Towards culturally appropriate medication reviews

Aboriginal flag painted on bricks

A new initiative is set to help improve medication management in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Equitable access and effective use of medicine is critical to closing the gap in health and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians, says one expert.

Professor Amanda Wheeler from Griffith University’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland has formed a partnership with the Pharmacy Guild and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

The research team plans to work with Aboriginal Health Services and community pharmacies to promote culturally appropriate medication review services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and well-being.

The project is taking place under the auspices of the Pharmacy Trial Program of new and expanded community pharmacy programs.

“The Pharmacy Guild and Griffith researchers have been working together for quite some time,” says Professor Wheeler.

“It’s long been known that Indigenous communities face some big problems with access to medicines, advice and review services, it’s just not a simple fix,” she says.

“Establishing and maintaining trust and respectful relationships are crucial elements of what we’re trying to achieve.”

Professor Adrian Miller, formerly of Griffith University, will be subcontracted through Central Queensland University and will lead governance from an Indigenous research/cultural responsiveness perspective.

NACCHO is viewed as a critical partner to further support appropriate community engagement and service provision.

This is the third major research project Professor Wheeler has conducted in partnership with the Pharmacy Guild into improving services provided by community pharmacies.

The research will develop, implement and evaluate the outcomes of culturally appropriate medication review services for Indigenous peoples (known as the IMeRSe Feasibility Study), which will be delivered by community pharmacists working with patients and staff of Aboriginal Health Services.

The purpose of the service is to empower patients to better manage their medicines, enhance adherence, avoid medication-related problems and prevent hospitalisations.

This will be a two-year feasibility study across Queensland, Northern Territory and NSW and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health under the 6CPA.

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