Clinical Care posts displayed by category


Is Your Drinking Getting out of Control?

A clinical trial is being conducted on an investigational medication for the treatment of heavy drinking. This study is open to men and women ages 18 and older and of European ancestry. Participation is confidential and you will be compensated for your time and effort. Transportation can be provided.

University of Maryland, School of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry
Clinical Neurobehavioral Center
5900 Waterloo Rd.
Columbia, MD

Olga KolesnikBulletin Board, Clinical Care, Education, People, ResearchApril 27, 20170 comments
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Opoid Overdose Training

Empowering Students to End the Cycle of Addiction

There is no question that the opioid crisis in Maryland has reached epidemic proportions. In the first three quarters of 2016, the state reported 1,468 unintentional deaths caused by substance abuse, with a majority of the fatalities attributed to heroin and fentanyl. In the same period, there were approximately 500 deaths reported in Baltimore City alone, an increase from approximately 300 the previous year. With overdose numbers this staggering, individuals working in public health and clinical health care have started to wonder what more can they do to address this problem.

Through the Emerging Leaders program, I met an individual from the School of Nursing who invited me to join the planning committee for the Baltimore Area Health Education Center’s (BAHEC) Interdisciplinary Training on Opioid Overdose. We organized an event called “Empowering Students to End the Cycle of Addiction,” which took place on April 8, 2017. Students, staff, and faculty, representing the Graduate School and the Schools of Law, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Social Work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), came together to learn about the opioid epidemic in Baltimore City and to discuss their professional and personal roles in reducing opioid overdoses. Attendees also left the training certified to administer naloxone – a lifesaving drug that can reverse opioid overdoses.

Preparing Students to Save Lives

The day began with an eye-opening presentation from David Richard Fowler, MD, chief medical examiner for the state of Maryland, in which he presented data on the number of overdose deaths. He discussed the implications that this public health crisis is having on his office, noting that the increase in fatalities has caused a huge strain on his office’s human resources.

Next, Miriam Alvarez, the opioid education and naloxone distribution (OEND) outreach program coordinator at Behavioral Health Systems Baltimore, provided an inspired naloxone training. She engaged the audience by asking questions about their knowledge of opioids and their ability to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose. She stressed that while opioid misuse was once considered a low income, inner-city problem, it affects individuals from all walks of life, and we should all be prepared to respond in the event that we witness an overdose.

Representing the School of Pharmacy, Fadia Shaya, PhD, MPH, professor and vice chair for academic affairs in the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) and director of the Behavioral Health Research Team, discussed the pharmacist’s role in preventing opioid overdose. She spoke about Maryland’s naloxone standing order, which allows registered pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a prescription and discussed different measures that pharmacists and pharmacies can take to ensure that they are actively involved in preventing opioid misuse, including an explanation of the risks of prescription opioids with patients and querying the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) before filling a prescription. Shaya closed her presentation by mentioning a variety of public health prevention programs on which her team works related to this issue.

Making the Discussion Hit Home

Following the presentations, faculty from the medical, dental, and social work schools presented students with a case study that profiled a young man who began misusing prescription opioids following a sports injury, and subsequently developed a dependency on heroin. Faculty encouraged students to identify areas of health care intervention, which sparked a lively discussion among attendees. The event closed with Mellissa Sager, JD, staff attorney at the School of Law, presenting an overview of the Good Samaritan Law and an update from a Baltimore City Health Department representative, who described the city’s response to the opioid overdose epidemic.

This training proved to be a huge success, with more than 55 students attending the Saturday morning training to take action on this important issue. Considering the interest in this event and the urgency of this public health epidemic, the BAHEC plans to host another training in the fall. Everyone at UMB has a role to play in reducing opioid overdoses, and this event provided an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to become more empowered to do so.

Marianne Gibson Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB News, University Life, USGAApril 24, 20170 comments
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Lunch and Learn Flow Cytometry

The UMGCCC Lunch and Learn Lecture Series

On May 11, the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC) Flow Cytometry Lunch and Learn Lecture Series with Transnational Laboratory Shared Services will present “Advanced imaging cytometry for high throughput cell, colony, and spheroids analysis.”

The UMGCCC Lunch and Learn Lecture Series is a great way to network, learn about new technologies and/or procedures, and make possible collaborations. The event is free. Registration required.


