Objectives: Despite progress in addressing health disparities among vulnerable populations, minority populations are at risk for chronic health conditions associated with multiple determinants of health, which affects their health status and access to care. We offer a potential solution, which creates an unconventional medical team between a pharmacist and a community health worker (CHW). We explore weaknesses and challenges in our medication use system in the context of adherence as a drug therapy problem, the role of culture in shaping medication use, and finally offer a unique paradigm for a collaborative interprofessional team consisting of CHWs and pharmacists. Medication adherence is far from optimal, especially in minority ethnic populations. Members of an ethnic group may acquire beliefs about illness consistent with their culture's shared customs. These findings intimate that ethnocultural minority groups may have their own remedies for illness that shape their decision to use medications as prescribed. An interprofessional team in which CHWs and pharmacists collaborate offers an opportunity to improve the effectiveness of pharmacists to address adherence-related problems, especially among minority populations in which culturally determined beliefs can shape medication use decisions. This approach holds promise because CHWs are usually embedded within the community in which their patients live, having experienced the same life experiences. These shared experiences may lead CHWs to uncover medication use practices that pharmacists are not able to discover on their own because the relationship with their patients is often not authentic, which, for many minority patients, can only be established through shared experiences. Conclusion: This paper argues that creating teams of CHWs and pharmacists will help address challenges in achieving health equity and health disparities among vulnerable populations in the medication use system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (nursing)