UCSOP Script Your Future & Medication Safety Radio Program Available for Download

In February and early-March the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy hosted a six-part Radio Blog Talk Series on Medication Safety and Adherence in partnership with Forest of the Rain Productions.

Script Your FutureThe programs were held every Wednesday from 8:30pm-9:30pm EST, February 1-March 8, 2017 and featured our students, faculty, staff and community partners. Information about medication adherence was shared in addition to discussion regarding our community efforts to promote medication safety education and training. 

Topics of discussion included:

  • February 1-Introduction to the Script Your Future Medication Adherence Challenge
  • February 8-Generation Rx: Prescription Safety Education in Partnership with Kanawha County Schools and the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy
  • February 15-Proper Medication Disposal
  • February 22-The Nationwide Drug Epidemic and the Role of Medication Adherence
  • March 1-Medication Adherence and Safety: Focus on DEA 360 Strategy
  • March 8-Disease Management and Medication Adherence

All shows were recorded for rebroadcast and can be access at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ptlsafemedicationuse

UCSOP Kicks off Radio Program on Medication Adherence & Safety

On February 1, 2017 the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy kicked off the first of a six-part Radio Blog Talk Series on Medication Safety and Adherence in partnership with Forest of the Rain Productions.

Script Your FutureEvery Wednesday from 8:30pm-9:30pm EST, February 1-March 8, 2017, the program will feature our students, faculty, staff and community partnership. We will be sharing information about medication adherence and highlighting our community efforts to promote medication safety.

The first show focused on the Script Your Future Campaign. Guests included our Dean, Dr. Michelle Easton and 2017 Script Your Future Chairs, David Poe (Class of 2018), Erik Hanson (Class of 2019), and Tyler Leroy (Class of 2020).  The show was recorded for rebroadcasting and download and can be accessed at: http://forestoftheraineducation.weebly.com/parent-talk-live-special-edition-series-safe-medication-use-script-your-future-medication-adherence-challenge.html

In total, UCSOP We has the potential to reach between 5,000 and 10,000 persons per show throughout the U.S. and in over 50 countries Worldwide.

Learn more about the series at: http://forestoftheraineducation.weebly.com/forest-of-the-rain-productions-and-the-university-of-charleston-school-of-pharmacy.html

 Future programs include: 

February 8: Generation Rx—Prescription Safety Education Partnership with Kanawha County Schools and the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy

Guests: Being Confirmed

February 15: Proper Medication Disposal

Guests: Rebekah Dunham, Class of 2017, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy and Kristi Justice, Executive Director, Kanawha Communities that Care

February 22: The Nationwide Drug Epidemic & The Role of Medication Adherence with

Guests: Michael Brumage, MD, MPH, FACP, Executive Director/Health Officer, Kanawha-Charleston Health Department; Lindsay Acree, Pharm.D., Assistant Professor, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy; and Rachel Peaytt, Class of 2019, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy

March 1: Medication Adherence & Safety–Focus on DEA 360 Program

Guests: David Gourley, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Agency, Charleston District Office; Victoria Oyewole & Amy Bateman, Class of 2018, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy

March 8: Disease Management and Medication Adherence

Guests: Lindsay Acree, Pharm. D., Assistant Professor, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy; Kristy Lucas, Pharm.D., Professor, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy; Karrie Juengel, Pharm. D., Assistant Professor, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy; and Anne Tiechmann, Pharm.D., Assistant Professor, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy


UCSOP Launches Generation Rx with Kanawha & Boone County Schools

DurinAPhM_Twitter_Icong October 2016, American Pharmacist Month, over 100 students from the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy will be educating students throughout Kanawha and Boone counties on the dangers of prescription drug misuse. Pharmacy students will reach over 500 children by visiting over fifteen 5th grade classrooms at six Kanawha County elementary schools and three Boone County elementary schools throughout the month to deliver an intervention and prevention program called Generation Rx. This evidence based program was developed in collaboration with the Cardinal Health Foundation, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and The Ohio State University School of Pharmacy. The Generation Rx curriculum is designed to increase public awareness of prescription medication abuse and medication safety http://www.generationrx.org.

“The program focuses on positive-decision making and social norming as tools for combatting prescription drug abuse,” said Andrew VanDuesen, Class of 2018 genrxand president of the UCSOP APhA student chapter (ASP)

West Virginia middle and high school students are making poor decisions in regard to substance abuse and particularly with prescription medications. According to the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 16.% of high school students have taken a prescription drug—such as oxycontin, vicodin, adderall, ritalin, or xanax—without a prescription one or more time sin their life. Early education is key to prevention.

