Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Sten H. Vermund

Second Advisor

Helen Mahoney West


Background: An estimated 288,000 people in the United States are infected with Chagas disease. Despite published recommendations for health care providers, the neglected nature of this disease persists, in part due to gaps in knowledge and low levels of Chagas disease awareness among health care providers. A survey was emailed to health care providers to assess knowledge, screening practices and provider-perceived barriers to screening for Chagas disease.

Methods: The survey link was emailed to healthcare providers and department heads. Providers answered a series of questions categorized either as knowledge (K), practice (P), or perceived barriers (B), which were then scored by category. Analysis included Spearman’s rho test to measure the strength of correlation coefficient between K and P scores, and between K and B scores, Kruskal-Wallis tests to see if average K, P and B scores were equal across specialty groups, and Pairwise Wilcoxon Rank Sum Tests to assess for a significant difference between average scores of cardiology, infectious disease and the “other specialties” category.

Results: 92 providers consented to complete the survey, 88 of whom fit the inclusion criteria of either affiliation with Yale University or YNHH. Infectious disease scored highest on average in knowledge and practices, and reported lower provider-perceived barriers (0.66±0.183, 0.35±0.247, 0.42±0.365). No specialty received higher than 0.66±0.183 on average for knowledge or screening practices. Average perceived barriers to screening were highest in the “other” specialty category (0.76±0.303). There was a significant positive association between knowledge scores and screening practice scores, and a significant negative association between knowledge scores and perceived barriers to screening.

Conclusions: This study revealed a knowledge deficit among health care providers in various specialties, which was associated with less frequent adherence to recommended screening practices for Chagas disease, as well as higher provider-perceived barriers to screening. This information can be used to inform provider education initiatives so that patients at risk for Chagas disease may be better served.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access