Do culturally based health intervention programs work?

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  • Patients of South Asian descent with asthma who took part in a culturally specific intervention program were 4 times more likely to see a primary care physician for follow-up visits than those who did not participate.

Why this matters

  • People with asthma of South Asian descent living in the United Kingdom have up to 3 times higher morbidity and hospitalization rates than white patients with asthma.

Study design

  • Randomized, multicenter trial.
  • 375 patients with asthma aged >3 y and of South Asian descent were randomized to intervention program plus usual care (n=183) or usual care alone (control group; n=192).
  • Intervention program based on the Physician Asthma Care Education program and the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP), adapted for use in South Asian patients with asthma.
  • Funding: Asthma UK.

Key results

  • Intervention had no effect on percentage of patients who sought unscheduled care (P=.202) or length of time to unscheduled visit (P=.185).
  • Intervention group had shorter time to review with primary care physician (P<.001), more likely to see a primary care physician within 3 mo (P<.001).
  • At 3 mo: intervention group reported greater quality of life (P<.001), self-efficacy (P=.027) for asthma control than control group.


  • Low attendance at CDSMP.