Karen Underwood Clinical Care, Collaboration, Education, Research, TechnologyApril 19, 20170 comments
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Health Information Resources for Culturally Diverse Patients

Between 1990 and 2013, the U.S. population identified as having limited English proficiency grew 80 percent, from nearly 14 million to 25.1 million. Cultural diversity within the U.S. continues to increase.

If you provide care for patients or clients with limited English proficiency, do you know the library provides access to a range of quality multilingual, multicultural health information resources? If you’d like to know more about these resources, come to our Health Information Resources for Culturally Diverse Patients workshop.

Learn where to locate patient education resources, including medication information, available in other languages as well as those written in easy-to-read English.

Discussion will include the potential impact utilizing health literacy resources can have on patient adherence, safety, and satisfaction. Visit the Library’s Spring 2017 Workshop Schedule to register.

Everly Brown Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, PeopleApril 11, 20170 comments
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President's Message April

April President’s Message

Check out the April issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on the Neighborhood Spring Festival, a story on the generous gift of Drs. Richard and Jane Sherman, an invitation to Dr. Perman’s State of the University Address on May 10, a recap of Frank Bruni’s and Goldie Blumenstyk’s lectures, part of our President’s Panel on Politics and Policy, a look ahead to the next lecture in that series, Matt Hourihan on the federal budget on May 2, a story on our CURE Scholars, who advanced in the Maryland Science Olympiad, a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements, and a safety tip on not texting and driving.

Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAApril 10, 20170 comments
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HIV Vaccine Trial

Healthy Volunteer Research Opportunity

Institute of Human Virology Vaccine Research Trial

This is a Phase 1 clinical trial designed to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of a HIV vaccine called FLSC (full-length single chain) in healthy volunteers without HIV infection. This novel vaccine was developed by investigators at the Institute of Human Virology as a potential future strategy to help prevent HIV infection.

Volunteers must be healthy, between 18-45 years of age, HIV negative, and have never previously participated in an HIV or DNA vaccine trial. Compensation given for travel and expenses.

If you are interested in learning more about this program, please contact Joyce Lam 410-706-3367.

Institute of Human Virology
Clinical Research Unit
725 W. Lombard St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Amy Nelson Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Education, Global & Community Engagement, ResearchApril 3, 20170 comments
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Research Data Management

HS/HSL Services in Research Data Management

The HS/HSL is debuting new services in research data management.

Consult with a member of the HS/HSL team for assistance with:

  • Developing a data management plan
  • Locating, describing, storing, and sharing data

Many funding agencies are requiring that data management plans be submitted with grant applications. An effective plan to collect, share, reproduce, and preserve data may increase the impact of your research.

The HS/HSL also offers workshops in data management including Data Management 101 and Creating a Data Management Plan with the DMP Tool.

Everly Brown Clinical Care, Collaboration, Education, People, Research, TechnologyApril 3, 20170 comments
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Employee of the Month

SON’s Voytek Named Employee of the Month

Donors feel appreciated, nursing students feel hydrated, visitors to the Living History Museum feel nostalgic, and colleagues feel like chirping — all thanks to the efforts of Lorrie Voytek.

Voytek, assistant director of development at the School of Nursing, was surprised on March 20 when what she thought was a group picture at the President’s Office with her development colleagues Laurette Hankins, Stacey Conrad, and Cynthia Sikorski turned into an Employee of the Month celebration for her.

UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, mentioned Voytek’s work at the museum and on sustainability with GreenSON. “I also know getting back to donors is a point of emphasis with you,” he said. “And making sure that the students who benefit from the donors get to meet them and vice versa. I always tell a story about a donor at Northwestern University [Louise Ploner] who enabled me to go to medical school. I’m forever grateful to her, of course. But I never got to meet her. I never got to say thank you. So I particularly understand the importance of doing that, and I’m grateful you do, too.”

As UMB’s March Employee of the Month, Voytek received a plaque and an extra $250 in her next paycheck. Asked about the award later, she shared the plaudits with the development team (“Cynthia, Stacey and Laurette – that is our team”) and explained why she thought the group picture ruse was totally legit.

“We had 81 endowments that were created when the UMB Foundation offered a 50 percent match, which was the most of any of the UMB schools,” Voytek said. “So I thought the president wanted to thank us for that. I remember thinking ‘why isn’t Dean [Jane] Kirschling here?’ Because she is such an integral part of our success. She hand-writes thank you letters, which I think has made a tremendous impression.”

Voytek also is known for going above and beyond. Before the interview the quasi curator gave a tour of SON’s Living History Museum on the second floor just above the main security desk. The state’s only museum dedicated to nursing, it chronicles the continuing story of the profession.