“As a prevention and outreach program, Generation Rx, is designed to help students of all ages, identify and address prescription drug misuse in their homes and communities,” said Dr. Susan Gardner, assistant dean for professional and student affairs. 

In addition, to the elementary school outreach, pharmacy students will educate undergraduate students at the University of Charleston by visiting every UNIV 101 classroom on October 10, 2016 to deliver the college-level Generation Rx curriculum to freshmen. 

For more information contact: Dr. Susan Gardner, susangardner@ucwv.edu.

Diabetes Eye Care & Medication Adherence

Contributed by:  Ashley Rife and Anojinie Karunathilake, Class of 2017 Fellows

SOP script your future_FB newsfeedThrough March 18, 2016, the University of Charleston is participating in the National Script Your Future Challenge focused on promoting medication adherence.

Through outreach activities our goal, is to help educate the public and our patients about the importance of taking medications as prescribed. As part of our efforts to spread the word about medication adherence, our students are writing articles and blog posts related to three specific disease states–cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease. 


There are several vision related complications that can arise in patients with diabetes. These include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma1.

  • Diabetic retinopathy: the most common form of diabetic eye disease where there is damage to blood vessels in the retina
  • Cataract: clouding of the lens
  • Glaucoma: damage done to the optic nerve that is often resulted from high blood pressure2

Risk Factors

The risk for diabetic eye disease increases the longer a person has had diabetes. Older adults, African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic/Latino populations are at a higher risk for developing vision loss due to diabetes1.

According to National Eye Institute of National Institutes of Health (NIH), you can follow these simple steps to keep on ‘TRACK’ (see picture)1.

Take medications as directed by your doctor

Reach and maintain a healthy weight

Add physical activity

Control your ABC’s (A1c, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol)

Kick the smoking habit



Take Your Medications As Prescribed by Your Doctor

It is very important you take the medications as instructed by your doctor1. Your pharmacist and doctor can help you with appropriate technique, storage, and dosing. In order to help preserve good vision it is necessary to stay in control of your blood sugar1. Taking your diabetes medications as prescribed and testing your blood sugar appropriately will help to keep your diabetes under control. Fasting blood sugar (the blood sugar in the morning before breakfast) according to the American Diabetes Association guidelines should be less than 110 mg/dl3. Blood sugar readings after a meal according to the guidelines should less than 140 mg/dl. High blood sugar over time can damage your eyesight. If you keep your blood sugar levels steady (in control), you can slow the damage to the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. Lastly, it’s recommended you keep a log of your blood sugar readings and bring that to your pharmacist and physician so they can help you better control your blood sugar. Keeping a log will also help with adhering properly to your medication regimen.

The Importance of Taking Medications that Aren’t Specifically for Diabetes

There are also several medications that are not necessarily prescribed for diabetes that are important to take as prescribed. These include medications for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. High blood pressure alone can lead to eye disease. If you have high blood pressure and diabetes, you need to be even more careful about how you manage your conditions. Although you may not feel “sick” from high blood pressure, it is important to take your medication daily as prescribed. Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure at every visit. Check with your local pharmacist and see if they provide blood pressure checks. No appointment needed! For most people with diabetes, your goal blood pressure should be less than 140/904. Be sure to have your cholesterol levels checked annually. All it takes is a simple blood test to find out how much “bad” (LDL) and “good” (HDL) cholesterol you have. Too much LDL is linked to blood vessel damage.


  1. NIH NEHEP. Stay on TRACK to Prevent Blindness from Diabetes. https://nei.nih.gov/sites/default/files/nehep-pdfs/NDM_SM_Toolkit_2015.pdf. Accessed February 15, 2016.
  2. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org. Accessed February 11, 2016.
  3. American Diabetes Association. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes-2015. Diabetes Care. 2015;38:1-94.
  4. Dennison-himmelfarb C, Handler J, Lackland DT. 2014 Evidence-Based Guideline for the Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults Report From the Panel Members Appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8). JAMA. 2014;311(5):507-520.




Student Pharmacists Discuss the Importance of Healthy Eating with Diabetes

SOP script your future_FB newsfeedAs we move into March the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy continues our focus on medication adherence. In fact, we are participating in a nationwide campaign called “Script Your Future.” The goal of the campaign is to encourage everyone to take their medication as prescribed. In addition, Script Your Future, targets three disease states–cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes. Since March is also National Nutrition Month, our students are pairing messages related to medication adherence, healthy eating, and disease management. Three of our P3 students, who are also USCOP Fellows, have some important tips for managing Diabetes through healthy eating.

