Washington, DC, February 5, 2014—The month of February marks the launch of the third annual Medication Adherence Team Challenge, a month-long inter-collegiate competition among health profession student teams and faculty for creating 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 two years 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 are managing a 3-year public education program to raise awareness of the importance of medication adherence. The Challenge is part of Script Your Future, which was 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), the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).
“This year’s Student Challenge is strengthened by the involvement of a diverse group of sponsors from multiple sectors of the health care system. One of the best hopes we have to improve America’s 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 Script Your Future Adherence Challenge over the last two years demonstrates the power of student pharmacists to collaborate with their health profession counterparts 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 continues to build on the strength of the inter-professional health care team to move the needle on medication adherence.”
The Medication Adherence Team Challenge is a month-long outreach project that will be held in February 2014 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. In 2013, the 18th Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Regina Benjamin, presented the student winners with their awards at a ceremony in Washington, DC.
"Everyone wins when patients take their medication as prescribed to achieve optimal health outcomes," said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, 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.”
“Given nursing’s strong commitment to enhancing patient safety and healthcare quality, AACN is committed to working with our colleagues in pharmacy, medicine, and other disciplines to promote the health benefits connected to proper medication adherence among students, clinicians, and the patients we serve,” said Dr. Geraldine “Polly” Bednash, CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
“Pharmacists have a unique opportunity, at the medication dispensing stage, to help patients understand the value of their prescription medications, to help alleviate confusion, and to underline the need for adherence, making a real difference in patients’ lives. We are excited to be involved in this program and what it means for the future of America’s adherence,” said APhA Executive Vice President and CEO Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA.
Over the past two Challenges, more than 3,000 future health care professionals directly counseled more than 18,000 patients and reached more than three million consumers in this concerted public effort about the importance of medication adherence. Last year’s awardees, selected from participating colleges and schools of pharmacy and other health professions, included St. Louis College of Pharmacy, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, University of the Pacific Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Touro University College of Pharmacy California, and The University of Mississippi 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 at #SYFchallenge and follow the campaign @IWillTakeMyMeds.