Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 177–185 | Cite as

TB Perspectives among a Sample of Mexicans in the United States: Results from an Ethnographic Study

  • Heather A. Joseph
  • K. Waldman
  • C. Rawls
  • M. Wilce
  • R. Shrestha-Kuwahara
Original Paper



A study was conducted to describe the sociocultural aspects of tuberculosis (TB) among Mexicans in the U.S. and to provide TB programs with practical recommendations for serving this population.


In-depth, structured, open-ended interviews were conducted with 50 persons from Mexico living in the U.S. Local bilingual, bicultural researchers conducted the interviews with respondents recruited from TB clinics and surrounding communities. Both qualitative and quantitative strategies were used to analyze the data.


We found diverse TB perceptions and attitudes, but few were associated with specific participant characteristics. We detected widespread misperceptions about TB transmission and low perceptions of risk. Anticipated TB stigma among those with no history of disease was qualitatively greater than reported stigma among those who had TB disease. We also detected missed opportunities for TB education. Reported barriers to care included lack of transportation, limited clinic hours, cost of services, inconvenient clinic location, and communication problems with staff.


To address the diverse needs of Mexican-born clients, we recommend that TB programs provide culturally-appropriate, patient-centered care. We suggest several strategies aimed at raising risk awareness and reducing stigma. Finally, we encourage programs to facilitate access by providing language-appropriate services, extending clinic hours, and facilitating transportation.


Tuberculosis Cultural competency Ethnography Mexican Latent tuberculosis infection 



The study team would like to acknowledge the dedicated staff at the study sites: the DeKalb County Board of Health (especially Alawode Oladele) and the Denver Public Health and Hospitals Authority (especially Randall Reves, Lourdes Yun, and Maribeth O’Neill). For helping to implement the study, we thank the ORC Macro team (Brendaly Rodriguez, Gayle Payne, and Eileen Franco) and the bilingual researchers (Gloria Leo, Maria Soto, and Fernando Pineda). Kelly McCarrier and Susana Calderon assisted with the literature review. We also thank Suzanne Marks and Nick DeLuca for reviewing the draft manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather A. Joseph
    • 1
  • K. Waldman
    • 2
  • C. Rawls
    • 3
  • M. Wilce
    • 4
  • R. Shrestha-Kuwahara
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of HIV/AIDS PreventionCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Consortium for Strategic HIV/AIDS Operations ResearchClinton Foundation HIV/AIDS InitiativeBostonUSA
  3. 3.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  4. 4.Division of Tuberculosis EliminationCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA

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