The Historical Sketch and Philanthropic Efforts of Phi Delta Chi

Contributed by: Domonique Dobson, Worthy Master of Arms, Class of 2018 and Michael Okegubwu, Phi Delta Chi Brother, Class of 2019

Phi Chi, the first professional fraternity of pharmacy, was founded on November 2, 1883 at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy. Eleven men founded the fraternity along with the group’s advisor, Dean of Pharmacy Albert B. Prescott. According to the National Office’s records, “Both students and faculty recognized that such an organization would bring students of pharmacy together for the discussion of scientific questions pertaining to pharmacy and its sister sciences”. The pharmacy organization has since grown into the name Phi Delta Chi and has created 98 chapters nationwide. The chapters work with the Executive Council and Regional Officers each year to plan national meetings. The two annual meetings include Grand Council and the Leader-Development Seminar. Grand Council meets every other year on the odd year to conduct business. The Leader-Development Seminar meets every other year on the even year to help brothers develop life-long leadership skills. Although the brothers show great pride for the fraternity by planning and participating in meetings and events, they spend even more time and energy supporting their philanthropy, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Plaque and thank-you note from St. Jude's Children Research Hospital thanking Phi Delta Chi for their support.

Plaque and thank-you note from St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital thanking Phi Delta Chi for their support.

The Brothers of Phi Delta Chi began raising funds for St. Jude in 1995. In August 2007, the Fraternity pledged to raise $200,000 over 4 years. However, Phi Delta Chi surpassed this goal within 2 years with a letter-writing campaign called The Prescription for Hope. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital named their outpatient pharmacy to thank Phi Delta Chi for the support. The Executive Council and Regional Officers accepted brothers’ interest at that year’s annual Grand Council meeting and pledged a new goal of $1 million over 10 years. Phi Delta Chi successfully reached their goal this fall! St. Jude agreed to name an adjoining patient/parent room in honor of the Fraternity’s new donation. Adjoining parent rooms allow parents and patients to have privacy and comfort while staying at the hospital.

The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy’s Phi Delta Chi chapter, Gamma Chi, hosted a Yankee Candle fundraiser for St. Jude in October. The Worthy Keeper of Finance (treasurer) Jasiris Bocchecaimp (Class of 2019) worked diligently to organize and advertise the sale. The Gamma Chi chapter was able to raise $544.20 to further support our philanthropy. This total was only 40 percent of the total revenue from Yankee Candle purchases during the fundraiser.

Phi Delta Chi’s continued efforts to help local communities, like Charleston, as well as the nation, aids in spreading the word about pharmacy initiatives like Script Your Future, American Pharmacists’ Month, and general advocacy for the profession. Brothers create awareness of pharmacy by continually expanding our efforts to help individuals and families in need through St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Phi Delta Chi members and advisors outside of UCSOP

Phi Delta Chi members and advisors outside of UCSOP

The newest members of the Phi Delta Chi Organization

The newest members of the Phi Delta Chi Organization

Reference: http://www.phideltachi.org/?page=HistoryofPDC

Script Your Future – Understanding OTC Medications

Script Your Future

Non-prescription (a.k.a. over-the-counter or OTC) medicines have become increasingly popular among Americans in recent years. In the past, OTC medications have been viewed as home remedies to treat aches, pains, and itching. What many people do not consider, however, is their ability to treat and even cure a variety of conditions. Some OTC products can prevent diseases like tooth decay, and even cure diseases like athlete’s foot. Along with a doctor and/or pharmacist’s guidance, some OTC products can be used to manage recurring conditions like yeast infections, migraines, and arthritis pain. It is important to fully discuss your plans on using OTC products with your doctor before trying a product on your own!

