Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Institute for Health Research and Policy and College of Medicine have received a $3 million federal grant to improve diabetes management in minority patients.
The grant will fund a five-year study to evaluate a new intervention designed to improve lifestyle behaviors and medication compliance and to intensify therapy in minority patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes.
African-Americans and Latinos with diabetes often do not reach desired blood sugar, blood pressure or cholesterol levels, placing them at high risk for complications or death.
"We know there's a breakdown in the current health care system," said Lisa Sharp, assistant professor of medicine and co-principal investigator of the study. "Even when patients have access to quality health care, there are many other economic, social and cultural factors that contribute to them not meeting their therapeutic goals."
The researchers will enroll 300 African-American and Latino adults with uncontrolled diabetes from the University of Illinois Medical Center. Patients will be randomly assigned to one of two groups.
In the first group, a clinic-based pharmacist will educate patients about diabetes, reconcile their medications, and address any compliance barriers.
In the second group, a community-based lay health worker (or health promoter) will team with the clinic-based pharmacist to assist with cultural and language barriers, reinforce educational messages, provide support, help solve problems related to compliance, and assist in continuity of care.
"The pharmacist, working with a lay health worker, may help create a bridge, because there's this huge chasm between the patient and the health care provider," said Dr. Ben Gerber, associate professor of medicine. "A lot of times, people will leave their doctor's office, and they have a lot of questions and don't understand things."
|Contact: Sherri McGinnis Gonzalez|
University of Illinois at Chicago