AACP, NCPA Announce Winners of Adherence Educators Challenge

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The University of Arizona, University of Maryland, and The Ohio State University
Receive Top Honors for Innovations in Adherence Teaching

Alexandria, VA (May 15, 2012) – The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) announced the three winners of the first Innovative Medication Adherence Educators Challenge, a competition designed to highlight the best practices in medication adherence teaching among the nation's 127 colleges and schools of pharmacy. The winners include: The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, and The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy.

"Highlighting the many ways our faculty approach teaching future pharmacists about their role in improving patient adherence stimulates other faculty to enrich this critically important element of the PharmD curriculum," said AACP Executive Vice President and CEO Lucinda L. Maine, PhD, RPh. "Adherence education is pertinent in didactic, laboratory and experiential learning."

The challenge is the first of its kind to recognize the teaching strategies currently being utilized or developed to prepare student pharmacists to detect, monitor, and improve patient medication adherence in pharmacy practice. In total, 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.

"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," said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. "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 University of Arizona's entry, submitted by Richard Herrier, PharmD, FAPhA, and Jeannie Lee, PharmD, BCPS, featured a didactic adherence course for second-year student pharmacists. The required course combines 20 percent lecture and 80 percent 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.

"It is a distinct honor for our two colleagues, Drs. Richard Herrier and Jeannie Lee, and the college to be recognized for dedication to medication adherence education," said John E. Murphy, PharmD, acting dean of The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. "The work by these two outstanding members of the faculty leads to well-trained student pharmacists. As one of the faculty who tests our students in various cases throughout their matriculation, I am routinely impressed by the students' preparation with regard to both assessing and promoting adherence. We would all like to thank AACP and NCPA for this important recognition."

The University of Maryland's submission from Amy Ives, PharmD, BCPS, 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.

"We are proud that Dr. Ives has been selected as an Innovative Medication Adherence Educators Challenge winner for her efforts in educating our student pharmacists on working with patients who have physical barriers that might prevent them from taking their medication properly," said Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP, professor and dean of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. "Her innovative approach to enhancing adherence for patients with disabilities is a prime example of how the School of Pharmacy educates its students to meet the needs of the patients they will serve in real-world settings."

The Ohio State University's entry, submitted by Katherine Kelley, PhD, 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.

"We are excited to be recognized in the AACP/NCPA Innovative Medication Adherence Educators Challenge. Our team of innovative faculty has developed an interprofessional educational activity on medication adherence that involves students and faculty in the College of Pharmacy and the College of Medicine at Ohio State," said Robert Brueggemeier, PhD, dean of The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy. "Among the many positive outcomes, the most important lessons learned are the reality of adherence to a complex 'medication' regimen and the opportunity for student pharmacists to demonstrate to medical student colleagues the role of pharmacy in patient adherence."

The entries from the three winning schools will be presented at a half-day NCPA Medication Adherence Educators Symposium on July 18, 2012, in Kissimmee, Fla., held in conjunction with AACP's Annual Meeting. The event will give educators the opportunity to experience these and other best practices currently being used to teach medication adherence.

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 Web sites.

More information about the NCPA Medication Adherence Educators Symposium is available by sending an e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Founded in 1900, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) is a national organization representing the interests of pharmacy education and educators. Comprising 127 accredited colleges and schools of pharmacy with more than 6,400 faculty and 60,000 students, AACP is committed to excellence in pharmacy education. Visit www.aacp.org to learn more and stay connected with the Association on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent a $93 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 315,000 people, including 62,400 pharmacists. Independent community pharmacists are readily accessible medication experts who can help lower health care spending. They are committed to maximizing the appropriate use of lower-cost generic drugs and reducing the estimated $290 billion that is wasted annually by improper medication use. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.

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