Pharmacists and community health workers improve medication-related process outcomes among Cambodian Americans with depression and risk for diabetes

Christina M. Polomoff, Angela Bermudez-Millan, Thomas Buckley, Orfeu M. Buxton, Richard Feinn, Sengly Kong, Theanvy Kuoch, Mackenzie Lim, Mary Scully, Julie Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Cambodian Americans have high rates of cardiometabolic and psychiatric disorders and disadvantaged social determinants of health (SDOH). These factors can make it challenging to resolve drug therapy problems (DTPs) and improve medication-related outcomes. This manuscript reports planned analyses from a randomized controlled trial in which participants were randomized to one of 3 treatment arms: (1) community health worker (CHW)-delivered lifestyle intervention called Eat, Walk, sleep (EWS), (2) EWS plus pharmacist/CHW-delivered medication therapy management (EWS + MTM), or (3) social services (SS: control). Objectives: We compared the 3 arms on changes in self-reported medication adherence, barriers, and beliefs. Within the EWS + MTM arm only, we assessed the impact of EWS + MTM on DTP resolution and examined predictors of DTP resolution. Methods: Cambodian Americans at the age of 35-75 years at high risk of developing diabetes and meeting the criteria for likely depression (N = 188) were randomized (EWS, n = 67; EWS + MTM, n = 63; SS, n = 50; control). For all participants, self-reported surveys were collected at baseline, 12 months, and 15 months. DTPs were assessed on the same schedule but only for participants in the EWS + MTM. Results: All 3 groups reported a significant decrease in barriers to taking medications. Compared with the other arms, the EWS + MTM arm reported a decrease in forgetting to take medications at 15 months. In the EWS + MTM arm, mean DTPs per patient was 6.57 and 84% of DTPs were resolved. SDOH predictors of DTP resolution included years of education (odds ratio [OR] 0.94, P = 0.016), ability to write English (OR 0.73, P = 0.015), difficulty communicating with provider (OR 1.39, P < 0.001), private insurance (OR 1.99, P = 0.030), disability (OR 0.51, P = 0.008), and years living under Pol Pot (OR 0.66, P = 0.045). Medication barriers at baseline predicted DTP resolution (OR 0.79, P = 0.019) such that each additional barrier was associated with a 21% reduction (1-0.79) in the odds of having a resolution. Conclusion: CHWs can reduce medications barriers and help pharmacists reduce DTPs in disadvantaged populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496-504.e1
JournalJournal of the American Pharmacists Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology (nursing)
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology


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