NCPA and AAPS Host Script Your Future Event at Fruth Pharmacy!

Student pharmacists at UCSOP are working diligently towards reaching their goal of 10,000 pledges for the 2017 Script Your Future Challenge. However, reaching this goal cannot be done without collaboration and support from fellow students and community organizations. This is why NCPA and AAPS have teamed up to host a Script Your Future event at four Fruth Pharmacy locations in West Virginia! Details about this event can be found below.
Script Your Future   Fruth Pharmacy

Who: NCPA, AAPS, UCSOP Students, Fruth Pharmacy staff and customers

What: Script Your Future/Medication Disposal/Medication Synchronization Outreach

Where: Fruth @ Oakwood Road, Lee Street, Scott Depot, and Nitro

When: February 20-25, 2017

Details: Students from UCSOP will be volunteering at the Fruth stores in Scott Depot, Nitro, Oakwood Road, and Lee Street to educate patients about medication adherence, medication disposal, and medication synchronization.  This event will focus on getting patients to take the Script Your Future Pledge. Students will also be handing out goodie bags filled with medication wallet cards cards, pill organizers, and flyers for education on how to properly dispose or medications. Students will also have their iPads on-site so customers can conveniently take the pledge in real-time!

Come out and support our students while learning more about medication adherence and safety! If you’d like to learn more about Script Your Future visit http://www.scriptyourfuture.com or take the pledge at http://www.ucwv.edu/pharmacy!

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.

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

Script Your Future – UCSOP Kicks Off 2017 Medication Adherence Challenge

Script Your Future

The 2017 Script Your Future (SYF) Campaign has officially begun, and as such, the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy is working tirelessly to educate the public about the importance of medication adherence. The main goal of SYF is to educate others about safe and proper medication use. This includes taking medications only as directed by a doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional. For persons with long-term health conditions, especially, adhering to their medications is critical and possibly life-saving. Research has shown that more than 1 in 3 medication-related hospitalizations happen because the person did not take their medicine as instructed. Furthermore, almost 125,000 people die each year due to medication non-adherence.

Unfortunately, medication adherence is something many people struggle with. Some patients either never fill their prescriptions, or they may never pick up their filled prescriptions from the pharmacy. Others bring their medication home, but they end up skipping doses or stop taking the medication all together. It is important for everyone to take their medications only as directed by a health care provider so they do not take too high or too low of a dose. Not taking medications as instructed, can be detrimental for your health. For example, if a person with COPD does not regularly use their maintenance inhaler, it can result in increased shortness of breath and significantly decrease their overall quality of life. Not taking medications as directed can lead to other health problems, especially if you already have asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure.

There are many reasons people lack proper medication adherence. Forgetfulness, adverse side effects, cost, and thinking the medication is not needed are all common reasons people do not take their medications properly. No matter the reason, however, by not taking medications as directed, it increases the patients chances of experiencing worsening disease states and/or symptoms, and may even decrease their protection from future health complications. If you or a loved one have questions about your health conditions, how your medicine works, why you need to take your medicine, side effects or other concerns– talk to your doctor, pharmacist, nurse or other health care professional. The members of your healthcare team will help you understand your disease states and what steps you can take in managing those conditions. The best, first step you can take, however, is to take your medications as directed!

www.scriptyourfuture.org

Educating Charleston’s Youth About Safe Medication Practices

As first-year pharmacy students (P1s), we sign the Oath of a Pharmacist when we walk across the stage during the White Coat Ceremony. By signing this document, we are accepting the responsibility of utilizing our knowledge to serve the community. This year, the P1’s had the pleasure of using our knowledge to teach 5th grade students throughout the Charleston area about the dangers of misusing prescription medication by utilizing materials from Generation Rx.

In the past month, more than 6 million Americans ages 12 and older have taken a prescription medication for non-medical reasons. Drug overdose deaths, mainly from prescription medications, is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. Generation Rx’s goal is to educate our youth, college students, other adults in our communities, and seniors about enhancing medication safety in order to prevent them from being another statistic in the future of prescription drug misuse.

UCSOP Class of 2020 students celebrate safe medication use with 5th grade students!

UCSOP Class of 2020 students celebrate safe medication use with 5th grade students!

