How Pharmacists Can Support Health Care Access and Engagement for Black Same-gender-loving Men

April 1, 2021

Russell Brewer, DrPH, a research associate professor at University of Chicago Medicine, discusses the value of the pharmacist in improving access and engagement in care for Black same-gender-loving men.

Pharmacy Times® interviewed Russell Brewer, DrPH, a research associate professor at University of Chicago Medicine, and P.J. Moton-Poole, a senior manager at ViiV Healthcare, on the expansion of ViiV Healthcare’s accelerate initiative, which funds projects that support the health and wellbeing of Black same-gender-loving men throughout the United States. Specifically, the expansion of the initiative focuses on disrupting disparities in care for Black same-gender-loving men living with HIV.

Alana Hippensteele: Russell, what is the value of the pharmacist in improving access and engagement in care for Black same-gender-loving men?

Russell Brewer: So, I think the pharmacist serves an important role in getting to zero. I hope that pharmacists are part of the ending the epidemic plans that are being developed or have been developed in the various jurisdictions.

I think they can certainly build trust with Black same-gender-loving men. So, like P.J. is saying, no one wants to feel judged, talked down to, or unwelcome when they seek care or services. So, really everyone has a role to play in that area, and it's not just the pharmacist, it's the whole team.

I think they also play an important role in listening to clients and their needs; what else is going on in their lives that may serve as a barrier to medication adherence? I think they can also play a role in providing information and support to maintain adherence. With more than 2 dozen HIV medications, who better to provide information about the different meds and how they interact with other nets that people may be on than pharmacists.

I think they also serve an important role in following up with clients to show that they really care and they're concerned, “Yes, as a pharmacist I want to be your medical home or part of your medical family, and I care about you.”

Pharmacists can also play a role outside the walls that they work, like what are the coalitions out there or other groups that they can join and become part of a system that's working to change some of the underlying issues that are impacting health.