Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Kaveh Khoshnood



Arab American immigrants are an understudied minority in the United States due to their invisibility under the White racial group in census data. As such, there is little health research regarding their preventative behaviors, including for cervical cancer, a preventable but fatal illness. Human papillomavirus infection (HPV), a sexually-transmitted infection which can be prevented through the administration of a 3 regimen vaccine between the ages of 9 and 26 is the primary known cause. This study assesses the relationship between region of birth and HPV vaccination.


Utilizing data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) from 2016, 2017, and 2018, we assessed the relationship between region of birth and HPV vaccination. The primary outcomes of interest were ever having received the vaccine, how many shots of the vaccine were received, and at what age the first shot of the vaccine was received. The demographic variables of interest, or covariates, were age, education level, years spent in the US, marital status, health insurance coverage, and employment status. A frequency analysis was conducted for all variables of interest and odds ratios were calculated for the primary outcomes of interest after controlling for covariates.


Arab Americans had a lower odds (OR = 0.435) of ever having received the HPV vaccine compared with participants born in the US than those born in Europe or Other regions. Further, Arab Americans had a lower odds (OR = 0.122) of completing the 3-shot vaccine regimen as well. Not a single Arab American participant reported receiving the first shot on time (below the age of 15). Due to a lack of data, the latter two outcomes were not statistically significant.


Overall, the Arab American minority has a significantly lower odds of ever having received the HPV vaccine than their White counterparts and a lower odds of completing the vaccine regimen or receiving the first shot of the vaccine on time. This study validates the existence of health disparities and exemplifies the need for more research targeted towards this minority group.

Key Words: HPV, cervical cancer, vaccine, Arab American


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access