Meet the winners of this year’s Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge

The 2020 Medication Adherence Team Challenge is part of the national Script Your Future public awareness campaign coordinated by NCL with support from its partners and the Challenge sponsors—the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

Medication non-adherence can lead to devastating health outcomes. Research shows that nearly one in five prescriptions go unfilled and half of all patients with chronic illnesses do not take their medication as prescribed. Improved medication adherence leads to better health outcomes and reduced total healthcare costs, and it was for these reasons that NCL launched the Script Your Future awareness campaign in 2011.

The Team Challenge was established to extend campaign messages into medical and other schools of health professions, and to nurture adherence-minded values in future generations of professionals entering the workplace. Each year, top performing teams are honored with a National Award for overall outstanding team achievement, or a Focused Award, which recognizes outstanding team achievement in the specific areas of health disparity/under-represented community outreach, media/communications outreach, or creative interprofessional team event. This year, we introduced a new focused award category, with the inclusion of a Technology Innovation Focused Award – a category that evaluates creative outreach with a focus on technology-based interventions.

In 2020, our Team Challenge student health professionals were met with unique challenges as they navigated the historic COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in school closures, event cancelations, and a host of other obstacles. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, our dedicated teams pivoted their campaigns and made an impact in other ways. This year, the Team Challenge observed engagement from nearly 2,900 future healthcare professionals and volunteers, who all together hosted over 250 events in 14 states. Collectively, the teams directly counseled close to 12,000 patients and introduced Script Your Future messaging to over 430,000 consumers, nationwide.  Since the Team Challenge began in 2011, more than 21, 000 future healthcare professionals have directly counseled nearly 87,000 patients and nearly 26 million consumers.

The recognized schools, selected from dozens of applications and 82 participating educational institutions, are listed below.

National Award | University of the Sciences: Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, PA

University of the Sciences (USciences) interdisciplinary medication adherence outreach centered around individuals across all ages, from children to older adults. USciences’ team structure included students of pharmacy, occupational and physical therapies, medicine, and social work. Throughout the Team Challenge, USciences directly counseled 455 patients, reaching a total of 805 people. During their outreach, USciences introduced a new campaign theme – “A future of ______ begins with me”, to personalize medication adherence through each patient interaction. USciences’ campaign also placed a great emphasis on addressing racial disparities, reducing stigma surrounding mental health, and tangential issues like vaccine confidence and proper nutrition.

National Award Finalists

The following schools were named Finalists under the National Award category:
Pacific University School of Pharmacy, West Virginia University School of Pharmacy, Western University College of Pharmacy, Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, Touro University College of Pharmacy, St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

Rookie Award | Howard University College of Pharmacy – Washington, DC

NCL is thrilled to announce that DC HBCU, Howard University College of Pharmacy, was the recipient of the 2020 Rookie Award. Howard University’s team included students of pharmacy, medicine, social work, and dentistry. Howard University’s target population included homeless or displaced minorities, children and parents, and adults with behavioral issues. The team tailored its disease focus to diabetes and heart disease, as they are chronic conditions that plague the region. Throughout the Challenge, Howard University directly counseled close to 400 patients and reached over 1,000 people with the help of 169 students and volunteers and distributed nearly 1,000 Script Your Future medication adherence resources.

Rookie Award Finalist: University of Arizona College of Pharmacy– AZ

The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy in Tucson, AZ also made a strong showing in the Team Challenge as a first-time competitor.

Focused Awards

Health Disparities Community Outreach Award | St. Louis College of Pharmacy – MO

Pharmacy students from St. Louis College of Pharmacy and nursing students from St. Louis University, joined forces to strategically and intentionally identify their target population – residents of a region of St. Louis known as the “Delmar Divide.” St. Louis College of Pharmacy chose this target population due to the stark disparities observed in the residents directly north and south of the Delmar Divide. For their outreach, St. Louis College of Pharmacy focused their interventions on communities north of the Delmar Divide, which predominantly consists of people of color of lower socioeconomic means. The team chose to focus on chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Together, 60 students and volunteers directly counseled 350 patients and reached nearly 400 people. Through numerous events and newly fostered community partnerships, St. Louis College of Pharmacy disseminated nearly 400 Script Your Future medication adherence resources within the community.