Voytek, who manages the museum docents and gives tours herself, pointed out the wall of history on the left, education in the back, and research on the right. A 1928 “Flossie cap” is on display that was designed from a pattern given the school by Florence Nightingale, Voytek pointed out, adding how they were starched and fluted. “The new nurses like the antiquated instruments like the Texas Instruments calculator,” on the research wall, she added.

She shrugs off praise for her museum work, saying it falls into “other duties as assigned.” Yet that list has been growing in recent years after some cuts in the development staff. Hankins in her nomination said Voytek “has taken on approximately 50 percent of the duties of the other coordinator position, cheerfully becoming our ‘go to’ person for ordering supplies, paying invoices, reimbursing travel expenses, and helping with our many events.”

Voytek insists she’s just doing her part and is privileged to serve the students, staff, and “amazing” leadership at SON. Putting the students in touch with the donors brings her particular delight. “Most of the students are more than happy to do so and are so appreciative,” she said. “It gives you insight into a group of nurses who are going out into the workforce. I feel very comfortable and confident that we’re in good hands.”

One of the ways Voytek has repaid the students is her work with GreenSON, the School’s sustainability organization, which she co-chairs. It was formed soon after she came to the school 4 ½ years ago. With a degree in conservation and resource development, seven years on the conservation committee in her previous development job at the National Aquarium, and working with the Piney Run Nature Center before that as a stay-at-home mom, Voytek found GreenSON to be a natural fit.

“I shared with them a lot of things we were doing at the National Aquarium that we could be doing here. Slowly but surely we have accomplished several initiatives that we’re pleased with.”

The biggest one is the bottle-filling station on the first floor, so students and employees don’t have to bring bottled water. Filtered water has replaced “those big bottled jugs that would kill your back to lift.” Triple station trash cans are planned to separate trash, one for the landfill, one for cans and bottles, and one for paper. Periodic office swaps allow groups to share supplies, cutting costs and helping the environment.

Voytek, who gets off the Metro and sticks fliers in bikes to promote SON’s third annual free bike repair with Joe’s Bike Shop on April 19 to celebrate Earth Week in the School courtyard, admits conservation “has always been a focal point of my life. It’s important to the students, too. The students are asking for it so we should be providing it.”

So why do Lorrie’s SON colleagues “chirp” their praise of her? “I am a birder, I love to go bird-watching,” Voytek says with a wide smile. “They’re always giving me pictures of birds, bird books. We’ll be having lunch outside and I’ll say ‘did you hear that ovenbird?’ since I can identify birds by their sound. So they get a kick out of that and I appreciate that it makes them more aware of their environment.”

— Chris Zang

Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, UMB Go Green, UMB News, University LifeApril 3, 20170 comments
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Palliative Care Program

Pharmacy Launches New, Online Graduate Program in Palliative Care

To meet the growing need for interprofessional education in hospice and palliative care, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy has launched a new, online graduate program in palliative care. Directed by Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, MA, MDE, BCPS, CPE, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) and executive director for advanced post-graduate education in palliative care at the School, the online Master of Science (MS) and Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care program is an interprofessional program designed for all palliative care practitioners, including physicians, pharmacists, nurses and advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, therapists, psychologists and counselors, administrators, social workers, chaplains, thanatologists, and bereavement and volunteer specialists.

“In the field of palliative care, health care professionals practice as a team, so it makes perfect sense for the practitioners enrolled in our program to learn as a team,” says McPherson, an internationally recognized leader in the field. “One of the most important priorities for our program is fostering an interprofessional, team-based approach to caring for an incredibly vulnerable population – individuals and their families who are facing a serious illness. In fact, each course in our program is taught by two or more faculty members from different disciplines to better model interprofessional practice for our learners.”

An Interprofessional Approach to Care

The term palliative care refers to the specialized care often offered to patients and their families who are facing a serious illness. Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life for these individuals and their families through the prevention and relief of physical, psychosocial, and spiritual problems. Palliative care services are rapidly expanding in both hospitals and communities across the nation in response to the increasing number of individuals living with serious and chronic illnesses.

“We know that knowledgeable and well-trained palliative care clinicians can greatly improve the quality of life for patients and caregivers, as well as reduce the cost of care,” says Eduardo Bruera, MD, FAAHPM, chair of the Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and one of McPherson’s colleagues in the field. “At this time, there is an increased demand for palliative care clinicians, but an insufficient number of individuals with the proper training to meet this need. The MS and Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care program has been designed and developed by a world class leader in the field, and comes at the right time to fill this gap in patient care in the United States.”

