Interprofessional student teams support medication adherence awareness

Script Your Future campaign challenge winners announced

Medication adherence is a complex yet common issue among Americans and is related to almost 125,000 deaths annually. Pharmacists and other health care providers have long sought innovative ways to promote awareness about medication adherence.

The National Consumers League’s Script Your Future campaign is dedicated to public education, research, and interprofessional collaboration to decrease barriers associated with medication adherence. Each year during the Script Your Future competition, health professional student teams are encouraged to collaborate and actualize creative ideas to increase medication adherence.

This year, Script Your Future recognized five teams for their contributions to the Medication Adherence Team Challenge. University of Charleston School of Pharmacy and University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy were each honored with a National Challenge Award.   

As part of the challenge, student pharmacists and other health professional students at the University of Pittsburgh asked patients in their community to take the Medication Pledge. Students used motivational interviewing and asked patients to reflect on why they take their medication. “I got to see how my classmates sparked personal, genuine conversations with their patients in order to bring out reasons for them to improve their quality of life,” said Julie Mandel, 2018 PharmD candidate. “Sharing these pledges was the most rewarding part of the project for me because it truly showed the impact we were having on the community.” Anonymous pledge cards were displayed in the pharmacy building so that students could visualize the quantity of patients being served and understand what influences personal decisions about medication adherence.

The student health professionals, including student pharmacists, at the University of Charleston joined with Highland Hospital in Charleston, WV, to host a public event featuring an adherence-focused lecture series, First Class Health Education: 101. Afterward, students and faculty were available for one-on-one discussions. “A lot of participants seemed eager to ask questions about their medications in a setting that differed from their community pharmacy or doctor’s office,” explained Melissa Buse, 2017 PharmD candidate.

Northeast Ohio Medical University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and University of Maryland School of Pharmacy were honored with Focused Awards in the areas of health disparities/underrepresented community outreach, communication and media outreach, and creative interprofessional team event, respectively.

Each team comprised at least one student pharmacist and at least one other health professional student and took place over 2 months. The competition included 75 health professions schools in 19 states, included more than 320 events, and reached more than 2 million consumers across the nation.

“By increasing public awareness about medication adherence, we hoped to stress the importance of this topic to not only the patients we encounter, but also to our fellow health professional students,” said Rebecca Wytiaz, 2018 PharmD candidate, University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy.  

APhA is a sponsor of the challenge and was involved in selecting the winners.