May 12, 2014
Contact: Ben Klein, National Consumers League, email@example.com, (202) 835-3323
Washington, DC — Today, the National Consumers League (NCL) and its partners announced the winners of the third annual Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge for health profession students. This month-long competition engaged students and faculty across health care disciplines in developing creative ideas for raising awareness about a critical public health issue: medication adherence. This year’s awardees are: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Touro University California College of Pharmacy, Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Pharmacy, and University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Pharmacy.
The 2014 Medication Adherence Team Challenge is part of the national Script Your Future public awareness campaign coordinated by NCL. The campaign includes more than 135 public and private stakeholder organizations, including Challenge sponsors—the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation, the American Medical Association (AMA), the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
“This was the second year we challenged students to work in collaborative teams of future health professionals who interact with patients—the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and others,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director. “This more comprehensive approach will ultimately result in patients hearing from multiple voices encouraging them to take their medication as directed.”
Research shows that nearly three out of four Americans don’t take their medications as directed. This may cause devastating results, particularly for people with chronic conditions. Poor medication adherence has been recognized by national health advocacy leaders as a public health priority; it results in more than one-third of medicine-related hospitalizations and almost 125,000 U.S. deaths each year. Improved medication adherence leads to better health outcomes and reduced total healthcare costs.
Student teams from pharmacy, medicine, nursing, and many other health professions worked side by side on campuses and in local communities using innovative solutions to reach thousands of consumers to raise awareness using Script Your Future materials. This year, students also submitted entries in the categories of “Health Disparities Outreach” and “Creative Inter-Professional Team Event.” Coordinators also established, new this year, the award for “Effective Communication and Media Outreach.”
“The Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge has been an innovative method for our future healthcare professionals to engage with their local communities,” said Dr. Lucinda L. Maine, Executive Vice President and CEO at AACP. “The levels of communication and types of events held in these communities provide essential information and strategies for patients to improve their medication adherence and ultimately their health outcomes.”
More than 2,200 future health care professionals held 300 events in 26 states and the District of Columbia, counseling more than 9,300 patients and reaching more than 6 million consumers nationwide.
“It is vital for patients to take their medication as directed in order to achieve optimal health outcomes,” said AMA President Ardis D. Hoven, M.D. “Educating patients through community outreach helps improve the conversations happening in doctors’ offices across the country and helps patients avoid adverse drug reactions and unnecessary hospitalizations. The Script Your Future challenge presents an excellent opportunity for health care professionals-in-training to improve public health.”
“The involvement of students and faculty in the effort to boost medication adherence is incredibly important,” said NACDS Foundation President Kathleen Jaeger. “The Medication Adherence Team Challenge establishes this issue as a top priority for the next generation of health professionals, and inspires them to advance this goal within their own communities. The winners are showing the tremendous power that healthcare professionals can have on advancing patient care through medication adherence. We hope that is a lesson they will carry with them throughout their careers and that will inspire others to do the same.”
“NCPA is proud to co-sponsor the Script Your Future team challenge, a contest that recognizes the next generation of health care professionals’ efforts to drive greater medication adherence,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. “According to NEHI up to $290 billion a year is wasted on the improper use of medication and a comprehensive survey of adherence commissioned by NCPA – Medication Adherence in America: A National Report Card – found Americans only getting a ‘C+’ for their efforts. Script Your Future could very well be the spark that ignites the next wave of adherence driving innovation and all of the honorees should be congratulated.”
“Pharmacists have a unique opportunity, at the medication dispensing stage, to help patients understand the value of their prescription medications, to help alleviate confusion, and to underline the need for adherence, making a real difference in patients’ lives. We are excited to be involved in this program and what it means for the future of America’s adherence,” said APhA Executive Vice President and CEO Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA.
“Given nursing’s strong focus on health promotion and patient advocacy, AACN is committed to working with our colleagues in pharmacy, medicine, and other disciplines to underscore the health benefits linked to proper medication adherence among students, clinicians, and the patients we serve,” said Dr. Geraldine “Polly” Bednash, CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
The recognized schools’ campaigns, selected among nearly 50 applications, and 109 participating educational institutions are listed below. In addition, the following schools were named Finalists under the National Award category: California Northstate, College of Pharmacy; Chicago State University College of Pharmacy; Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy; Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Pharmacy; University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy; and the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.