Being that West Virginia has one of the highest opioid abuse rates in the United States, it is vital to reach out to the children in our state and teach them the importance of using medications correctly while they are young. Our class was split up into twelve groups who would each present to one 5th grade classroom in two hour-long sessions. For the first session, we were given a PowerPoint to present that hit on all the core messages of Generation Rx such as not sharing medications, using medications as directed by a physician, proper medication storage, and being a good role model. In the second session, we were able to incorporate active learning activities for the students.

Overall this experience was truly rewarding. We wore our white coats to the presentations and you could tell the children wanted to hear what we had to say as a result. They were constantly participating and seemed to have fun while going through the PowerPoint. In order to see what information the children had retained, our group decided to play jeopardy with the class during our second session. I was impressed to see great improvements in their answers from our first presentation. It made me feel like we could actually be making a difference. If our presentation can prevent even one student from misusing medication in the future, then it can be considered worthwhile. Generation Rx is a very important organization and I think it is great that our school of pharmacy has become actively engaged with teaching it. I hope to continue partaking in events related to Generation Rx throughout my pharmacy school career.

Contributed by Glenn Schiotis, Vice President Class of 2020

White Coats on the Bridge

Every October is American Pharmacist Month and as such, the whole month is filled with activities at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy. Each pharmacy organization and class sponsors at least one American Pharmacist Month event to help spread the word and educate people regarding the different aspects of pharmacy.  From medication therapy management to administering vaccinations, it is pharmacist’s job to let people know that pharmacists can do so much more than just count pills!

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UCSOP students on the Southside Bridge, Charleston WV

This year, the class of 2018 in coordination with the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) student chapter and UCSOP Class of 2020, hosted an event called “White Coats on the Bridge”. On Tuesday, October 11th, student pharmacists from every current class at UCSOP and UC’s mascot, Mo Harv the Golden Eagle, gathered in their white coats on the side of the Southside Bridge between MacCorkle Avenue and Virginia Street in Charleston to help spread awareness and celebrate American Pharmacists Month. As people drove by on their way home from work that evening, students waved signs promoting UCSOP, encouraging people to talk to their pharmacist about their medications, and just supporting the profession of pharmacy overall.

The event took place during the beginning of flu-season, so students took advantage of the opportunity to encourage people to get their annual influenza vaccination. Using signs like “Don’t get spooked by the flu” and “Honk if You Got Your Flu Shot”, students were able to interact with the passers-by and educate them in a fast and effective way. My favorite sign of the evening however, simply said, “Honk if you love your pharmacist” and over the course of the two hours we were there, well over 300 cars let out a friendly honk as they drove by!

At UCSOP, we are constantly looking for new and different ways to educate patients on all of the different things that their pharmacist can do for them, and “White Coats on the Bridge” is something that we had never done before. Overall, it was a beautiful evening for the event, and we all had a ton of fun getting the word out about American Pharmacists Month in a new and exciting way. The best part though, was definitely the support we received from the public. As cars drove by, drivers and their passengers would honk and wave, and you could see the smiles on their faces. If nothing else, it felt good just knowing that a group of student pharmacists made an impact and brightened someone’s day. The hope is that this becomes an annual event that grows throughout the years at UCSOP.

Contributed by Ryan Nolan, Class of 2018 President

UCSOP Students Volunteer at Kanawha Charleston Health Department Harm Reduction Program

Contributed by: Grandee Dang, Class of 2019 ASCP Secretary 

Growing up within the inner-city communities of California, I was exposed to many of the social and economic problems that plagued the area. Drug addiction was one of the main reoccurring themes within the topic of discussions. Whether it was the “Just Say No” slogan broadcasted on our televisions or the “DARE” members congregating on the school grounds, the problem of drug abuse was always prevalent within my hometown of San Jose. The taboo nature of drug use bled into the community and unfortunately also dehumanized drug users. As a result, the terms “drug user” became associated with shaming and an overall sub community that have been labeled as “criminals” or hopeless addicts. However, as with any problem, there are two sides to the story. One of those is given to the general public and the vision that is often shared by those battling the drugs on the front lines.

During the week-long Thanksgiving break, my colleague, Alan Lam, and I were attracted to the idea of taking our time off to volunteer within the community. With the current opioid problem plaguing West Virginia, we became interested in learning more about educating ourselves about the opioid addiction and how we can better serve the community. Dr. Acree, an assistant professor and pharmacist at UCSOP,  had routinely volunteered at the Kanawha Health Department every Wednesday for the needle exchange. Intrigued, we both wanted to participate in the needle exchange along side with Dr. Acree.

