Cycling Event Held at UC to Promote Cardiovascular Health

Contributed by Brandon Gray, Class of 2019

Cardiovascular health is an extremely important component of leading a long, enjoyable life. Unfortunately, West Virginia has been inadequate in this category for several years. For example, West Virginia is the third highest state in the country in terms of “Fair and Poor Health Status”, “Physical Inactivity”, and “Obesity” (1). Individuals who do not take care of his/her cardiovascular health can develop cardiovascular disease, which is commonly known as heart disease. When looking at gender, it was shown that heart disease was the cause of death in 22.8% of males and 22.2% of females in 2011(2). However, this can easily be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle, and managing cardiovascular health risks consistently and effectively. Conditions that can lead to heart disease include: atherosclerosis (plaque build-up on the artery walls), heart failure (when the heart is unable to efficiently pump blood to the entire body), and narrowing of the heart valves causing blood flow to be restricted. Keeping a healthy heart will increase one’s life expectancy as well as increase their quality of life.

screen-shot-2017-01-16-at-11-10-20-am

Cyclers on UC’s campus!

The UCSOP Student Chapter of The American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) held a cycling event to educate the public about the importance of cardiovascular health. Cycling has been shown to bring countless benefits to an individuals heart health, as well as overall health including: strengthening the heart muscles, strengthening bones and muscles, lowering the resting pulse, reducing blood fat levels, reducing body weight, decreasing blood pressure, increasing good cholesterol (HDL), decreasing bad cholesterol (LDL), reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood, etc (3). This event was a great opportunity to show the community how critical it is to have a healthy heart, and what benefits come with cardiovascular health. The cycling event had a wonderful turn out. Several members of the University of Charleston campus and Charleston community attended the event to spread awareness of heart disease and the several life-threatening problems that are associated with it. Every individual that came out and expressed their support and concern, will now be able to educate others about heart disease and how/why it is a growing tragedy in West Virginia. The goal of this event was to educate others on how heart disease can be improved and/or prevented with fun physical activities such as cycling.

References

  1. Fast Facts. (2016). wv.gov. Retrieved 17 October 2016, from http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/hpcd/data_reports/Pages/Fast-Facts.aspx
  2. Frequently Requested Statistics. (2016). org. Retrieved 17 October 2016, from http://www.wvdhhr.org/bph/hsc/Statserv/Stat_Triv.asp
  3. Health Benefits of Cycling | Organic Facts. (2013). Organic Facts. Retrieved 17 October 2016, from https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/other/health-benefits-of-cycling.html
  4. Myers, J. (2003). Exercise and Cardiovascular Health. Circulation, 107(1), e2-e5. Retrieved from http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/107/1/e2

Minority Representation & Underserved Patients

Contributed By: Glorisel Cruz, Class of 2018, SNPhA Vice President

The Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) was founded in 1972.1 SNPhA’s mission is to bring pharmacy students together “who are concerned about pharmacy and healthcare related issues, and the poor minority representation in pharmacy and other health-related professions.”1 But why is it so important to focus on minority representation and the underserved in our health care system? It is estimated that “by 2020 more than half of the nation’s children will be of an ethnic or racial minority; by 2050, African American/Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians will comprise the majority of the population.”2 With this comes the inevitable question of whether our pharmacy profession is equipped to meet their health care needs.

Most pharmacy students mention helping people as one of the main reasons they aspire to be a pharmacist. Part of a pharmacy schools’ job is to help their students be competent in helping everyone, underserved or not. One of the ways pharmacy school helps students achieve this is by having “diversity in faculty and staff members and curriculum [to help] foster a culturally competent and diverse student population, which in turn impacts the quality of care provided to patients.”2 The problem is that having diverse faculty and staff members may not be as easy. Angela Hagan and colleagues compared racial and ethnic representation in pharmacy schools’ staff in comparison with the US Census Bureau data in their article The Racial and Ethnic Representation of Faculty in US Pharmacy Schools and Colleges. 2 They found that “Asian faculty representation was more than double in pharmacy than in higher education.” 2 It wasn’t the same for the other minorities and their representation in the pharmacy faculty. According to the same article, when compared to medical and dental schools, there was a higher representation of African Americans/Black faculty. 2 The program that had a better representation of Hispanic faculty was the dental program when compared to other programs. 2 Having diverse representation among the faculty of pharmacy schools can help “staff and other service providers have the requisite attitudes, knowledge, and skills for delivering culturally competent care.” 3 Therefore, having diverse faculty in pharmacy programs should be one of the main goals of a school.