When a product is available to be purchased without doctor’s prescription, there are certain precautions you must take before selecting a product to fit your needs. As a whole, people are living longer, working longer, and becoming more active in their own healthcare, which means more people are becoming informed about the best self-care practices, including OTC use. The best way to ensure that you are purchasing a safe and effective product, is to read and understand the information on the OTC product label. Common terms found on OTC labels are defined below:

  • Active Ingredient(s) – the substance in the product which provides its therapeutic action
  • Inactive Ingredient(s) – substances like flavorings, binders, and colorings
  • Warnings – possible side effects; when not to use the product;  when to stop taking it; when to see a doctor
  • Purpose – the general category of the product (i.e. antacid, antihistamine, etc.)
  • Uses – the symptoms or disease the product is intended to treat/prevent
  • Directions – how to use the medication; what dose to take; how frequently to take it; and duration of treatment course

When it comes to medications, more does not always mean better. You should never misuse OTC medications by taking them longer or in higher doses than the label recommends. If you have any questions regarding how to use a product or how to read the label, do not hesitate to ask your pharmacist for help. If the symptoms you are trying to treat persist despite treatment, that is a clear signal to go see your doctor right away!

References: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/UnderstandingOver-the-CounterMedicines/Choosingtherightover-the-countermedicineOTCs/UCM150312.pdf

Script Your Future Goes Red at Macy’s

Script Your FutureOn February 3rd, UCSOP students and faculty members held a community outreach event by the local Macy’s store in the Charleston Town Center Mall. This event served as an opportunity for our students and faculty to educate the public about medication adherence and cardiovascular health while promoting Script Your Future and the Go Red For Women Campaign.

SNPhA and ACCP spear-headed this event along with numerous other student volunteers to reach out to the Charleston community. Posters about cardiovascular health, risk factors for heart disease, knowing the signs of a stroke, and smoking cessation were all made available to the public. Our students were available to provide education, resources, and answer questions about these materials as well. Students also provided free blood pressure screenings and raffles to those who stopped by the booths! Overall, this event was a huge success and a fun way for our students to engage our local community in taking the right steps to heart-healthy living.

UCSOP students and faculty at the Charleston Town Center Mall Macy's hosting a Script Your Future event

UCSOP students and faculty at the Charleston Town Center Mall Macy’s hosting a Script Your Future event

Dr. Kristy Lucas, Ms. Jane Condee, and Ms. Barbara Smith

 

 

Script Your Future – The Importance of Cholesterol Medications

Script Your FutureCholesterol is a type of fat that is naturally made in our bodies and can be found in various foods. The problem with cholesterol arises when we have too much of it in our blood vessels, causing a plaque to form. This plaque can impede blood flow to the heart leading to a heart attack or stroke. When a person has high cholesterol, whether its elevated LDL, elevated triglycerides, or low HDL, they are often completely unaware of it. High cholesterol often presents without any symptoms, and can be left unnoticed for many years. Fortunately, a simple blood test can determine what your cholesterol level is.

If your doctor tells you that you have high cholesterol, there are a few things you can do to manage this condition. Lifestyle modifications like increasing exercise to at least 30 minutes/day and eating a heart-healthy diet are great ways to get your cholesterol back at goal (total cholesterol <200). If this does not work, however, there are medications you can take to lower your cholesterol. The most popular class of cholesterol medications are referred to as “statins” (i.e. pravastatin, atorvastatin, rosuvastatin, simvastatin, etc.). These medications have proven to be effective in managing cholesterol levels and are used by many patients. Other common cholesterol-lowering drugs include bile acid sequestrants, niacin, fibrates, and omega-3-fatty acids. Although these medication classes work in slightly different ways, they all lower blood cholesterol to some degree.

The problem with these medications is that many people do not “feel” like they are making a difference in their health. This can cause patients to stop taking their cholesterol medications as they are prescribed, or stop taking them all together. It is important for all patients to be educated about how important cholesterol medications are to their health. Even though you may not physically feel any different from taking cholesterol medicine, it could very well be saving your life by preventing plaques from building up in your vessels and causing a heart attack. It is so important to take these medications as directed by your physician, especially for patients with other chronic health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. So take the pledge to take your cholesterol medicine today at http://www.ucwv.edu/pharmacy!

For more information about cholesterol medications visit http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ForConsumers/ByAudience/ForWomen/FreePublications/UCM179918.pdf

Provider Status and Pharmacists: What’s the Connection?

Healthcare delivery in the United States and around the world faces various challenges including increased cost, improving quality, and reduced access. More people have the benefit to receive care and live healthy lives, however, there is a shortage in the number of healthcare professionals available to provide their care. By 2025 there is a projected fall in the availability in the number of physicians in the United States based on the huge gap in the supply and demand in this field. Costs are rising because the few available physicians must work more to accommodate all patients. This creates a unique opportunity for pharmacists to provide care to patients, especially if they receive official national recognition as healthcare providers and given the right to expand the services allowed under their scope of practice.

