Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Julie M. Novak


Service-based nonprofit organizations exist to meet needs otherwise unmet within the for-profit sector. This study investigates women’s decision to visit a specific healthcare site and the relationship they develop with their reproductive healthcare organizations. Focusing on women’s decision to choose a healthcare organization that focuses solely on reproductive healthcare and access to care, regardless of socioeconomic status, emphasizes the unique relationship women, particularly women of marginalized status, have with reproductive care in the United States. Importantly, these experiences provide the means to examine the broader context of women’s reproductive healthcare access among marginalized communities and the role of nonprofit organizations. This study focuses on the client perspective as a means of assessing the effectiveness of the nonprofit organization in meeting their needs. Stakeholder theory and the culture-centered approach were used to theoretically ground the study.

Twenty women who use Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan as their primary women’s reproductive healthcare organization were interviewed regarding their relationship with the nonprofit organization and their ability to have their reproductive healthcare needs met. Participants discussed their reasons for initiating contact with the nonprofit organization, how they developed and sustained the relationship, how they experienced and negotiated their own healthcare, and how the relationship with the organization contributed to their understandings of reproductive health/care. Suggestions for service-oriented nonprofit organizations and women’s healthcare access, as well as extensions of stakeholder theory and the culture-centered approach are discussed.

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Communication Commons