Choose the Path That’s Right for You

Students who enroll in the MS and Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care program can choose to earn a graduate certificate in palliative care or complete the full program to receive the master’s degree. All learners must complete four required courses in the first two semesters. Each course is eight weeks long, and together culminate in the awarding of a Graduate Certificate in Principles and Practice of Hospice and Palliative Care. Upon completion of the certificate, students can choose to pursue the master’s degree offered through the program by completing an additional four elective courses, as well as two more required courses. The elective courses can be completed in a specific track, including clinical, administrative and leadership, psychosocial and spiritual, or thanatology.

“After an extensive search for a post-graduate palliative care program that offered both a flexible and learner-friendly approach to the field, I found the MS and Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care program and am confident that it will address all of my needs as a palliative care practitioner,” says Neive George, a chaplain with Community Hospital in Cocorite, Port of Spain, and one of the more than 20 members of the program’s inaugural class. “This program provides cutting-edge, interprofessional instruction through a rich, patient-centered academic experience. Its comprehensive curriculum is well-rounded and puts the patient’s humanity and dignity first.”

“Throughout my two-decade career as a registered nurse, I have learned that patients’ palliative care needs far exceed the relief of physical symptoms, and often encompass emotional and legal issues, issues of faith and relationships, and grieving and mourning,” adds student Jason Ware, RN, physician relations manager at Montgomery Hospice. “I enrolled in the MS and Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care program to hone the knowledge and skills necessary to help relieve the symptoms and stressors born from serious illnesses that occur throughout patients’ lifespans. I appreciate the program’s flexible design, online platform, and access to faculty experts, and am confident that the lessons I learn will be invaluable in my professional development.”

Learn More About the Program

The next deadline for admissions for the MS and Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care program is June 30, with classes beginning in fall 2017. To apply online, attend a virtual open house, or learn more, please visit the program’s website.

Malissa Carroll Clinical Care, Education, UMB NewsMarch 27, 20170 comments
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Brent Reed, PharmD, BCPS-AQ Cardiology, FAHA

SOP’s Reed Weighs In on Guidance for Statin, Heart Disease Drug Interactions

Brent Reed, PharmD, BCPS-AQ Cardiology, FAHA, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, joined a team of nine pharmacists and physicians assembled by the American Heart Association (AHA) in issuing a new scientific statement that provides guidance about potential interactions between statins and other medications commonly prescribed to treat heart disease.

“Statins are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States, which makes the lack of awareness surrounding drug interactions between statins and other heart disease medications all the more surprising,” says Reed, who also serves as a clinical pharmacy specialist in the Heart and Vascular Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center, where he practices in the areas of advanced heart failure and cardiac transplantation. “While most health care professionals know that some statins can interact with other heart disease medications and place patients at risk for side effects, it is not always clear which interactions might be serious enough to warrant a change in treatment or increased monitoring.”

Managing Medications for Heart Disease Patients

Prescribed to patients with atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries), statins are a class of cholesterol lowering medications that reduce cardiovascular disease and mortality among patients who have been diagnosed with or are at high risk for heart disease. Because patients who take statins are often prescribed other medications to help treat or reduce their risk for heart disease, they are at an increased risk for drug interactions, which can lead them to experience side effects that range from mild to severe, including muscle weakness or internal bleeding.

As a co-founder of the Applied Therapeutics, Research, and Instruction at the University of Maryland (ATRIUM) Cardiology Collaborative – a program launched at the School of Pharmacy in 2015 to provide clinical pharmacy services, research, and instruction in the field of cardiovascular pharmacotherapy – Reed has dedicated his career to advancing the care provided to patients with cardiovascular disease. His participation on the committee that published this scientific statement serves as a natural extension of this work, providing clinicians with information about doses at which certain heart disease medications can be safely used with statins, as well as the combinations of statins and other cardiovascular medications that might be potentially harmful to patients.

“Drug interactions between statins and other medications used to treat heart disease are likely underestimated,” says Reed. “In fact, many of the troubling reports that we sometimes read about statins might not be the resu lt of the statin itself, but an interaction with another drug that a patient has been prescribed – interactions that can often be prevented. The goal of the AHA statement is to educate and raise awareness among health care professionals about these potentially serious interactions and offer guidance about the steps they can take to safely manage them.”