“Just like the diverse community addiction affects, there is no singular solution to the problem, but the needle exchange program is a valuable asset in servicing these patients.”

The enriching experience illustrated that not all drug users are like the stereotypes that are often portrayed in the media. Many of the individuals who visited the clinic were not so different from those of the general population. They had jobs and families, but were stricken with the disease of addiction. During our visit we got to practice our empathy skills throughout our interactions with the patients at the clinic, as well. During the needle exchange, we realized that even though we cannot cure the disease of addiction or the influx of the opiate abuse, we can at least lower the spread of blood borne diseases associated with needle sharing. Just like the diverse community that addiction affects, there is no singular solution to the problem, but the needle exchange program is a valuable asset in servicing these patients. Upon observation, we realized that addiction could affect people of all ages from all socioeconomic backgrounds. In time we hope we could continue this program and perhaps expand it throughout areas where opiate abuse has uprooted the community. If these efforts save only one life or present the spread of blood borne disease to just one person, it is well worth the effort.

ASCP – American Society of Consultant Pharmacists

During the month of April, UCSOP will be featuring our many student organizations. At UCSOP, we believe that co-curricular experiences (outside the classroom) allow our students to practice their pharmacy skills and serve our communities. 100% of our student body is a member of at least one organization and our students participate in over 25 community health fairs each year serving over 5,000 patients. 

ASCP

ASCP members present at the Student Chapter Activity Poster Showcase at the ASCP annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) is a non-profit association that was established in the year 19691. As a student chapter of ASCP at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy (UCSOP) in Charleston, West Virginia, our mission correlates with the mission of the national chapter of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. The mission is the following:

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists empowers pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to enhance quality of care for all older persons through the appropriate use of medication and the promotion of healthy aging.1

The purpose of the student chapter at UCSOP is to allow ASCP members to enhance their skills as student pharmacists and promote the health care quality of the elderly in the Charleston area. The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists chapter at UCSOP is accomplishing this through various activities.

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists invites speakers with geriatric experience, such as residents that have done or are doing their residency in geriatrics, to come to our meetings to talk to the ASCP members. A new educational series is scheduled to launch in the spring semester of 2016. The Health Educational Sessions will provide the elderly in nursing homes helpful information about their health and how they can better it. ASCP also tries to reach out to the community and show support. For example, the ASCP members have participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The student chapter of American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) tries to make an impact in the school as well as in the community.

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) is a growing chapter at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy. ASCP welcomes any student pharmacist that would like to make an impact in the lives of the elderly’s health care quality and wants to improve his/her leadership and communication skills. There is a $20.00 local feel to become an ASCP member. Currently, there is no national fee. As a member of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), one is expected to attend the monthly meetings held at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy and participate in the events hosted by ASCP. The benefits of being an ASCP member include: online version of The Consultant Pharmacist journal, member discounts to ASCP’s online store and member discounts to ASCP meetings.1 ASCP is a great organization for those who would like to explore a different aspect of pharmacy, make an influence in the lives of others, and work together with fellow student pharmacists.

Contributed by: Glorisel Cruz (ASCP Parliamentarian, class of 2018) and Marina Farid (ASCP Historian, class of 2018)

UC Pharmacy Student Advocates for Childhood Immunizations Worldwide

Around the world, a child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable disease.

shot at life As the SNPhA Operation Immunization Chair, I was introduced to the Shot@Life campaign founded by the United Nations Foundation. It aimed at increasing the awareness for the use of polio, pneumonia, rotavirus, and measles vaccines in children less than 5 years in developing countries. After conducting a fundraiser here at UCSOP in November 2015, I was able to join the 2016 Shot@Life Summit in Washington, D.C. from February 29th to March 2nd. This was a great honor for me to be part of such a great cause.

Christelle Nagatchou, Class of 2018 with Senator Joe Machin and SNPhA in Washington, D.C.

In D.C., I learned even more about the need for vaccines worldwide and became an advocate for the campaign. I had the privilege to support it through enforcing my role as a future pharmacist and health care provider at the Capitol by meeting with West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s staff and Senator Joe Manchin and his staff. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything as it taught me so much about advocating in what we believe in. I strongly encourage all future pharmacists to be involved in promoting the advancement of our profession!

You can learn more about Shot@Life at: http://www.shotatlife.org/

Contributed by: Christelle Ngatchou, Class of 2018

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.