In 1999 I had the unique opportunity to work as an Eckerd Patient Care Pharmacist. We had a grant to see how much impact we could have on patient care as a pharmacist. There were 15 of us across the country who were trained to manage patients full time. I would rotate between 3 pharmacies and work with patients to improve their health.
Since I was interested in diabetes it was only natural that those were the patients I had most of the time. Two of the pharmacies were in areas with large Spanish populations and I felt I would be more respectful if I learned how to talk about diabetes in Spanish.
After a few months I was able to carry on a conversation and when I ran into problems one of the pharmacists in the store who spoke Spanish would help me out. Knowing the language helped me learn another valuable lesson, the lesson of medication adherence. The more I worked with these patients, the more frustrated I got when I saw their compliance reports. I did not know what to do to improve the rates.
That is when a Cuban pharmacist told me that older Spanish men look at taking medications as a sign of weakness and I would have a hard battle to fight.
Seventeen years later, our publisher, Steve Freed, sat down with Dr Osama Hamdy at the AACE meeting, and they discussed this very topic. Click here to see what Steve found out about the cultural issues that impact diabetes treatments.