes education was conducted in participants’ homes with extended family members. This research, and my broader research agenda, seeks to improve health equality and decrease health disparities for the Marshallese community. The Marshallese community experiences many health disparities and constraints because to actions and policies of the US federal government, many of which must be addressed through changes in public policy. This dissertation research converges into a cohesive research agenda that is built on the principals of CBPR and is designed to fuel policy and programmatic action.