NCPA Innovation Center announces mental health first aid training scholarship winners

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The NCPA Innovation Center today announced three mental health first aid training scholarships winners.

Clark Bishop, PharmD, co-owner of Hutton Pharmacy in Blackwell, Okla.; Talia Puzantian, PharmD, BCPP, associate professor at the Keck Graduate Institute School of Pharmacy in Claremont, Calif.; and Thomas Smith, PharmD, BCPP, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Manchester University in Fort Wayne, Ind., were awarded the scholarships as part of a larger NCPA Innovation Center grant from the Community Pharmacy Foundation. Bishop, Puzantian and Smith will complete the weeklong instructor training this fall and commit to training community pharmacists and their teams in mental health first aid.

“The NCPA Innovation Center is dedicated to helping accelerate the community pharmacist’s role in the healthcare team and their training in mental health first aid is a great example of this trend,” said NCPA Innovation Center board member Tripp Logan, PharmD, co-owner of L&S Pharmacy in Charleston, Mo. “I recently sent two of my pharmacists and four technicians to mental health first aid training and was impressed with their reactions, especially those of the technicians. The training will be even more effective for pharmacy teams when taught by pharmacists using pharmacy-specific cases.”

The eight-hour live education program teaches attendees how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. As pharmacy team members are often on the front line of patient care, they interact with patients who face these disorders on a regular basis, but may be underprepared to effectively care for them. Utilizing case examples and role play, the training session emphasizes how pharmacists can apply what they learn to real-life scenarios.

A second component of the CPF project provided funding to develop pharmacy-specific cases for the training. These cases will be used during the program led by these scholarship award winners as well as any other certified mental health first aid instructor.