Heathy EatingEvery person battling with diabetes is not the same, and because of this, there is no one-size-fits-all diet to help them control their blood sugar. However with a few skills, managing blood sugar through healthy eating isn’t that difficult. There are several tools available that can help with this, like using the Create Your Plate method from the American Diabetes Association and understanding how to correctly read nutrition labels.

There are a few easy steps to using the Create Your Plate method for healthy eating for people with diabetes. First, a dinner plate should be seen as having an imaginary line down the middle, and that one of those sides is cut in half again so that now there are three sections on the plate. The biggest section should be filled with non-starchy vegetables, like greens, carrots, beans, broccoli, etc. Then, grains and starchy foods should fill one of the smaller sections, such as potatoes, corn, green peas, rice, bread, or pasta. The other smaller section should contain lean protein, like chicken, fish, cheese, or eggs. Now that the plate is full, a serving of fruit (¾ cup of fresh fruit or ½ cup of fruit juice) and a serving of dairy, like 1 cup of milk or yogurt, should be added. Low-calorie drinks like unsweetened tea or water are great beverage choices.

While nutrition labels can seem complicated, they contain several important pieces of information for patients with diabetes when meal planning. The first thing to take note of is the serving size typically listed at the top. The nutrition information on every food label is based on the serving size, and 1 serving size may not be the entire package. For example, the serving size for most cans of soup is 1 cup while the can contains 2+ servings. The next thing listed on a nutrition label are the percent daily values (%DV) for the major nutrients in the food item. It is important to realize that these percent daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet, so this may not match up to the person’s meal plan.

The most important part of the nutrition label for patients with diabetes is the carbohydrates. The label will state how many carbohydrates are in each serving and then break it down into the kinds of carbohydrates present, which typically are dietary fibers and sugars. Dietary fiber is important as it isn’t digested or absorbed so it doesn’t raise the blood sugar and prevents it from rising too quickly. It also helps lower cholesterol. For patients with diabetes, a normal range of carbohydrates per meal is 45 to 60 grams so reading this section of the label is crucial.

FOOdWhile diet is extremely important for diabetes management, it is not the only area of a person’s life that should be monitored. Additionally, moderate exercise of 30 minutes a day, or 150 minutes per week, is recommended for an individual with diabetes. This in conjunction with a healthy diet should provide a healthy lifestyle that will slow the progression of diabetes. It is important to speak with your doctor personally about the best way to diet, exercise, and lose weight. Don’t forget to ask your doctor about an A1c test, daily blood sugar monitoring, cholesterol levels, and the appropriateness of a yearly influenza vaccine, eye exam, and foot exam.

Contributed by: Jeremy Arthur, Jamie Huff, and Katie Oliver, Class of 2017


  1. “Create Your Plate.” American Diabetes Association. N.p., 19 Oct. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/create-your-plate/?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&gt;.
  2. “Health Care Professionals.” Tools. N.p., 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.scriptyourfuture.org/health-care-professionals/adherence-tools/diabetes/&gt;.
  3. “Taking a Closer Look At Labels.” American Diabetes Association. N.p., 27 June 2014. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/food-tips/taking-a-closer-look-at-labels.html?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&gt;.

The Road to Pharmacist Provider Status

Contributed by: Anojinie Karunathilake, Class of 2017

P1070662Background of Pharmacy

Pharmacy practice has evolved from dispensing medications to a comprehensive clinical, consultative, educational and a more patient centered practice. The value of pharmacist services in collaborative drug therapy management is widely recognized. Pharmacists continue to hold highest ratings as the most trusted healthcare professionals in Gallup Poll. Given this recognition by patients, it is important that pharmacists continue to provide high quality patient care and increase services that are provided to patients, which can be further enhanced by pharmacists obtaining the provider status.

What is provider status?

‘Provider status’ at the federal level consists of a listing of healthcare professionals included in the Social Security Act (SSA) whose services are eligible for Medicare Part B reimbursement. These healthcare professionals include physicians, physician’s assistants, certified nurse practitioners, qualified psychologists, clinical social workers, certified nurse midwives and certified registered nurse anesthetists1.

Title XVIII of SSA that describes provider status does not recognize pharmacist services as eligible for reimbursement under Medicare.   In Medicare part B, pharmacists are omitted as listed providers which limits access to pharmacists services to Medicare beneficiaries2,3.


