March 8, 2015

Perspectives on Medication-Related and Other Health Disparities Affecting Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Other Pacific Islanders: A Qualitative Study

Daniel Hu, Deborah Taira Juarez, Victor Lin, Roy Goo, Michelle Yeboah, and Theresa Castillo

Californian Journal of Health Promotion

Background and Purpose: The present body of literature has little information regarding factors behind gaps in health status affecting Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities, and methods to address them. We sought to examine pharmacists’ and other health care professionals’ perceptions of AANHPI health disparities and their ideas for solutions involving pharmacists, pharmacy schools, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Methods: In-depth individual interviews were conducted with ten academic pharmacists and four other health care professionals knowledgeable about AANHPI disparities, with a focus on medication-related disparities.

Results: Commonly identified factors behind disparities included poor communication, low socioeconomic status, cultural inhibitions creating a reluctance to seek care, and limited access to care. Suggested strategies for community pharmacists to reduce disparities included one-on-one care focused on outcomes, translated materials and translation services, and tracking adherence to medications. Participants suggested that colleges of pharmacy could continue community health events, encourage students to be culturally aware, and conduct health disparities research, and that the FDA could provide translated information, research funding, and requirements for greater ethnic diversity in clinical trials.

Conclusion: Experts believe that pharmacists have the potential to help close the health care gap for AANHPI populations.

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