Communication and Media Outreach Award | Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy (LECOM) – PA & FL

To illustrate the diversity of their team, LECOM pharmacy and medical students from campuses based in PA and FL produced a public service announcement (PSA) spoken in eight languages, to help amplify the value of medication adherence to numerous populations. The PSA garnered over 2,800 views. LECOM employed social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LECOM’s Pulse Newsletter, to help disseminate Script Your Future medication adherence messaging. LECOM students also wrote an original book to present heart health information to the children entitled “Mr. Pumper and the Heart Valves”, which was read to third grade elementary students. Throughout the Challenge, 293 students and volunteers directly counseled over 500 patients, reaching over 1,200 patients, and disseminated over 730 Script Your Future resources in their community.

Creative Inter-Professional Team Event Award | University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy – PA

The University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy partnered with the Schools of medicine, dentistry, social work, nursing, dietetics, and rehabilitation sciences, to organize a team of over 300 students and volunteers to execute their medication adherence outreach. University of Pittsburgh harnessed the interdisciplinary nature of their team to build a campaign serving older adults in their community, from a holistic treatment perspective. The team addressed issues like hypertension, social isolation, and food insecurity. Throughout the Challenge, University of Pittsburgh directly counseled over 130 patients and reached over 2,200 patients.

Technology Innovation Award| Western University College of Pharmacy – CA

Western University College of Pharmacy made an impressive debut for the inaugural inclusion of the Technology Innovation Award. To foster medication adherence, the team created a dedicated website that directed patients to resources relating to disease areas like COPD, pneumonia, heart failure, and diabetes. The website was geared towards patients recently discharged following a hospital stay and contained features like medication and post-discharge appointment reminders and medication adherence-related infographics in multiple languages.

Script Your Future: stories from the field – National Consumers League

NCL’s Script Your Future campaign is celebrating an exciting, successful year of bringing positive messages about the need for medication adherence to communities across the country. We’ve met many patients and health care professionals and heard how the campaign has touched them. Meet some of the faces of Script Your Future!

 

Sacramento

Maureen Lloy Groux is a clinical pharmacist for a major health system in Sacramento. Using medication counseling and the Script Your Future wallet card, she saved the life of a non-adherent heart patient. The patient had been off of his medication for 5 days when he came in for a refill, and after talking with Maureen and filling out a medication list Maureen convinced him to call his physician. Turns out the patient needed emergency surgery to insert a new stent. He lived, and actually came back to visit Maureen, telling her that he appreciated the importance of taking his medicine as directed.

Raleigh

Patti Pozella is a pharmacist and teaches courses at the UNC Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, with extensive personal experience motivating patients and prescribers to improve adherence. Patti is now using Script Your Future in her courses as an example of a well-executed, comprehensive and integrated campaign on a public health issue.

Providence

Bob S. had his first heart attack in 1998, after which he found himself suddenly on several different, complicated medications. After a frank discussion with his doctor about the importance of adherence, something clicked. “If I followed my doctor’s instructions and took my meds as prescribed, I could have many healthy years ahead of me.” In addition to volunteering with the American Heart Association and Mended Hearts, Bob shares his story with Script Your Future Rhode Island and continues to reach out to cardiac patients about the importance of talking with health care professionals and taking medication as directed.

Cincinnati

Andrea Wall is a pharmacy professor and an associate dean at the University of Cincinnati’s James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy. The School of Pharmacy supports the Script Your Future campaign, and its students have found the campaign’s materials useful, integrating them into their rotations and during outreach events. The experiential education faculty of the University recently voted to incorporate Script Your Future materials and messaging on medication adherence into its required activities when the students are on their clinical rotations.

Baltimore

Jackie Johnson is a Johns Hopkins nursing student. As co-chair of the Script Your Future Baltimore Student Coalition, Jackie has participated in numerous community health events to promote the campaign and often finds that the wallet medication cards serve as one of consumers’ most sought-after tools towards improving adherence. At the Bmore Health Expo in March, Jackie spoke with a patient who had undergone a heart transplant. The patient was extremely grateful to have the wallet card, which she felt would help her better manage the multiple medications that she will take for the rest of her life as a result of the transplant.

Birmingham

Patrick Devereux is an independent community pharmacist in the Birmingham area and a member of the Alabama Board of Pharmacy. When he began disseminating the wallet cards, one of his customers, Beverly W., told him “I’ve had a bad heart for nearly 20 years and need to take medications every day. I appreciate this campaign and the pledge cards because, for people like me, taking medications is a necessary part of life. I’ve never seen cards like this and think we should find ways to get them to everyone who picks up a prescription.”

Your best resolution yet: Take the pledge to take your meds – National Consumers League

This time of year, many Americans ponder possible resolutions for self- improvement. Many of the most popular New Year’s resolutions continue to focus on health: losing weight, managing stress, giving up bad habits, eating right, and exercising more. One resolution that may be less common – but of crucial importance now and year-round – is a simple one: follow your doctor’s orders.