Per the Department of Health and Human Services, it is projected that there will be about 368,000 active pharmacists in the United States by 2030. By then, the general population will increase in number as well, making the need for healthcare professionals rise even further. Pharmacists are among the most trusted healthcare professionals due to their availability and personal relationships with their patients. However, in the Social Security Act, pharmacists are not formally recognized as healthcare providers. Even though they work in a wide-reaching field ranging from clinical specialties, to community/retail pharmacies, geriatrics, ambulatory care, and industry and research, they have not been given the privilege to be fully accepted as providers, and thus, cannot bill Medicare Part B for their services. This is the reason why all pharmacists must support and advocate for the provider status movement which was initiated in March March 2014.

Another reason why pharmacists should be recognized as providers is their status as health care professionals with extensive, thorough, and specific knowledge about drugs. Pharmacists have increased availability to patients, especially those in rural/underserved areas, and often work extended hours. A patient can walk into a community pharmacy at any time of the day to ask questions regarding any health concerns, medications being taken, or anything pertaining to their health and have a trained professional there to assist them. This means that, at some levels, pharmacists spend more time with their patients than physicians. Pharmacists often see the same patients come to the store everyday just to have conversations, which allows them to become more familiar with the patients and develop personal relationships with them. These relationships create trust between both sides and trust happens to be to the number one value that health care professionals need for their patients to believe that they are receiving the best care possible. Physicians have limited time to spend with their patients, and their encounters are very limited, which is why developing personal relationships and higher levels of trust with their patients is more difficult than that of pharmacists.

It’s easy to see how pharmacists play an important role in providing efficient and high-quality patient care. Pharmacists have vast knowledge regarding drugs, and are valuable for drug therapy management. With the introduction of Point Of Care Testing (POCT), most pharmacists have the ability to provide primary basic care to patients even when visiting local community pharmacies. Therefore, it is necessary for pharmacists to be formally recognized as providers so they can reach their full potential as professionals and help more patients receive the adequate health care they deserve.

Contributed by Koffi Amegadje, NCPA Community Outreach Chair, Class of 2020

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.

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!

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!

Protecting Yourself From HPV: Know the Facts

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a very common virus, that affects nearly one in four adults in the United States. While most strains of the virus are harmless, or cause only benign warts, there are up to 30 strains of HPV that can cause cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women worldwide. It is a unique type of cancer, because nearly all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. However, the good news is that there is a vaccine for the most dangerous strains of HPV known to cause cancer. This makes the HPV vaccine one of the only vaccines to-date known to prevent cancer.

In 2006, Dr Ian Frazer of Australia created the first HPV vaccine, which protected against the four most dangerous strains of the virus. The vaccine, called Gardisil, has since become an outstanding success in many parts of the world. In Australia, where the vaccine was first released, vaccination rates are close to 80%, and doctors have seen a 77% reduction in the HPV infections that often lead to cervical cancer. While the United States has a lower vaccination rate at only 54%, there has still been a 56% decline in rates of infection with HPV in the last decade. The potential to decrease cervical cancer rates in the future still remains to be seen, but these results are encouraging and already show the positive effects of the vaccine.

HPV is usually spread through sexual contact. The primary age groups recommended for vaccination are
those 9 to 13 years old, although it can be given to young adults up to 26 years of age. It is best to begin the vaccine series as early as possible, because it is given in 3 separate doses which are spread over 6-12 months. While prevention of cervical cancer is the largest benefit from the vaccine, boys are also recommended to receive the vaccine in order to help prevent spread of the virus. The HPV vaccine can also minimize the risk of other cancers including mouth, throat, and penile cancers, along with the prevention of genital warts.

In order to increase vaccination rates and reduce HPV rates in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that primary care providers continue to recommend the vaccine and educate the public regarding its potential benefits. This includes reducing stigma related to the vaccine and making the vaccine more readily available in clinics and physician’s offices. An expansion of the HPV vaccine into pharmacies could also increase availability of the vaccine. Pharmacists are also in the best position, as the front line of healthcare providers, to reach the public with vaccine information and awareness about HPV. The evidence for the vaccine’s effectiveness against HPV so far is impressive. It is estimated that, with increased awareness and vaccination programs, the United States could see a reduction in up to 90% of cases of cervical cancer within the next 10-20 years. Therefore, as pharmacists, we are in an optimal position to spread awareness about the HPV vaccine and help to continue the fight against cervical cancer.

