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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Partnering with Peers in the Community to Improve Diabetes Medication Adherence for African Americans in Madison and Milwaukee

This project will address poor diabetes self-management among African Americans, a prevalent problem associated with diabetes-related death and disability, by evaluating the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a peer-led culturally appropriate intervention. The most important self-management behavior for improving diabetes outcomes is medication adherence. Poor adherence to diabetes medicines is common among African Americans – with African Americans showing a 25 % lower adherence to diabetes medications than non-Hispanic whites. While the reason for nonadherence is multifactorial, health beliefs, lack of social support and limited health literacy are critical factors.

This study uses a community engaged collaborative approach involving patient stakeholders throughout the research process by directly engaging African Americans with diabetes to utilize their experience, knowledge and advice. This innovative study enhances peer support for medication adherence among African Americans with diabetes through face-to-face meetings and mobile phone/app technology.

In the United States, diabetes affects 3.7 million African Americans who are more likely to be diagnosed compared to non-Hispanic whites and are at a greater risk for diabetes-related death and disability. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in Wisconsin, incurring an estimated $5.5 billion annually in health care and lost productivity costs. Each year, more than 1,300 Wisconsinites die from diabetes and many more suffer diabetes-related complications.


Olayinka Shiyanbola
Assistant Professor of Social and Administrative Sciences in the School of Pharmacy


Jonas Lee
Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Access Community Health Centers

Lisa Sharp
Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Pharmacy

Earlise Ward
Associate Professor of Nursing, Morgridge Center for Public Service