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Helen Omuya, MPA

Predoctoral Fellowship in Value Assessment and Health Outcomes Research, 2023 University of Wisconsin-Madison

Helping Older Veterans to Stop Taking Potentially Harmful or Unnecessary Medications


Many individuals develop multiple chronic health conditions as they grow older, requiring treatment with medications. In some cases, older adults could take as many as 20 medications daily. The unwanted side effects of these medications are often treated with additional medication.

Although pharmacists at the Department of Veteran Affairs work hard to ensure that potentially harmful drugs or those which provide no benefit to the patient are discontinued, their efforts are limited by many factors and barriers. Furthermore, patients are sometimes afraid of stopping a medication they have been taking for a long time.

My research will enable Veteran Affairs health providers to identify ways to improve how they support patients in stopping medications that do more harm than good. I am creating a Deprescribing Intervention Quality Improvement (DIQI) instrument that focuses on what matters most to the patient. This instrument will identify ways to limit barriers and improve support for veterans.

The PhRMA Foundation award allows me to create a Deprescribing Intervention Quality Improvement Instrument, using a mixed methods approach to prioritize the patient’s goals, improve patient-reported health quality of life, reduce adverse effects of polypharmacy, and lower cost.

Helen Omuya

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