Underserved populations also include those with low-economic status, “patients with medical disabilities or chronic illness,” those who are “confined to long-term care facilities,” “patients with limited literacy,” and anyone who lives in “geographically isolated or medically underserved areas.”4 Around 62 million people in the United States are part of the underserved population. 5 For example, West Virginia, alone, has 49 counties out of a total of 55 counties, which are considered underserved. 5 There are different methods that West Virginia has implemented to help its people, such as free clinics. 5 Pharmacists have a major role in helping underserved patients get better health care. SNPhA members, along with many other organizations, are helping by setting up health fairs which provide free services to underserved patients, such as blood pressure and blood glucose screenings, A1c testing, and various educational programs

References:

  1. About – SNPhA. Accessed: November 25, 2016. https://snpha.org/about/
  2. Hagan AM, Campbell HE, Gaither CA. The Racial and Ethnic Representation of Faculty in US Pharmacy Schools and Colleges. Am J Pharm Educ. 2016;80(6).
  3. Missing Persons: Minorities in the Health Professions. The Sullivan Commission. 2004:1-208. Accessed: November 24, 2016. http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/SullivanReport.pdf.
  4. Dental Pipeline: Who Are “Underserved Patients”? Accessed: November 25, 2016.http://www.dentalpipeline.org/elements/community-based/pe_underserved.html
  5. Mallow JA, Theeke LA, Long DM, Whetsel T, Theeke E, Mallow BK. Study protocol: mobile improvement of self-management ability through rural technology (mI SMART). Springerplus. 2015;4(1):423. doi:10.1186/s40064-015-1209-y.

The National Opioid Epidemic and Pharmacist’s Role in Drug Diversion

An epidemic is ravaging our country and the ways in which we, as pharmacists and healthcare providers, can aid in the fight that is the “Opioid Crisis” are numerous. Take our beloved state of West Virginia for instance, where there have been 33.5 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 residents from 2011-13 compared to 22 per 100,000 residents in the years preceding. (1) “Wyoming, McDowell, Boone and Mingo [counties] lead the nation in fatal overdoses caused by pain pills, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” (2) Over the past 6 years drug wholesalers have shipped nearly 800 million oxycodone and hydrocodone tablets drawing the attention of both the DEA and the state government. One of the nation’s largest wholesalers, Cardinal, agreed to pay over $40 million in fines to settle allegations of failure to report suspicious purchasing patterns for opioids. (3) You may find yourself asking what can I, a pharmacist, do to help?

First and foremost, counseling our patients on their medications and informing them of the potential risk of abuse is a great first step. It is important to get to know our patients and their situation so we can make sure the medications are used responsibly. Remind patients that medication is not to be shared with friends or family under any circumstances without the consult and consent of their health care provider. Inquire of your patient(s) whether the medication is working to alleviate symptoms and offer additional ways to help manage pain such as exercise, meditation, or even yoga. If needed, refer them to additional resources such as their doctor or other healthcare providers.

Secondly, inform patients about overdose protocol and the availability of lifesaving drugs such as naloxone (Narcan). Police and paramedics, who are usually the first responders to overdose victims, are also carrying naloxone to help curb loss of life. Educate individuals on the proper use of naloxone to reverse an overdose whether it accidental or intentional and where to purchase an emergency dose. Naloxone is now available by physician protocol at your local pharmacies in many states, including WV. It is imperative to instruct those who purchase naloxone that after administering a dose they must go to the hospital immediately because the effects will wear off and the victim will require hospital attention.

DEA 360 Strategy Meeting in the UC Ballroom!

DEA 360 Strategy Meeting in the UC Ballroom!

Pharmacists also have a responsibility to be proactive in this “Opioid Crisis” and become advocates for change in our communities. Reaching out to our state Senate and House of Representatives to promote new legislation and initiatives to curb this wave of abuse is another great step. On Wednesday January 25th 2017, DEA representatives came to the University of Charleston to host a stakeholders strategy meeting that focused on providing support for West Virginia for heroin and opioid use, and violence in our community. US Attorney Caroline Mastro has approved $500,000 for the trial portion of a program to diversify ways to help out this crisis. The DEA speakers addressed the present dismissive attitudes surrounding the subject and called out to leaders to unite with the common goal of fighting addiction in this state.

