AACP, NCPA announce Innovative Medication Adherence Educators Challenge winners


ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and the National Community Pharmacists Association announced the winners of a competition designed to highlight the best practices in medication adherence teaching among the nation's 127 colleges and schools of pharmacy.

The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy were all named winners of the competition, which was launched this year. A total of 37 entries from 26 colleges and schools of pharmacy were received and judged on criteria that included the impact, scalability and innovation of the tool, as well as the tool's application in an interprofessional learning environment, AACP and NCPA said. Each winning school received a $1,000 award and all entries will be compiled to create an adherence educators toolbox that will be available on the AACP and NCPA websites, AACP and NCPA said.

"With increasing importance being placed on the issue of medication adherence, it is very encouraging to see that tomorrow’s pharmacists have the opportunity to experience these innovative teaching strategies," NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey said. "We look forward to working with AACP and continuing to showcase these and other innovative adherence teaching tools as a way to elevate the role of the pharmacist as an expert team member who can effectively identify and resolve medication issues."

The schools were recognized for the following programs:

  • The University of Arizona's entry, submitted by Richard Herrier and Jeannie Lee, featured a didactic adherence course for second-year student pharmacists. The required course combines 20% lecture and 80% practice, and covers a variety of adherence-related topics, including theoretical foundations of medication adherence, assessment of risk factors, behavioral techniques and use of adherence aids. Lectures are followed by small group exercises and other activities to allow students to practice and apply skills and principles learned in lecture;

  • The University of Maryland's submission from Amy Ives, featured an adherence-related lab activity in which students are given case studies and hands-on learning activities to experience real-world barriers to patient medication adherence. Students are asked to wear lab goggles obstructed with stickers in order to simulate a patient with vision problems. Similarly, students are asked to wear work gloves while filling a pill organizer in order to experience the dexterity challenges of a patient with arthritis; and

  • The Ohio State University's entry, submitted by Katherine Kelley, featured an interdisciplinary adherence learning activity that involves the colleges of pharmacy and medicine, with future plans to expand the program to the College of Nursing. The activity, which involves first-, second-, and third-year student pharmacists, as well as second-year medical students, requires the students to adhere to a complex placebo medication regimen over a five-day period. First-year student pharmacists work to fill and label more than 1,600 prescriptions. The medications are dispensed by third-year student pharmacists to second-year pharmacy and medical students, who are counseled on their medications and asked to record their adherence and observations in a medication log.

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