Alexandria, Va. - Jan. 30, 2013 Today marks the launch of the 2013 Medication Adherence Team Challenge, a month-long competitive outreach project to engage student pharmacists and other health profession students, including medical and nursing students, and faculty in coming up with creative solutions to raise awareness about medication adherence as a critical public health issue. The Challenge, coordinated by the National Consumers League (NCL), America's pioneer consumer group and the lead organization on the national Script Your Future campaign, is returning to university campuses across the country after a successful first year of student innovation.
With nearly three out of four Americans not taking their medications as directed—which results in serious health consequences, especially for people with chronic diseases—the National Consumers League and its partners in the Script Your Future campaign have committed to a 3-year program to raise awareness of the importance of medication adherence. The Challenge is part of the public awareness campaign launched in 2011 by NCL with more than 130 public and private stakeholder organizations. This year's Challenge is sponsored by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation, the American Medical Association (AMA), and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).
"One of the best hopes we have for changing our culture of nonadherence is to train the next generation of health care professionals to be proactive about engaging their patients, and that starts in the classroom through the innovation brought forward by health professions faculty," said Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director.
"The success of the first Script Your Future Adherence Challenge in October 2011 demonstrated the power of student pharmacists to reach out to their communities and engage patients and caregivers to improve health through better adherence," said Dr. Lucinda L. Maine, Executive Vice President and CEO at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. "This year's Challenge will emphasize the interprofessional health care team and what each member of that team needs to do to move the needle on medication adherence."
The Medication Adherence Team Challenge is a month-long outreach project that will be held in February 2013 to engage interdisciplinary student teams from pharmacy, medicine, nursing, and other health professions to tackle the problem of poor adherence. The teams will be implementing creative solutions and outreach in their communities to raise awareness and improve understanding about medication adherence, using Script Your Future materials. At the end of the Challenge, select schools or colleges will be recognized nationally for their efforts to improve medication adherence.
"Innovative medication adherence initiatives, such as the Challenge, ultimately help raise patient awareness of the importance of taking medication as prescribed. This kind of initiative can help prevent potential adverse events and unnecessary hospitalizations, and ultimately help improve health outcomes," said NACDS Foundation President Kathleen Jaeger. "We look forward to seeing what this next generation of pharmacists and other health care professionals will create throughout this year's Challenge."
"Everyone wins when patients take their medication as prescribed to achieve optimal health outcomes," said AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, M.D. "As a sponsor of the challenge, the AMA is pleased to work with other health care professionals to improve the health of our patients and avoid unnecessary health problems."
"Greater medication adherence improves patients' well-being and ultimately helps to drive down the costs of health care," said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. "Independent community pharmacists are committed to proactively identifying solutions to improve patient adherence in their communities, and the Challenge is a terrific way to raise awareness among the next generation of pharmacists."
In the inaugural year of the Challenge, more than 40,000 student pharmacists educated over 250,000 individuals nationwide during the month of October 2011 in this concerted public effort about the importance of medication adherence. Last year's awardees, selected from 81 participating colleges and schools of pharmacy, included the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Harding University College of Pharmacy, Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy, and University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy. To learn more about last year's winners visit the Script Your Future website.
For more information on the Challenge visit the Challenge Community website at http://syfadherencechallenge.ning.com/. Follow the Challenge on Twitter using the hashtag #SYFchallenge and follow the campaign @IWillTakeMyMeds.