HR 5924 (House of Representatives) and S. 3145 (Senate) are written to amend title XVIII of Social Security Act to provide coverage under Medicare program of pharmacist services. This act is also known as the ‘Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act’

Role of the Pharmacist

Many Americans do not have access to primary healthcare and is expected to get worse as the Medicare enrollees are expected to grow in the future. According to Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/MUP) is defined as “having too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, high poverty or a high elderly population”6. Many areas in West Virginia state are considered as medically underserved areas6. Pharmacists obtaining provider status will help patients in MUA gain access to pharmacists’ services, which increase their quality of life, health outcomes and cost-effectiveness.

According to a report brief published by Institute of Medicine, there are at least 1.5 million preventable adverse drug events (ADE) that occur in the U.S. every year7. These ADE are costly for patients as well as their employers, hospitals and insurance companies. Being a trusted healthcare professional with direct access to patients, pharmacists can provide educational services to reduce incidents of ADE.

Medication adherence also is an area where a pharmacist can make a significant impact. Poor medication adherence estimated to cost around $100 billion a year in the U.S., is a reason for 33-69% of all medication-related hospital admissions8. Especially, almost 50% of patients with chronic diseases do not take their medication properly9.   By increasing pharmacist services through provider status, pharmacists can help improve patients’ medication adherence as well as disease management.

Current Situation

Many pharmacy organizations and several chain pharmacies have been instrumental in advocating for the provider status for pharmacists. Many are involved in writing letters to their representatives in Congress encouraging them to support provider status bill. Currently, a majority of U.S. House have co-sponsored H.R. 59210.

With the momentum building and many more supporters joining to advocate for H.R. 592/S. 314, hopefully pharmacists’ contributions towards healthcare teams and patient services will be recognized as an integral part of healthcare in the near future.


  1. APhA. Provider Status: What pharmacists need to know now. 2013. http://www.pharmacist.com/provider-status-what-pharmacists-need-know-now. Accessed January 6, 2016.
  2. ASHP. A bill to amedn title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for coverage under the Medicare program of pharmacist services. 2015. http://www.cqrcengage.com/ashp/app/bill/487919. Accessed January 5, 2016.
  3. O’Brien JM. How nurse practitioners obtained provider status: Lessons for pharmacists. Am J Heal Pharm. 2003;60:2301-2307. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/464663.
  4. Congress.org. HR 592- Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act. 2015. https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/592/text?q={“search”:[“HR+592”]}. Accessed January 6, 2016.
  5. Congress.org. S.314 – Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act. 2015. https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/314/text?q={“search”:[“S.+314”]}. Accessed January 6, 2016.
  6. HRSA DHHS. MUA Find. http://datawarehouse.hrsa.gov/tools/analyzers/muafind.aspx. Accessed February 14, 2016.
  7. Medicine I of. Preventing Medication Errors: Report Brief. 2006. https://iom.nationalacademies.org/~/media/Files/Report Files/2006/Preventing-Medication-Errors-Quality-Chasm-Series/medicationerrorsnew.pdf. Accessed January 6, 2016.
  8. Osterberg L, Blaschke T. Adherence to medication. N Engl J Med. 2005;353:487-497. doi:10.1056/NEJMra050100.
  9. APhA. Improving Patient Care. 2015. http://www.pharmacist.com/sites/default/files/files/Making the Case (2015).pdf. Accessed January 7, 2016.
  10. APhA. An Update from Tom Menighan, CEO of APhA. 2015. http://echo4.bluehornet.com/hostedemail/email.htm?CID=31858955709&ch=59FBFD48BBC77F7D250F6152F0853DFB&h=101a58de85df02e6330c32f53b58b43c&ei=7dMpdFyNK. Accessed January 7, 2016.

Communication Skills are Essential for Pharmacists & Medication Adherence

SOP script your future_FB newsfeedPharmacy students are among the smartest people I know—hands down! Their propensity for science and math contributes to their ability to process large amounts of complex information. I am constantly impressed by the mental prowess of my students.

A scientific mind is indeed key to success in pharmacy school and in the pharmacy profession but I urge any student thinking about entering the profession to also consider the importance of communication skills—in particular, interpersonal communication skills. We all know role of the pharmacist in health care includes: medication therapy management, point of care testing, and monitoring and changing medications via collaborative practice. As the role of the pharmacist in health care increases, it will be even more important for pharmacy students to hone their communication skills.

