Providing Health Care to the Underserved

Pharmacy Times, February 2016 Autoimmune Disorders, Volume 82, Issue 2

As a 2018 PharmD candidate at the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy, Anthony Todd has lived out his belief that all patients should have equal access to health care.

As a 2018 PharmD candidate at the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy, Anthony Todd has lived out his belief that all patients should have equal access to health care. The son of a wound care nurse and a clinical laboratory administrator, Todd has long had aspirations of joining the health care field, although he initially sought to become an oncologist. During his undergraduate research, however, his work with the cancer drug gemcitabine sparked a fascination with the effects of drugs on the body, leading him to pursue a career as a pharmacist.

“It was definitely God’s plan for me to serve in a profession that would allow me to expand my interests in pharmacology while providing patient-centered care,” Todd told Pharmacy Times.

During his time in pharmacy school, Todd became heavily involved in efforts to improve access to care among those in need. Among numerous other activities, he volunteered at health fairs, provided medication counseling and blood pressure checks at senior assisted-living facilities, and participated in a Medicare Outreach Event during the open enrollment period.

Todd considers his most rewarding and enriching experience to be his work with the University of South Alabama College of Medicine Student-Run Free Clinic (USA SRFC), an interdisciplinary student-run clinic that provides wellness services to the homeless population of Mobile, Alabama.

“Professionally, the USA SRFC allows me the opportunity to work with other health care disciplines, including medicine, nursing, physician assistant, audiology, physical and occupational therapy, and social work,” Todd explained. “I am able to learn how to work effectively as part of a team, as well as the roles of the other health care fields.”

Also valuable to Todd is his work with Auburn University’s Pharmacy Practice Experience program, in which he and his peers visit patients to assess vitals, provide medication therapy management services, and discuss medication regimens.

“What I love most about the Pharmacy Practice Experience program at the Harrison School of Pharmacy is the patient interaction and the rapport I am able to build with them,” Todd said.

Q: What do you think is the most important quality for a pharmacist to possess?A: I believe the most important quality for a pharmacist is patience. There is nothing patients appreciate more than the time a health care provider spends with them, no matter the nature of the visit. Countless situations consume pharmacists’ time, whether it is counseling patients on their medications and medical devices, collaborating with physicians on the safety and appropriateness of a patient’s medication therapy, or speaking with insurance carriers to ensure medications are affordable. Patients love to feel they are a priority and not a metric, so pharmacists must be sure to spend as much time as possible with patients to provide the best care possible.

Q: What do you think is the most important issue in pharmacy today? Why?A: Provider status is the most important issue. With the shortage of primary care providers and health care disparities in this country, especially in the state of Alabama, pharmacists represent a significant untapped resource in filling these voids. With continued expansion of collaborative practice models, a true legal recognition of pharmacists as health care providers, and the accessibility of pharmacists, the primary care shortage can be greatly mitigated by adding pharmacists to the health care team.

Q: Is there a patient or person you’ve worked with who taught you something that will help you be a better pharmacist?A: My wife, Ashton, is a secondyear medical student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. As we study, we are able to talk with each other about the pathophysiology and pharmacotherapy of various disease states. She has helped me to gain a much better and thorough understanding of the disease states that I hope to help manage in my future practice as an ambulatory care pharmacist.

About the School

The Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy offers a traditional PharmD program, as well as interdisciplinary MS and PhD degree programs in pharmaceutical sciences. In an effort to improve the health outcomes of local patients, the school has also developed and implemented several pharmacy practice models.

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The RESPy (Respect, Excellence, and Service in Pharmacy) Award is presented to the student who has made a difference in his or her community by demonstrating excellence in pharmaceutical care. For more information, please visit PharmacyTimes.com.