These patients are not the enemy but a casualty to what has historically been labeled a victimless crime. So the next time someone comes in a day early to fill their script or the doctor ups their dose don’t just shove them out the door replying, “it is too soon to fill” or “we don’t have any in stock.” Have a conversation with the patient to make sure they are aware that help is out there if they are ready to start their journey to recovery. Those who are abusing pain medications may be doing so in order to mask the pain of another situation and your conversation may spark the road to recovery! Please join us in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

References:

  1. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3128229/West-Virginia-rate-drug-overdose-deaths.html
  2. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2016/12/19/report-dea-records-show-west-virginia-flooded-with-drugs.html
  3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/cardinal-health-fined-44-million-for-opioid-reporting-violations/2017/01/11/4f217c44-d82c-11e6-9a36-1d296534b31e_story.html?utm_term=.d248d375b1fa

 

CPFI & ACCP Join Together for Trunk-or-Treat Event

Christian Pharmacist Fellowship International (CPFI) and American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) participated in the Trunk-or-Treat event at the Kroger in South Charleston on October 29th for American Pharmacist Month. The overarching theme of this event was the promotion of The Teal Pumpkin Project. The Teal Pumpkin Project was launched as a national campaign by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) in 2014.

FARE's Teal Pumpkin Project

FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project

FARE’s mission is to “improve the quality of life and health of individuals with food allergies, and to provide them hope through the promise of new treatments.” The idea of this project is to allow every child (with or without food allergies) to experience the tradition of trick-or-treating on Halloween, but in a safe way. At these events only non-food treats are offered such as glow sticks or small toys. In 2015, households from all 50 states and 14 countries participated. To take part in your home next Halloween—just place a teal pumpkin at your doorstep and FARE provides free printable signs to explain the meaning.

At this event, CPFI’s trunk theme was football, while ACCP decided to be superheroes. We provided the children glow sticks, fake insects, plastic jewels, and “Mr. Yuk” stickers. The “Mr. Yuk” stickers allowed us to explain to parents that it’s important to keep dangerous household (cleaning supplies, medications, insect repellants, etc) items away from their children. An easy way to do this is by placing a “Mr. Yuk” sticker on those items to alert the child that it is unsafe. As kids came to our trunk, we played beanbag toss, bowling, and other fun games. A member of CPFI also made a poster for American Pharmacist Month and this helped us to explain why UC students were participating in this trunk-or-treat.

CPFI & ACCP Students at the Trunk-or-Treat event.

CPFI & ACCP Students at the Trunk-or-Treat event.

The poster opened up conversation about the importance of recognizing food allergies and how pharmacists can play a role in their allergy management. Those with food allergies are not only affected by what they can or cannot eat, but they must also be cautious about what medications they take as well. Although many people are unaware, some medications are made from food-sources. Examples of some medications made with foods include: inhalers made with peanuts and flu shots made with eggs. It is important to mention all allergies to doctors and/or pharmacists to avoid any dangerous reactions.

Over 200 kids came to the event and we were able to talk to many of their parents about household and medication safety. With this being such a success, we hope to continue participating and make this an annual CPFI tradition.

For more information about FARE’s project, you can visit foodallegy.org/teal-pumpkin-project.

Contributed by Sydney Sowell, CPFI Secretary, Class of 2019

UCSOP Is Going Red For Women

Welcome to February 2017…. or shall we say Welcome to American Heart Month!

This means that here at UCSOP we are preparing for a month full of exciting and educational events geared towards cardiovascular health. With Script Your Future happening in full-force, what better way to expand our reach than to incorporate Go Red For Women into our message? UCSOP students and faculty are dedicated to promoting heart health among all persons and encourage everyone to take their medications as they are prescribed!Go Red For Women

Go Red For Women is a campaign that was established by the American Heart Association in response to increased heart disease and strokes among women. This campaign encourages awareness of the issue of women and heart disease, and also promotes action to save more lives. Go Red For Women challenges women to “know their numbers” or know their risk factors for getting heart disease, and also gives participants the tools they need to live a heart healthy life. Cardiovascular disease has numerous risk factors, but thankfully, many of them can be controlled via medications and/or lifestyle changes. Things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and elevated blood glucose all play a part in heart disease. This is why it is so important for women and men with these chronic diseases to take their medications as directed.

