Tough Medicine: Reducing Hypertension in African American Men

Article ID: 593416

Released: 10-Sep-2012 12:00 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

  • Dr. Lisa Lewis of Penn Nursing is an expert in hypertension among African Americans.

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Newswise — Even though African American men in the United States are disproportionately more likely to have uncontrolled high blood pressure (or hypertension) than other racial and ethnic groups, they are less likely to take health-preserving medication.

At the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Lisa Lewis, PhD, RN, has been awarded a $1.9 million National Institutes of Health R01 grant to determine factors associated with poor medication adherence in this population. The rate of adhering to prescribed medication recommendations is significantly lower in African American patients with high blood pressure than in white patients. Dr. Lewis, an assistant professor at Penn Nursing, plans to lay groundwork for interventions to improve that rate. Her research focuses on ways to encourage and sustain health behavior changes in minority populations.

“African Americans are much more likely to have high blood pressure than any other group,” said Dr. Lewis. “In the United States, 44 percent of African Americans have high blood pressure. Compared to other groups, African Americans develop high blood pressure earlier in life and African Americans with high blood pressure have an 80 percent greater chance of a stroke and a 420 percent greater chance of kidney disease when compared to Caucasians with high blood pressure.”

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is one of the premier research institutions in nursing, producing new knowledge in geriatrics, pediatrics, oncology, quality-of-life choices, and other areas. Researchers here consistently receive more research funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other private nursing school, and many master’s degree programs are ranked first in the country.


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