Highlighting the Role of Pharmacists

The statement published by Reed and his colleagues examines a number of heart disease medications that can potentially cause adverse reactions when combined with statins, including medications used to treat abnormal heart rhythms and congestive heart failure, anticoagulants (blood thinners), immunosuppressive medications, non-statin cholesterol lowering medications, and medications used to treat high blood pressure. In addition to providing information about dose limits and adverse effects associated with certain drug interactions, it reinforces the need for health care professionals to review all medications taken by patients who have been prescribed statins at each visit, as well as during transitions of care, to ensure that any potential drug interactions are identified and evaluated early, and managed appropriately – an area in which Reed believes pharmacists can play an integral role.

“Pharmacists are the medication experts of the health care team,” he says. “Clinical pharmacy specialists working in the field of cardiology have the knowledge and skills needed to provide expert advice about the optimal use of statins and other heart disease medications in patients with cardiovascular disease. We are frontline health care professionals who can help screen patients for potentially harmful drug interactions, and collaborate with other providers to ensure these medications are used safely and effectively.”

Malissa Carroll Clinical Care, UMB NewsMarch 24, 20170 comments
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School of Law Event

2017 Rome Lecture – Appification to AI and Health Care’s New ‘Iron Triangle’

Join Nicolas Terry, LLM, Hall Render professor of law and executive director of the William S. and Christine S. Hall Center for Law and Health at Indiana University, as he discusses health care policy in this “second machine age,” as the industry attempts to assimilate to not only patient-facing technologies such as medical apps but also to next generation technologies such as robotics and AI.


The intricacy of the impact of advanced information technologies on health care stakeholders will only increase as health care assimilates not only patient-facing technologies such as medical apps but also next generation technologies such as robotics and AI. Healthcare policy choices in this “second machine age” will possess a degree of complexity that will no longer be reducible (if they ever were) to policy binaries. Indeed, for students of health law and policy, the level of complexity should bring to mind our foundational approach to discussing health care law and policy; the Iron Triangle of access, quality, and cost containment.

Terry will discuss his proposal for an additional, “new” Iron Triangle to provide both a lens and a sorting mechanism for the issues that will arise. This triangle’s three points are Automation, Quality & Safety, and Empathy.

Event Details

April 6, 2017
5 to 6:15 p.m.
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
500 W. Baltimore St.
Baltimore, MD 21201


Open to public; please register. Reception to follow. Presented in part by the Law & Health Care Program. The Stuart Rome Lecture was established by his family and friends to celebrate Stuart Rome’s life and work as an attorney, community activist, art patron, and
humanitarian, and is supported by the Stuart Rome Lecture Fund.

Nadia Hay Clinical Care, Education, People, Research, TechnologyMarch 23, 20170 comments
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Wear Red Day

Million Hearts Month: Celebrating Five Heart Healthy Years

Every February, students, faculty, and staff across the School of Pharmacy wear their hearts on their sleeves and come together in support of American Heart Month and the Million Hearts Initiative — a five-year national campaign launched in 2011, with the goal of preventing one million heart attacks and strokes in the United States. Throughout the month, the School’s American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Operation Heart committee hosts a series of heart-related events dedicated to the initiative and promotion of heart health across the School and local Baltimore area. Within the last five years, our committee has:

  • Provided blood pressure screenings to more than 600
  • Educated more than 5,000 patients about how to keep their hearts healthy
  • Reached more than 60,000 people through public and media relations

With the Million Hearts Initiative coming to an end, our committee decided to leverage this year’s events to celebrate our past dedication to the initiative, as well as the beginning of a new era of promoting heart health. We held seven events to celebrate our final Million Hearts Month.

Wear Red Day

To kick off this year’s campaign, approximately 60 student pharmacists, faculty, and staff congregated in the Ellen H. Yankellow Grand Atrium in Pharmacy Hall for an annual “Wear Red Day” photo to show our support for National Wear Red Day. The event also featured a photo booth in which participants could sign the pledge to keep their hearts healthy and pose with their heart-shaped pledges.

Aspirin Day

In collaboration with APhA-ASP’s Operation Diabetes and the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists student chapter, Operation Heart visited Mt. Clare Apartments in West Baltimore to provide educational presentations about safe aspirin use and healthy low-sugar and low-sodium meals.

 Blood Pressure Training Session

A blood pressure training session led by the School’s cardiology pharmacy practice faculty was held to help prepare student pharmacists to provide cardiovascular screening and education for patients in the community. Faculty delivered presentations that featured general hypertension and blood pressure information. Later, students split into groups to participate in a quiz competition that tested their knowledge.

