Improving chronic cardiovascular disease management in ethnocultural patients

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Long-term disease management approaches are effective at reducing the risk of death and disability in patients with cardiovascular disease. Canadians of South Asian and Chinese ancestry are more likely to die from heart disease or stroke than other Canadians and there is emerging evidence that these groups may have poor chronic disease management. Optimal chronic heart disease management may be significantly impaired by language barriers, a limited understanding of health determinants, and potentially differing cultural views of heart disease and treatments. The goal of Dr. Nadia Khan's research program is to improve chronic cardiovascular care for Canadians of South Asian and Chinese ancestry. She is currently undergoing a very large study of 600 South Asian, 600 Chinese, and 600 Caucasian patients discharged with acute heart attack or unstable angina from hospitals in Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary. The objectives of her research program include: (1) determining differences in chronic cardiovascular disease management between South Asian, Chinese, and Caucasian patients; (2) identifying the underlying patient barriers associated with poor care for each of these groups; and (3) using this information to develop targeted and culturally sensitive interventions in chronic cardiovascular disease management. Working alongside health care workers, ethnic community members, and decision makers, Dr. Khan will be developing and testing the new strategies to ensure that they are acceptable and practical for each ethnic group. This is the first program to systematically evaluate how different ethnic groups manage coronary artery disease and to identify the cultural factors that may be linked with poor care. The evidence obtained from this study will be used to plan culturally sensitive care programs for those with heart disease who are from South Asian or Chinese ancestry. This program of research will partner with community members, health care workers, and decision makers to ensure that the interventions are relevant to policy and practice.