National Challenge Award: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, School of Pharmacy (LECOM)
Throughout February, LECOM School of Pharmacy partnered with dentists, nurses, physicians, other health professions, and community organizations to counsel nearly 2,000 patients about proper medication adherence in the communities of Erie, PA and Bradenton, FL, where the school campuses are located. LECOM held a variety of events – totaling 47 – that incorporated the theme of living a healthy life through medication adherence. Students reached out to high school and elementary school students at health fairs, partnered with senior centers to host health screenings along with a registered nurse and worked alongside a prescription drug take-back program to educate consumers about proper medication use. LECOM also focused on educating other health care professionals by teaching classes to nursing and pharmacy technician students. The LECOM team created a unique Public Service Announcement (PSA), which was placed in movie theaters, online, and on a roadside billboard, and generated more than 4 million media impressions. LECOM also worked with the local governments of Erie and Manatee Counties to have proclamations issued on the importance of medication adherence.
National Challenge Award: St. Louis College of Pharmacy
St. Louis College of Pharmacy (STLCOP) partnered with the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (WUSM) and the Barnes-Jewish College Goldfarb School of Nursing to create an inter-professional team of more than 140 student-volunteers from pharmacy, medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy and nursing. The team held at least one event for each day during February, creating 28 partnerships and reaching close to 8,500 consumers during the month of February. The STLCOP team efforts were driven by the slogan “Let’s Talk, St. Louis!” to encourage conversation and useful dialogue with health care professionals. Each health profession discipline in the team shared their expertise with patients during events as well as with each other through daily tips disseminated to all team members. This inter-professional team conducted outreach in numerous languages and worked in community pharmacies, sports centers, health centers and local faith communities to raise awareness about medication adherence and offer free health screening services. The team’s efforts culminated in a proclamation by the Mayor of St. Louis declaring February 28, 2014 “Script Your Future Medication Adherence Day.”
National Target Market Challenge Award: Touro University California College of Pharmacy
Touro University Colleges of Pharmacy, Osteopathic Medicine and Public Health capitalized on last year’s efforts, and increased their consumer outreach by 71 percent, interacting with nearly 2,700 patients, through partnerships with local community organizations at community events. The Touro University team held a large outreach event at the local San Francisco Ferry station to talk to commuters about medication adherence. The team also emphasized outreach to underserved populations by distributing campaign materials in Vietnamese, held health screenings at local women’s and men’s homeless shelters, and worked with the student run clinic to conduct medication reviews and physical examinations. During the month, the team was able to create partnerships with other clinics and pharmacies to distribute materials.
Health Disparities, Under-represented Community Outreach Award: University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Pharmacy
The Inter-professional Health Council at the University of Wisconsin-Madison worked in its community to reach individuals with low incomes or without health insurance. The team conducted most activities at free medical and pharmacy clinics, and at local food pantries. The team provided critical information about the importance of taking charge of one’s health and taking medication as prescribed during the earlier medical visits. The team directly counseled 200 patients and distributed campaign materials that were used during consultations. Through the team’s participation in the Challenge, lasting partnerships have been developed and will continue throughout the year, including monitoring medication adherence levels among clinic patients.
Communication and Media Outreach Award: Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Pharmacy
Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) College of Pharmacy and Medicine students and faculty anchored much of their activities around a proclamation from the Governor of Ohio, with support from Ohio Senator John Eklund and Representative Kathleen Clyde, declaring February 15 to be “Remember to Take Your Medicines Day”. The Governor’s proclamation was incorporated into the team’s media and communication efforts, reaching thousands of consumers through newspaper articles, radio spots, online articles and social media during the month. The team was also quoted in major newspaper articles about adherence month activities and developed a PSA featured on NEOMED websites.
Creative Inter-professional Team Event Award: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, School of Pharmacy
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) School of Pharmacy took a creative approach this year to reach out to health professionals, particularly nurses, about the tools and resources they could use to promote medication adherence with their patients. Student pharmacists and doctors taught at evening RN and BSN programs, where nurses with varying experience levels learned about adherence and how to use interventions to foster open communication with patients. The team plans to work with other similar programs in the future to collaborate on ways all members of the health care team can be supported to improve adherence.
Script Your Future, launched in 2011, is a three-year national public awareness campaign about medication adherence coordinated by the National Consumers League (NCL), a private, non-profit membership organization founded in 1899. NCL’s mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information about the Script Your Future campaign, visit www.ScriptYourFuture.org. For more information on NCL, please visit www.nclnet.org.