 Roses for Hearts

Operation Heart sold red roses to faculty, staff, and students on Valentine’s Day, raising more than $150 to donate to the American Heart Association and the School’s APhA-ASP chapter.


Our committee held its annual interprofessional dodgeball tournament to raise funds for the American Heart Association. Students from the School of Pharmacy and School of Medicine participated in an eight-team, double-elimination tournament. More than 55 students attended, raising $210 for the American Heart Association.

Heart Gala and Mr. & Ms. Heart Pageant

New this year, Operation Heart hosted its inaugural Heart Gala to celebrate the School’s dedication to the Million Hearts Initiative. More than 60 guests attended in their red attire and enjoyed dinner as well as entertainment, including heart-related trivia and the first Mr. and Ms. Heart Pageant. Participants competed for the crown and were judged by the School’s cardiology pharmacy practice faculty on their “hearty” attire and heart knowledge.

Charm of a Million Hearts Health Fair

To end this year’s month-long campaign, Operation Heart once again hosted its annual interdisciplinary health fair at Lexington Market, where students offered blood pressure screenings, HIV/Hepatitis C screenings, oral cancer screenings, health education, cooking demonstrations, and dental screenings to members of the local community. Committee members were even interviewed by two news stations during the event. We provided more than 250 patients with services and collaborated with more than 30 school-based and community organizations to make the fair a success.

My co-chair, second-year student pharmacist Teny Joseph, and I are immensely proud of the dedication and commitment shown by all of our committee members and project coordinators this year. It is because of them that we were able to have such a great impact in our community. To that end, we would like to give a special thank-you to the following individuals who helped us organize this year’s events:

  • Carly Cheng, First-Year Student Pharmacist
  • Saniya Chaudhry, First-Year Student Pharmacist
  • Elodie Tendoh, First-Year Student Pharmacist
  • Pasang Sherpa, First-Year Student Pharmacist
  • Jennifer Miller, First-Year Student Pharmacist
  • Charlie Summerlin, Second-Year Student Pharmacist
  • Jennifer Joo, First-Year Student Pharmacist
  • Gao Xin, First-Year Student Pharmacist
  • Xinqi Liu, First-Year Student Pharmacist

Although it is a bittersweet to close the door on the Million Hearts Initiative, I am excited for what the future holds for Operation Heart and the American Heart Association’s new initiative: Rise Above Heart Failure.

Meryam GharbiABAE, Clinical Care, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB News, USGAMarch 23, 20170 comments
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Shi Yoon Kim

Student Musings: Seeing Patients as More Than Numbers

Editor’s Note: “Student Musings” posts are derived from narratives authored during students’ rotations with the Sheppard Pratt Health System, and will also appear on the health system’s blog.

As a pharmacy student, my primary concern has always been about patient medications. But after my time working with patients at Sheppard Pratt, that is no longer the case. In the past month, it has become abundantly clear to me that medications are only one piece of the puzzle when crafting an impactful treatment plan for a patient. During my rotation, I repeatedly ran into cases where medication was not the end-all solution for a patient’s ailments.

I’ve learned that there are many more variables to consider. For some patients, it’s important to ask why they weren’t taking their medications. For others, it’s critical to understand the unique stressors in their lives. Does loneliness factor into outcome? How do proper communication and illness education help a patient stick to their treatment regimen?

My experience throughout this rotation has led me to the conclusion that medication needs to be considered in context and in perspective. In prior rotations, I would take a look at a patient’s profile, then take a look at their medications and see what changes should be made in order to optimize their treatment outcome. I’ve come to realize, however, that this approach does not take into account the complex and personal struggles that each patient is going through. In order to treat a patient holistically, I need to communicate with them by digging deeper into their circumstances and asking questions beyond how they are doing on their medications. I need to form a bond with them that is built on empathy and understanding. I need to establish a relationship where a patient is comfortable sharing stories and revealing personal details so that I can develop a plan that is tailored to the patient’s unique needs and cultural background.

As doctors, we should be molding therapies to include what patients want and what we believe will work for them, in an understanding manner. We should be working together with other members of the treatment team, sharing knowledge so that we have a more well-rounded understanding of our patients. Thanks to my time at Sheppard Pratt, my counseling and interviewing skills have matured, which will make me a far more effective pharmacist – one who seeks to understand his patients beyond just the numbers, and one who elicits trust and confidence in return.

Shi Yoon Kim Clinical Care, EducationMarch 22, 20170 comments
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