Contributed by Kathryn Howerton, Class of 2019

References and Additional Information

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/cancer.htmlhttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1872115X08000054
  2. http://www.hpvvaccine.org.au/the-hpv-vaccine/has-the-program-been-successful.aspx
  3. http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/22/health/hpv-vaccine-teen-girls-effective
  4. http://circleofdocs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/gardasil-injection-1068×641

Tips & Tricks for Applying for Residencies

Contributed By: Katie Oliver, Class of 2017, Phi Lambda Sigma Secretary

As a fourth-year student approaching the end of my time in pharmacy school, it finally feels like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! All of my time with didactic classwork and clinical rotations is quickly coming to a close. With that being said, there is still one thing hanging over my head – applications for PGY1 residency.

PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residencies are optional additional training after graduation with your Pharm.D degree. These programs provide recently graduated pharmacists with an opportunity to finely tune their clinical skills in real world practice. While you are able to practice independently as a pharmacist, you remain under the supervision of other pharmacists who are there to provide advice, constructive criticism, and clinical experience. It is estimated that completing one year of residency will provide you with clinical knowledge equivalent to 3 years of clinical practice.

If you feel that completing a PGY1 residency may be in your future, I wanted to provide some helpful tips and tricks, as well as some information I wish I would have known prior to applying:

  • Applications for PGY1 residencies exist almost exclusively on two online portals; PhORCAS and The Match
  • PhORCAS
    • Almost identical to PharmCAS. This is where you will upload your transcripts, letters of recommendation, letters of intent, CV, pharmacy schools attended, etc.
    • You will pay to submit your applications here, as well. PhORCAS costs $100. This price includes submitting applications to four programs. Every program you apply to beyond this costs an additional $40.
    • Fill out the online PhORCAS application fully. Do not rely solely on your CV to speak to your abilities and experience. Fill out every section of the PhORCAS application to the best of your ability.
  • Letters of Recommendation
    • Try to get references from individuals who have seen you practice clinically (e.g. preceptors) and who practice in similar settings to the type of programs you are applying to. (e.g. if you are applying to a program with an emphasis in infectious disease, try to get a letter of recommendation from a pharmacist who practices in this area).
    • Ask individuals if they would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation before you enter their information into PhORCAS. Once you enter their information it automatically generates and sends them an e-mail.
    • Letters of recommendation aren’t truly “letters” in PhORCAS. When PhORCAS sends the e-mail to the individual writing on your behalf, it is instead multiple short answers they answer in PhORCAS.
  • Letters of Intents
    • Individualize these to each program. Do not just speak about why you want to do a residency, but why you want to complete residency at their facility. Speak about what draws you to their program and why you feel you would benefit from it. Also, why would they benefit as taking you as a resident?
    • Make sure you format correctly! There are plenty of examples of PGY1 Letters of Intent on the internet.
  • Transcripts
    • Provide yourself plenty of time! PhORCAS will generate a document with you to print directly from their website that contains a barcode specific to you. You must then request your transcript from the university and have both of these documents mailed together. I would suggest starting this process several weeks prior to your applications being due.
    • Some programs require supplemental materials. Examples could include class rank, a photograph, undergraduate transcripts, etc. Pay attention to this!
  • The Match
    • This is where you submit your rank order list after you have completed your interviews. It is a separate website from PhORCAS. This is also where programs submit their rank order list of applicants.
    • The Match costs $150.
    • There are multiple phases of the match process. “Phase 1” and “Phase 2”. If you do not match with a program in Phase 1, you move on to Phase 2 for a second chance to match with programs who still have resident spots remaining. There is no additional cost for this.
    • If you do not match with a program in Phase 2, there is an opportunity to move on to the scramble process. This is provides a third opportunity to match with programs who still have residents spots remaining (it is completed in a much shorter time frame).

Applying for residencies is a stressful and difficult process, but definitely worth it in the end. If you are a current UCSOP student and have any questions about the application process, the faculty and staff at UC are more than willing to help!