At UCSOP we will be participating in “Go Red for Women Day” on February 3rd, for which we encourage our students, faculty and staff to dress in red to support the cause! Our student organizations will also be hosting a variety of health fairs and tweet-a-thons promoting Go Red For Women.  Furthermore, we will continue to promote medication adherence as it fits in with cardiovascular health through our Script Your Future events. Stay tuned to our blog and other social media for updates on events regarding these causes!

UCSOP Hosts DEA 360 Strategy Meeting

Exciting things are happening at UCSOP, in the Charleston community, and around the state of West Virginia! On January 25, 2017, UCSOP hosted the DEA 360 Strategy Meeting for Charleston, WV. This meeting served as the kick-off event in the 6th city for this nationwide initiative. The DEA 360 program focuses on heroin, prescription drugs, and violence within our communities. screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-2-04-33-pm

DEA 360 utilizes a three-fold approach to fight the drug epidemic in its pilot cities. This approach focuses on diversion control, law enforcement, and community outreach working together to make our cities safe and free of drugs! The ultimate goals of the 360 Strategy are to stop the deadly cycle of heroin and opioid drug abuse and addiction, partner with the medical community to increase awareness about the link between heroin and opioid use, and to strengthen community organizations to provide long-term support for this initiative.The basic components of the strategy are outlined below:

  • Coordinated Law Enforcement Operations: Focuses on DEA leadership with coordinated local law enforcement actions targeting all levels of drug trafficking, organizations, and violent gangs supplying drugs in our neighborhoods.
  • Enhanced Diversion Control: Increases engagement from drug manufacturers, wholesalers, practitioners, and pharmacists to increase awareness of the heroin and prescription drug problem. Pushes for responsible prescribing practices and safe use of these medications throughout the medical community.
  • Building Community Partnerships:  Community outreach and partnerships with local organizations following DEA enforcement actions to equip and empower communities with the tools to fight the heroin and prescription drug epidemic. Focuses on young people through after school programs, education, and media attention to this issue.

Overall, 200+ people from DEA (both local divisions and DEA Headquarters in Washington DC), community groups and organizations in Charleston, along with UCSOP faculty, staff, and student pharmacists attended the meeting! Be on the lookout for local television and radio adds about the program as well as a website designed specifically for our Charleston community. It’s time to “Wake Up Charleston”!

UCSOP Faculty and Students host a luncheon for DEA representatives after the meeting!

UCSOP Faculty and Students host a luncheon for DEA representatives after the meeting!

 

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

 

Script Your Future – Smoking Cessation

Script Your Future

For many years, tobacco use has been the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and around the world. West Virginia is no exception. In fact, West Virginia ranks as one of the highest tobacco-using states in the country. Over 3,500 people die in WV each year from tobacco-related causes – this averages to about 10 persons per day dying from tobacco exposure. With that being said, our population of pregnant women who smoke is alarmingly high as well. According to the 2016 WV DHHR Report, 24.2% of pregnant women smoke in WV. Although this number has slightly decreased from recent years, WV continues to remain significantly above the the national average of 8.2%.

Not only does smoking increase mortality, it can also pose serious threats to one’s overall health as well. First and second-hand smoke have both been linked to worsening lung function and increasing respiratory disease in those exposed. Furthermore, smoking has been linked to cause and/or worsen gum disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, COPD, emphysema, and diabetes complications. For pregnant women who smoke, the risks are even higher. Smoking during pregnancy contributes to premature birth, birth defects, and infant death. If these physical negative effects are not enough, smoking-related illnesses costs over $300 billion dollars each year with nearly $170 billion of that being in direct medical costs. The combination of physical and economical detriments of smoking are clear reasons as to why smoking cessation is so important.

When a person stops smoking, the positive effects on their bodies begin almost instantaneously. Smoking cessation improves blood pressure, circulation, and lung function, to name a few. The good news is that it is never too late to quit! There are numerous resources available for those interested in smoking cessation. WV has several organizations who dedicate their time and efforts to smoking cessation in our communities, as well. Furthermore, doctors, pharmacists, and other health care professionals have the ability and knowledge to educate patients about the benefits of smoking cessation and how to get connected with the proper resources. UCSOP and the Script Your Future campaign encourages all persons to quit smoking and become educated on the risks it poses to your cardiovascular and respiratory health, especially.

