Phuntsog Receives NIH Diversity Supplement Award
The diversity supplement will support her dissertation research with Associate Professor Susan Shaw
Health promotion and policy doctoral student Thupten Dolma Phuntsog has been awarded a 4-year, $313,538 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under the Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research Program. The diversity supplement will support her dissertation research with Associate Professor Susan Shaw on her current NIH-funded research project with co-principal investigator Jeannie Lee, an associate professor in the University of Arizona Coit College of Pharmacy. Designed to enhance the diversity of the research workforce, these administrative supplements support students and investigators with backgrounds underrepresented in health-related research.
Phuntsog’s research project, Medication Adherence Among Vietnamese Immigrants with Hypertension, will explore the inter-relationships among social support, health literacy, and medication adherence in Vietnamese immigrants with hypertension living in Springfield, MA. The parent study (R01HL151772), known as MI-CARE (My Interprofessional Care team for Adherence and Research Engagement), tests a pharmacist-community health worker team intervention developed from the team’s previous findings on cultural and structural barriers to medication adherence among under-resourced patients with chronic disease.
Working under the supervision of Shaw and Professor Kathryn Derose, Phuntsog will analyze quantitative data from the parent study and will add cognitive focus groups with Vietnamese participants to explore patient understanding of survey items that have been translated into Vietnamese. In-depth interviews will explore the role of social support in facilitating adherence to hypertension medications. This research will use a mixed methods approach to illuminate questions relevant to refugee and immigrant health more broadly, including contemporary impacts of historical trauma and the role of social support in chronic disease management and wellbeing.
Phuntsog has a background in qualitative research and a deep-rooted passion for immigrant and refugee health. As the daughter of Tibetan refugees, Phuntsog is committed to thoughtfully designed health disparities research and to upholding integrity, compassion, and empathy as pillars in this work.
“My parents’ experiences as Tibetan refugees in India and then as immigrants to the US have shaped the very core of my values and aspirations,” says Phuntsog. “I’m dedicated to elevating the voices of immigrant and refugee communities and am eager to work alongside the Vietnamese community in Springfield and the MI-CARE research team.”
By developing a comprehensive understanding of the interaction between social support and health literacy and its impact on medication adherence in this community, this research will inform the development of tailored resources for chronic disease management among immigrant and refugee communities.