For helping patients in Erie and in Bradenton, Fla., understand why they should take medications as prescribed, LECOM students received the National Team Award and were just one of two pharmacy schools nationally to earn that honor this year. The competition involved nearly 50 schools of pharmacy and other health professions.
In addition, LECOM won the Creative Inter-professional Team Event Award for promotions that fostered collaboration between pharmacy students and dentaland medical students. The award also recognizes the schools and colleges of pharmacy that were most effective in raising awareness of the importance of medication adherence, defined as taking medications as prescribed, and promoting adherence in an “original or inventive way.” The NCL noted that LECOM students, as part of their outreach,spoke to localnursing students about adherence and how to use interventions to increase communication with patients.
For both awards, the LECOM School of Pharmacy will receive funds to be used for future community outreach related to medication adherence. In the three years of the competition, LECOM now has won two national awards and an honorable mention award.
Non-adherence has become a critical health-care issue in the United States: nearly three out of four Americans don’t take their medications as directed for a number of reasons, including inability to get to a pharmacy, forgetfulness, desire to save money, attitudes and cultural beliefs, and underestimating or not fully understanding the consequences of failing to take medications as prescribed.
“Regardless of the reason, these numbers are staggering and they are cause for concern,” said Justin Scholl, Pharm.D., Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice. “As a School of Pharmacy, we believe that educational outreach, including Script Your Future and numerous other programs, can and will help people improve their health and well-being.”
The students chose “Ensuring a healthy life through medication adherence” as the theme of LECOM’s campaign. Students in Erie and in Bradenton contributed more than 900 volunteer hours at nearly 50 educational events that were open to the general public. They also distributed information and materials on medication adherence, including pill boxes and reminder cards, to more than 3,000 people. In addition, a public service announcement created by students, faculty, and the LECOM office of Communications & Marketing was heard more than 953,000 times.
“Our Script Your Future campaign was focused on educating people of all ages, and particularly those with chronic conditions, about the potentially serious consequences of non-adherence,” said Ashley Ramp, a second-year Doctor of Pharmacy student at LECOM’s Erie campus and the Class of 2015 of Student Government Association President. “I’m proud of how hard we worked and I’m grateful for the tremendous support of LECOM’s medical and dental students. Their participation in our events helped make these awards possible.”
LECOM’s pharmacy, medical, and dental students at LECOM’s campuses promoted medication adherence at numerous events. They included:
•The Rx Runners Club and medical students met with members of the LECOM Medical Fitness and Wellness Center to emphasize the importance of exercise and medication adherence for individuals with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or asthma.
• Members of LECOM’s American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists’ (APhA-ASP’s) Operation Self-Care gave presentations at senior living communities in Erie. Older adults were given pill boxes and informational handouts.
• Students gave a presentation on medication adherence and asthma, including what asthma is and how to prevent asthma attacks, to children at the Quality of Life Learning Center.
• LECOM’s chapter of the International Pharmaceutical Student Federation (IPSF) collaborated with APhA-ASP and students from the International Medical Society for a presentation on medication adherence and diabetes. The students spoke to local refugees because many have a limited understanding of medication adherence and related issues.
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