“Get Smart About Antibiotics” Week: November 16-22

getsmartContributed by: Jeremy Arthur, Class of 2017

According to a report published by the CDC in 2013, nearly half of the prescriptions written today are for antibiotics and nearly half of those are not necessary or the best therapy option. This has resulted in an astounding 2 million US citizens developing severe infections from resistant strains of bacteria. Furthermore, nearly 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. To help educate the public about the dangers of antibiotic resistance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched “Get Smart About Antibiotics” week November 16-22, 2015. The purpose of this week is to raise awareness about the issue of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing and use or “antibiotic stewardship”. The term “stewardship” carries an ethical connotation that embodies responsible planning and management of resources by those who use them. Antibiotics are invaluable resources that have saved millions of lives and as such, each person has a duty to use them responsibly.

One factor contributing to resistance is when a person who does not need antibiotics takes them. For example, someone infected by a virus, such as the common cold, would not benefit from taking an antibiotic. Instead, the drug will attack the natural, helpful bacteria in this person’s body. When bacteria are exposed to the same antibiotics over and over, they learn how to fight off those drugs and become resistant. These resistant bacteria can then multiply, making more resistant bacteria, and the cycle continues. Eventually, bacteria that could once quickly be stopped by antibiotics are no longer so easily destroyed. This puts everyone at risk, but by raising awareness, the CDC hopes to stem the tide of resistance.

This year’s Get Smart Week serves as a key initiative for antibiotic stewardship within communities and healthcare facilities. In order to get involved, the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy is hosting a Student Convocation in November to discuss the role pharmacists’ can play in the fight against antibiotic resistance. Dr. Jessica Sobnosky, an Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infectious Diseases Clinical Pharmacist from King’s Daughters Medical Center and Dr. Jessica Robinson, an Assistant Professor from the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, as well as Infectious Diseases Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at Charleston Area Medical Center, will be sharing their experiences and encouraging students to get involved. In order to gain further insight, Dr. Glenn Ridenour, an Infectious Disease Specialist from Charleston Area Medical Center, will be joining Dr. Sobnosky and Dr. Robinson for a Q&A panel following the convocation. The UCSOP Class of 2017 will be following this event with a health fair at the Charleston Town Center on Friday, November 20th in order to engage the public on a direct level and share what they have learned about antibiotic stewardship.

Antibiotic stewardship is one small step towards improving appropriate antibiotic use. Our hope is to get as many students involved in this campaign as possible, so we can reach the community at large. For more information, you may visit the CDC’s Get Smart page at http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/week/

Reflections: West Virginians for Affordable Health Care Annual Reception

ErikHanson

Erik Hanson, Class of 2019

Contributed by: Erik Hanson, Class of 2019

On Friday, October 23, 2015 I had the opportunity to attend the West Virginians for Affordable Health Care conference and fundraiser held at the University of Charleston. I was honored represent the School of Pharmacy at such an impressive event for such an important cause. The keynote speaker, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell, is a very charismatic and eloquent speaker and passion for her cause is unquestionable.  The amount of support from each and every person in the room was very moving- and, while she is a very professional and powerful person, Secretary Burwell was still very approachable and friendly. Having the opportunity to attend the West Virginians for Affordable Health Care fund raising event was certainly one of the most impactful events in my academic career.

Through this experience, I learned that, even though one person can hold immense passion for a cause, it really does “take a village.”  Secretary Burwell and her team are making great strides in achieving affordable health care for all, especially the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides coverage for services such as doctor visits, hospital visits, prescriptions, vision care, and dental care.

While I’m extremely appreciative for the opportunity to attend the event, I wish it were something that the entire school of pharmacy could attend. Events like this make our time in school feel so much more than learning in a classroom. As future pharmacists we can have a major impact in ensuring that everyone has access to affordable health care. Secretary Burwell saw the West Virginians for Affordable Health Care as a calling- and because of that, they are heading towards improving Medicaid, supporting health equity for minority communities, encouraging stronger family leave policies, and pushing for better reimbursement for primary care providers- to name a few. As aspiring pharmacists, we all have a responsibility to make a difference for our patients and our community.  Individuals like Secretary Burwell encourage pharmacists and other health care providers to advocate for our community, our patients, and each other.

UCSOP Student Receives SNPhA National Appointment

OJOjong Bate, a P3 at the UCSOP, was recently appointed as the Student National Pharmaceutical Association’s (SNPhA) Power to End Stroke Chair. Ojong’s history with SNPhA began her first year as a pharmacy student, when she was the Power to End Stroke Initiative Chair for UCSOP’s SNPhA chapter. She has continued as the chapter delegate for the past two years, and has a burning passion for SNPhA’s mission and its role in developing student pharmacists. Ojong is humbled to serve as the Power to End Stroke Chair, and her goal for the upcoming year is to challenge every SNPhA member to fulfill the 2015-2016 presidential theme of “G.O.A.L.S. | Globalization. Outreach. Advocacy. Leadership. Scholarship”. She plans to work together with various chapter committee chairs by assisting them in collaboration with the American Heart Association (AHA), encouraging regional chapter committee chairs and SNPhA members to become certified stroke ambassadors through the AHA, promoting medication adherence, stroke awareness, and the overall promotion of heart health.

ojBorn and raised in the country of Cameroon, Ojong has enjoyed being a college student in the USA since 2010. She attended Delaware Technical Community College (DELTECH) for her undergraduate career, where she later received two Associate degrees in Biotechnology and Chemistry. Her experience at DELTECH instilled in her the passion for community service and the spirit of leadership. In addition to SNPhA, Ojong is also an active member of the American Pharmacy Association (APhA-ASP), American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), West Virginia Rural Health Association (WVRHA), Delaware Pharmacy Society (DPS), student member of the University of Charleston Quality Assurance Committee, proud brother of Phi Delta Chi Pharmaceutical fraternity (Gamma Chapter), Phi Lambda Sigma (PLS) treasurer, Delta Lambda Chapter of Rho Chi Society, and the immediate past vice president of the University of Charleston Class of 2017.

OJ1Founded in 1972, SNPhA is an organization for pharmacy students who are concerned about pharmacy and healthcare related issues. SNPhA members advocate for stronger minority representation in pharmacy and other health-care related professions. SNPhA’s official purpose “is to plan, organize, coordinate and execute programs geared toward the improvement for the health, educational, and social environment of the community”. SNPhA has 5 main objectives, which include: offering student members the opportunity to develop leadership and professional skills, educate students and promote active participation in national health care issues, develop the role of the minority health professional as a vital member of the health care team, develop within communities a positive image of minority health professionals, and educate communities on better health practices and to increase their awareness and understanding of diseases. There are many benefits to joining SNPhA, including over $130,000 in scholarships and awards, networking opportunities, a rotation at the SNPha National Office, and numerous membership discounts ranging from hotels to Apple products.