“Failure to follow prescribed health regimens, or poor medication adherence, is a growing public health concern, made all the more critical as the number of Americans affected by at least one chronic condition requiring medication therapy is expected to grow from 133 to 157 million by 2020,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s oldest consumer organization.

According to Greenberg, nearly three out of four Americans report that they do not always take their medication as directed, a problem that causes more than one-third of medicine-related hospitalizations, nearly 125,000 deaths in the United States each year, and adds $290 billion in avoidable costs to the health care system annually.

Poor medication adherence has become an issue of such concern that NCL has launched Script Your Future, a national campaign designed to help patients take back their futures by helping them understand the importance of taking your medicine as directed – and following through with it. Script Your Future offers free tools for consumers to manage their medicines and sample questions to help start a conversation with their doctor, pharmacist, or nurse about their medicines.

So, still looking for a new year’s resolution? Here are three easy steps you can take today to get started down the path towards better adherence and healthier living:

  1. Make the pledge to take medication as directed as a first step to a healthier life in 2012.
  2. Download a medication wallet card to help keep track of prescribed medication(s) and help guide conversations about medication with health care providers.
  3. Commit to further engaging in conversations about medication with health care providers during doctor visits and at the pharmacy.

“The consequences of nonadherence are too great to be ignored,” said NCL’s Vice President for Health Policy Rebecca Burkholder. “There are simple steps everyone can take to make adherence a part of their resolutions for a healthy 2012.”

 Additional Script Your Future tools include free text message reminders, sample questions for patients to ask health care practitioners, medication lists, condition management sheets, and fact sheets on common chronic conditions.  All of these materials can be found on the campaign Web site, www.ScriptYourFuture.org.

 Script Your Future is a campaign of the National Consumers League (NCL), a private, non-profit membership organization founded in 1899. For more information about the Script Your Future campaign, visit www.ScriptYourFuture.org.

Overcoming obstacles on the path to prescription medication adherence – National Consumers League

When it comes to managing a chronic health condition, taking your medication as directed seems like a simple no-brainer. With this idea in mind, many of us find the poor national adherence rate shocking—three out of four, or 75 percent, of Americans are non-adherent, resulting in an estimated 125,000 deaths and up to $300 billion dollars in healthcare costs each year.

Yet as patient and heart health advocate Ron Michaud explained at the recent Script Your Future launch event, managing his heart disease, blood pressure, and diabetes requires juggling 13 different medications and 24 pills taken four times a day, everyday.

Michaud made it clear that he wouldn’t be here today without a strong support system to help keep him on track.

“I’ve needed my doctor’s support, my wife’s support, and some tools to manage my medication adherence,” he told a packed auditorium at George Washington University Hospital. “If today’s medications were available when I began my journey with heart disease, and I used my adherence tools, I might have avoided some of the heart attacks and surgeries I have undergone.”

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin was on-hand to explain how the Script Your Future campaign was created to provide just the kind of support patients like Michaud need. ScriptYourFuture.org offers visitors free text-message medication reminders, sample questions to ask health care professionals, lists and charts to keep track of medicines, videos on how to properly use certain medical devices, and fact sheets on chronic conditions like asthma and high cholesterol.  There is also a feature that lets users create a personalized pledge to adhere to medications for themselves or a loved one.

Aside from the dynamic website, the campaign will include regional launches and educational events in target markets like Baltimore, Cincinnati, Birmingham, Providence, Sacramento, and Raleigh.

“I am proud to be a part of the Script Your Future campaign,” said the Surgeon General. “As America’s doctor, I want to keep this significant public issue at the forefront and am committed to working to raise awareness about how clinicians can help their patients.”

Dr. Benjamin stressed that health care professionals, as well as patients, have a critical role in improving the national adherence rate. Dr. Benjamin shared an emotional story about a former patient named Donna who was continuing to experience seizures despite taking all the medicines her doctor prescribed. Only after asking Donna to draw all her medications on paper, did Dr. Benjamin realize that Donna couldn’t read and was relying on her pills’ shapes and colors to identify them—she ran into trouble as soon as she received multiple prescriptions of pills of the same color from her pharmacist.

The critical need to educate health care practitioners about how to talk to their patients is why the campaign also includes a site dedicated to health professionals.  The site includes a variety of interactive tools such as tips on how to begin honest conversations with patients and journal articles on adherence and how it can be improved.

By encouraging health professionals and their patients to work together, the campaign hopes to help those living with chronic conditions live, longer healthier lives—the ultimate goal of patients and doctors alike.