Bucking The Bull

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 12.21.14 PMBucking the Medical and Mental Bull is a one-woman show Anita Woodley was comissioned to write and perform about the Black Male experience with the Health Care System in America. Based on focus group data collected by FHI 360 & PCORI from African-American males in Durham, NC, it covers their trials and triumphs with the medical system.

READ the REVIEW: NC Health News 

Bucking the Medical and Mental Bull explores health-related intersections of: Cultural and gender norms, Historical and social influences, Medical mistrust and discomfort, Structural issues, from finances, and insurance to access to care.

READ the Preview Article


From January to June 2013, FHI 360 researchers spoke with more than 300 African-American men in Durham to explore their experiences and opinions regarding health and health care in the City of Medicine. Based directly on the data generated from those discussions, this performance presents an entertaining, informative, and thought-provoking look at common beliefs about health and barriers to seeking care expressed by one of Durham’s underserved communities: Black men. The World Debut was on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at the Historic Carolina Theater in Durham, North Carolina.

The research, funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, reveals the structural, cultural, social and economic factors that keep Durham’s African-American men from seeking preventive care and treatment. The ethnodrama’s characters are based on composites of the more than 300 men who took part in the study.

The Durham Focus Group Project, funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), was launched in 2012 to establish an evidence base for focus group research.
The project had three objectives:
– To determine how many focus groups are sufficient to collect quality data on a given topic from a specific population
– To explore how data collected via focus groups and interviews using the same questions might differ based on the group or individual context
– To investigate a health issue of concern to the African-American population of Durham, North Carolina
The study team worked with the African-American community in Durham to identify a health issue that could generate data to address all the project’s objectives. Initial focus groups with representatives from the community provided dozens of potential research topics.

The health-seeking behaviors of African-American men — more specifically, the observation that men of the community do not go to the doctor — emerged as an issue that cut across disease categories and health outcomes. The team set out to collect information on whether and why this was the case.

From the 40 focus groups and 40 individual interviews, a variety of themes emerged related to gender and cultural norms, social and historical influences, and structural issues. Findings on all three objectives will be reported in peer-reviewed journals, as well as in a report for local health organizations. To disseminate the findings beyond the academic and practitioner communities and to give voice to the experiences of African-American men who are often underserved in Durham, the study team also produced an ethnodrama to share insights.

Please visit www.fhi360.org/projects/durham-focus-group-project for more information FHI360.