If you or a loved one are interested in quitting smoking, you can visit www.wvquitline.com or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

You can also take the pledge to quit smoking at www.scriptyourfuture.org.

1-800-QUIT-NOW

References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/index.html
  2. http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/News/2016/Pages/Rates-of-Smoking-during-Pregnancy-Show-Strong-Signs-of-Decline.aspx
  3. http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/wvdtp/Documents/DTP%202015%20Progress%20Report.pdf

AAPS & NCPA Host Health Fair for American Pharmacists Month

On October 29th, 2016 the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) along with the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) chapters at UCSOP hosted a diabetes health fair at Fruth Pharmacy on Oakwood Road. This diabetes health fair was one of many events put together by the various organizations at UCSOP in honor of American Pharmacists’ Month.

While AAPS’s vision focuses on the development of products and therapies through research, a major part of their mission is to bring together all individuals involved in the pharmaceutical sciences in order to best serve patients. We saw this health fair as an opportunity to do just that. We were able to collaborate with students from other organizations that focus specifically on community pharmacy, but with whom we still share the ultimate goal of patient service.

“Through this health fair, we were able to embrace and exemplify the idea that while there are many facets and specialties within the field of pharmacy, we are all dedicated to the education and treatment of patients.”

At this event, AAPS and NCPA provided free blood glucose and blood pressure screenings to individuals in the Fruth Pharmacy store. Approximately 15 UCSOP students volunteered for this event between the two organizations. This event served as a great opportunity for P2 students to practice their newly-learned blood glucose and blood pressure monitoring skills on actual patients. P3s were able to use this an opportunity to interpret scores, as learned in our pharmacotherapy II class, and explain to patients their results.

AAPS & NCPA Students at Fruth at Oakwood Road's store hosting their health fair!

AAPS & NCPA Students at Fruth Pharmacy at Oakwood hosting their health fair!

During this health fair, we were able to serve approximately 30 patients. Many of these patients were highly engaged in their own health; they knew what medications they were taking and knew what their normal values were. These patients appreciated the opportunity to quickly test their blood pressure and blood glucose to make sure they were reaching their goals. However, we also interacted with patients who had very little knowledge of blood glucose and blood pressure screenings. With these patients, we had the chance to educate them on why each test was important and explain consequences of high readings. There were also patients who understood the screening methods and knew they were diagnosed with diabetes, but did not seem to take their diagnoses seriously. These patients mentioned having family histories of diabetes and seemed to think that it was inevitable that they too develop diabetes. For these patients, we stressed the importance of taking medications as prescribed and regularly checking their blood glucose and blood pressure.

This health fair served as an opportunity to reach out to the Charleston community. Through this event, we were able to educate members of our community, bring attention to our school of pharmacy, and promote the profession of pharmacy. AAPS and NCPA, two organizations that may not seem to be associated, were able work together and support one another.

Contributed by: Suyasha Pradhan, AAPS Vice-President, Class of 2018

Script Your Future: Asthma & Medication Adherence

Script Your Future

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways. It affects persons of all ages, but is more common in children. Some of the common signs/symptoms associated with asthma are wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath especially on exertion, and coughing. Although there is no cure for asthma, there are steps you can take to keep this condition under control!

The best way to manage your asthma is to take your medications properly. The most commonly used medications in the treatment of asthma are a combination of long-term and quick-relief (aka “rescue”) medications. Although these medications can be taken in a pill or tablet form, they are commonly administered through devices called inhalers and/or nebulizers. These long-term inhalers are used to deliver inhaled corticosteroids (e.g. albuterol) into the airways for the purpose of reducing airway inflammation and prevent symptoms from ever occurring. Short-acting or “rescue” medications are used to provide fast relief when symptoms do occur.

An Asthma Action Plan is a great tool to use in helping you manage your asthma appropriately. These worksheets help you keep track of your asthma symptoms and medications all in one convenient place. These plans describe your daily asthma care plan including what treatments to take and when. Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to guide you in filling out the action plan and keep you on the right track. For all chronic conditions, asthma included, it is critical to take all of your medications as they are prescribed by your doctor!

For tips on how to use an inhaler or find a sample Asthma Action Plan, visit www.scriptyourfuture.org!