Student Pharmacists Recognized for Community Service

Published Online: Monday, December 19, 2011
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The 2011-12 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Student Community Engaged Service Award will be given to 4 outstanding student-led community engagement programs delivering consumer education about medication use. These programs have been proven to expand access to affordable healthcare and dramatically improve the public’s health.

Teams from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, Creighton University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center will each receive the national award, sponsored by Teva Pharmaceuticals, at the 2012 AACP Annual Meeting, according to a statement from the organization.

In addition to receiving a commemorative prize, the winning pharmacy colleges and schools will receive $10,000 to be used exclusively to support the expansion of the recognized program or new community engaged service projects at the school. Each team receives a $5,000 financial stipend for enhancing or sustaining the recognized program or for travel support to attend and present their projects at professional meetings. The award also includes up to $2,500 to cover travel, lodging, and registration expenses for one designated student and one faculty advisor to attend the national awards ceremony at AACP’s 2012 Annual Meeting and explain their project’s impact on the community during a special session, as well as a $1,000 stipend for the faculty advisor.

A student representative and faculty advisor from each of the following schools (listed in alphabetical order by state) will be honored with a Steuben Glass Star Stream during the 2012 AACP Annual Meeting, July 14-18, at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida.

School: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy
Team leader:
Corey J. Hayes
Team members: Sara M. Benfer, Christine L. Browning, Alissa J. Ferrari
Faculty advisor: Schwanda K. Flowers, PharmD

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Pharmacy has a longstanding commitment to serving underserved populations. Illustrating this commitment is the college’s partnership with the Consulate of Mexico in Little Rock. As a result of the Consulate’s commitment to improve the living standards of Mexican communities in the region, the Ventanilla de Salud (VDS) was developed. The VDS seeks to provide information and referrals regarding healthcare resources for this vastly underserved population.

The College of Pharmacy became involved with VDS to provide influenza vaccines and other preventative screenings at the Consulate. Patients are screened for diabetes, hyperlipidemia, osteoporosis and hypertension. Student pharmacists, under pharmacist's supervision, provide H1N1 immunizations. Since the partnership was initiated, a total of 723 patients were immunized for influenza, 258 patients were screened for diabetes, 254 for hypertension and 185 for osteoporosis.

In addition, all of these patients were provided verbal and written patient education in Spanish regarding these disease states and healthy living. The project demonstrates to students and participating pharmacists the importance of providing healthcare to underserved populations while promoting an understanding of the growing Latino culture in the area. Understanding different cultures brings better acceptance and better healthcare to these populations. The College of Pharmacy intends to expand the population base to include children because they accompany many of the VDS participants to the Consulate.

School: University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy
Team leader: Rebecca Hluhanich
Team members: Meghan Frear, Helen Gavrilova, Rebecca Gayle, Nicha Tantipinichwong, Van Vuong
Faculty advisor: Marilyn R. Stebbins, PharmD

The Partners in D program started at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Pharmacy in 2006 when four student pharmacists and faculty identified a need to help underserved Medicare patients understand the Medicare Part D prescription drug program (Part D). Under the supervision of faculty members, students visited low-income housing complexes in the San Francisco Bay Area using personal laptop computers and cell phones to help underserved seniors navigate the complex Part D benefit.

At the same time, the community of current and future prescribers needed help understanding and navigating this complex benefit. When UCSF’s health policy expert, Dr. Helene Lipton, was asked to give a lecture on the components of Part D to 150 UCSF advance practice nursing students, she suggested that student pharmacists enrolled in her health policy class who were working in the field helping seniors with Part D give the lecture. With the support of the Dean’s office, and after receiving training, five student pioneers delivered their first Part D lecture to health professional students, receiving evaluations that far exceeded those typically achieved by faculty. As a result, the Peer Educator teaching initiative became an integral component of the Partners in D program. These lectures, presented by student pharmacists, are delivered to health professional students, trainees and faculty at UCSF and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

School: Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions
Team leader:
Edward M. Saito
Team members: Megan E. Geyer, Shelby M. Mizumoto, Tim J. Schulte, Stuart B. Utley
Faculty advisor: Ann M. Ryan-Haddad, PharmD

The Creighton University Interprofessional Falls Prevention Program assisted Seven Oaks of Florence, an independent living community in Omaha, Neb., in completing its COLLAGE Health Assessments, a customized suite of standardized and systematic resident assessments that evaluate health and wellness in areas such as memory loss, nutrition, balance and mental well-being.

The fall prevention program was comprised of three elements: data collection, assessment and intervention. Pharmacy and nursing students visited with residents on a weekly basis to conduct COLLAGE interviews. During these sessions, students asked residents about their general health and well-being, specifically targeting the issues of balance, vision, hearing, incontinence and medication use. Student pharmacists compiled a complete medication list and past medical history of self-reported diagnoses for each resident. An initial medication review was then performed to screen for drug-related fall risks. After all the data had been collected, adjustments were made to the patient’s medical care and home life to lower the risk of falling.

The project promoted the health and independence of an underserved population while fostering interprofessional teamwork and collaboration. The team, which consisted of 35 physical and occupational therapy, pharmacy and nursing students and six faculty advisors, performed 41 COLLAGE assessments, 19 Berg Balance assessments and six home safety checklists. Benefits to the residents were the assessments to identify risks for falls and recommendations for interventions to prevent falls, while the students were provided with opportunities to communicate with older adults, participate in clinical decision making and contribute to a healthcare team.

School: University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy
Team leader:
Kyle McCartney
Team members: Brandon Bohn, Mary Manning-Kechely, Becky Schainost
Faculty advisor: Kristen M. Cook, PharmD

The Student Health Alliance Reaching Indigent Needy Groups (SHARING) Clinic is an interdisciplinary program that brings together medical, nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant, physical therapy, medical technology, public health, counseling and nutrition students to provide care to the uninsured and indigent in the Omaha area in various clinic settings. These include a family medicine clinic, a clinic for prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and a third clinic providing care for patients with type 2 diabetes. It is unique to the Omaha area in that it is the only clinical program funded and managed by students from the many healthcare disciplines at UNMC.

Pharmacy plays an integral role on the interdisciplinary healthcare team. At the SHARING clinic, the student pharmacists and other student providers obtain a comprehensive patient history, and together they design and implement an optimal therapeutic regimen for the patient. Student pharmacists are utilized specifically during a patient's medication review and when a patient is counseled on medication use. Students are also an excellent resource for educating patients about other aspects of therapy including the use of medical devices such as glucometers and inhalers. The student providers from other disciplines rely on student pharmacists for up-to-date information about correct dosages, appropriate medication changes, formulary management and substitutions, indications, side effects, and cost effectiveness, demonstrating the value a pharmacist can contribute to patient care. It establishes collaborative practice as a standard of care in one of healthcare students' first exposure to patients.
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