National USA Foundation is pleased to be partnering with the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy to explore new ways for African American men to manage their diabetes. Together, they will study the impact of a new and innovative support group to better equip men to tackle their diabetes and improve their heart health.

African American men are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and experience poorer outcomes including heart attacks, strokes, renal failure and premature death than the general population. Inadequate health education regarding cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as barriers to taking medications as prescribed have both been cited as potential reasons why African Americans experience increased incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular events.  As one of the most accessible and trusted health care professional, pharmacists are well-positioned respond to these concerns through discussion of medication use and diabetes management.

It is widely recognized that pharmacists are uniquely suited to assist in filling the gap in primary care services for patients.   Since community pharmacists continue to be easily accessible experts in medication, relationships and trust in the pharmacist role as well as knowledge and understanding of the benefits pharmacists provide could lead to sustained positive improvements of the health of the community members beyond the scope of this intervention.

Using an innovative blended support group model that includes face-to-face meetings with an online discussion forum over the course of three months, men will learn from each other and support each other in keeping their diabetes under control. The groups will work closely with a pharmacist who will meet with them both face-to-face and online to answer their questions and find ways to help them get the most from their medications. These support groups will take place in two church communities: New Salem Missionary Baptist Church led by Dr. Jerry McAfee in Minneapolis, MN and Hind Street Missionary Baptist Church led by Dr. Thomas Morris in Greenville, MS.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy are partnering with the team to answer questions from this project:

  •     Does this approach help men better understand their diabetes?
  •     Does it help men understand and have confidence in their medications?
  •     Do men find these support groups and partnering with a pharmacist helpful?

We hope this project will provide guidance and support for a new way to improve the health of our communities.