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Availability and Use of Language Assistance Services in Community Pharmacies

Grant Winners

  • Kevin Clauson, Pharm.D. – College of Pharmacy
  • Maria Maniscalco, Pharm.D. – College of Pharmacy
  • Hyla Polen, Pharm.D. – College of Pharmacy
  • Daniel Jamass, Student – College of Pharmacy


  • Andres Malave, Ph.D. – College of Pharmacy


Award Winners

Background: The U.S. is evolving into a multi-cultural society. 19.4% of the population speaks a language other than English at home and 8.6% has limited English proficiency (LEP). LEP persons have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English and suffer from limited access to care, receive poorer quality care, and are less likely to understand and adhere to care plans involving medications. Language assistance services (LAS) have been developed to help bridge this communication gap. Despite the availability of LAS (e.g., print translations of medication labels, verbal interpreters) in pharmacies, medication adherence-related problems remain. The literature is unclear regarding the types and availability of LAS in community pharmacies and the factors determining whether pharmacists inform patients about them.

Objective: To determine the utilization of and barriers to LAS in community pharmacies for LEP patients.

Methods: A survey tool has been developed to capture information directly related to the study objectives. A nationally representative sample of community pharmacists has been identified to which three email 'bursts' (i.e. pre-notification, survey, and reminder survey) will be sent. Descriptive statistics for summarizing results include: mean, standard of deviation, and kurtosis. Additionally, inferential statistics will be used to analyze data including a Spearman correlation to measure for associations. A one-way ANOVA will be used and then a post hoc study will be conducted in order to cluster the similar LAS community pharmacy programs.

Impact: Identifying utility, availability, and barriers associated with LAS in pharmacies will be the first step in establishing if there is a disconnect which contributes to the suboptimal use of these services. Elucidating thematic concerns from the pharmacist's perspective when combined with consumer-perceived barriers will enable the design of interventions to help address this situation and ideally will result in improved medication adherence and outcomes.

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