I often remind our students at UCSOP that breaking information down into digestible pieces for patients is crucial. In fact, the average American reads at the 7th grade level (not at the pharmacy school level). It takes finesse to explain complex information related to medication and disease management in layperson’s terms (so patients and their caregivers understand). It also takes strong interpersonal communication skills to effectively manage one’s emotions and respond effectively to the emotions of one’s patients. In fact, some research has started to suggest that the higher a health care provider’s emotional intelligence, which includes relational skills, the better health outcomes for a patient.

Pharmacists can also increase medication adherence by effectively communicating with patients through medication adherence monitoring, medication reviews, and patient counseling. As we at UCSOP are engaged in the Script Your Future Challenge, a nationwide medication adherence campaign supported by the National Consumers League (www.scriptyourfuture.org), it’s important that we take time to note the importance of communication skills for pharmacy students. Developing these skills now, will help students serve their current and future patients as well as highlight the important role pharmacists play in patient care.

  • 50-60% of patients do not take their medications as prescribed
  • Lack of adherence leads to over 125,000 deaths in the U.S. each year and contributes to $290 billion dollars in health care costs
  • Almost 30% of patients stop taking their medications before their supply runs out

Imagine being someone who has the power to educate patients about the importance of adherence simply through conversation and counseling? Pharmacists do not have to imagine this because it’s what they do each and every day.

If you are a pharmacy student, consider honing your own communication skills by following these simple tips:

  • Check to make sure your non-verbal and your verbal communication match.
  • Actively listen without interrupting.
  • Express empathy by acknowledging that someone may be having a hard time
  • Ask questions about what would help the situation? What is a reasonable action a person can take given their resources and limitations?
  • Ask for feedback from faculty and preceptors regarding how you can improve your communication skills.
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses in regard to communication and then develop three strategies that will help you overcome those weaknesses.

Enhancing your communication skills now, while in pharmacy school, could help a patient be more adherent to their medication and it may even save someone’s life.

Dr. Susan Gardner is Assistant Dean for Professional and Student Affairs at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy.Dr. Gardner

Don’t forget to take the pledge to take your meds at: www.scriptyourfuture.org. Follow tips about medication adherence on Twitter @UCSOP.

UCSOP Kicks off Script Your Future Medication Adherence Campaign

January 19, 2016 through March 18, 2016 an interdisciplinary student team from pharmacy, physicians assistant, and other health professions from the University of Charleston will kick off a series of community outreach activities through West Virginia to raise awareness about the health consequences of not taking medication as directed. They will join with health professions students across the country in the 2016 Medication Adherence Team Challenge, a two 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, this year for two months, after four years of successful student innovation.

SYFchallengeinfographic #1 2016[2]

About the Challenge: The Challenge is part of Script Your Future, a campaign launched by the National Consumers League and partners in 2011 to combat the problem of poor medication adherence. In the United States, nearly three out of four patients do not take their medication as directed. The campaign focuses on three disease states—diabetes, cardiovascular, and respiratory. All of these disease states are among the leading causes of hospitalization in West Virginia.

“In 2013 and 2015 our students received national recognition from the National Consumers League for their efforts in educating West Virginians about the importance of medication adherence and managing chronic disease,” said Dr. Susan Gardner, UCSOP’s Assistant Dean for Professional and Student Affairs. “Our students are committed to educating the public and conducting medication adherence and disease management outreach activities that reach individuals in both urban and rural areas.”

Our 2016 Script Your Future Activities: Activities will be coordinated by pharmacy students including health fairs, educational outreach activities, and public service announcements on radio and television through West Virginia January 18-March 18, 2016. Pharmacy students, pre-pharmacy students, athletic training and physician assistant students will be partnering to deliver education and health screenings at various locations throughout the state. In addition, through a partnership with Fruth Pharmacy, mediation adherence information will be distributed with prescriptions at all Fruth locations during February 2016. For a comprehensive list of events CLICK HERE.

“There are many reasons why people don’t take their medicine as directed, but the consequences for patients are the same,” said Michelle Easton, Dean of the UC School of Pharmacy. “Nonadherence puts patients, especially those with chronic conditions, such as diabetes or asthma, at risk for serious complications.” Students, faculty and staff at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy are encouraging EVERYONE to take the pledge to take their medications as prescribed. Take the PLEDGE NOW!

SYF challenge3

For more information about our Script Your Future Activities or to schedule an event at your location or with your organization, contact: Dr. Susan Gardner, 304-357-4879, susangardner@ucwv.edu.