Student Pharmacists Host Public Health Campaign to Kick Off American Heart Month
Week of fun-filled activities will help educate the public about the “ABCs” of heart disease and stroke prevention.
By Malissa Carroll
February 3, 2016
To help raise awareness about the prevalence and prevention of heart disease, members of Operation Heart within the American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy will host a week-long campaign to educate students across the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the local community about the “ABCs” of heart disease and stroke prevention during American Heart Month in February.
Dubbed “Million Hearts Week,” the week-long campaign will also highlight the School of Pharmacy’s partnership with Million Hearts, a national initiative led by the Department of Health and Human Services that brings together communities, health systems, non-profit organizations, federal agencies, and private sector partners to make a lasting impact on heart disease and prevent one million heart attacks and strokes over five years.
“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States,” says Deanna Tran, PharmD, BCACP, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) at the School and co-advisor of APhA-ASP. “Million Hearts Week provides a unique opportunity for student pharmacists to not only educate their peers about the importance of cardiovascular health, but to also empower patients to make healthy choices.”
The “ABCs” of heart disease and stroke prevention focus on appropriate aspirin therapy, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation to help promote a healthy lifestyle and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Million Hearts Week begins Thursday, Feb. 4, and features a number of events designed to educate students and members of the community about heart disease and stroke prevention. It will end with a health fair at the Urban Business Center in Baltimore on Friday, Feb. 12. Additional event details are provided below:
Thursday, Feb. 4 — Million Hearts Week Kick-Off
Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to wear red in support of American Heart Month’s National Wear Red Day and join Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School of Pharmacy, for a group photo at 1:50 p.m. in the Ellen H. Yankellow Grand Atrium.
Friday, Feb. 5 — Hits 4 Heart Dodgeball Tournament
Operation Heart will host its inaugural Million Hearts Dodgeball Tournament at the SMC Campus Center from 5 to8 p.m. Teams of five students from the School of Pharmacy will compete against teams from other schools across UMB, while learning more about the Million Hearts initiative. All faculty, staff, and students are invited to participate.
Monday, Feb. 8 — Heart and Aspirin Bingo
Operation Heart will host Heart and Aspirin Bingo in Pharmacy Hall, Room N106 from noon to1 p.m. to help educate students about the importance of appropriate aspirin therapy in maintaining good cardiovascular health. There will also be an opportunity for students to create Valentine’s Day cards to be delivered to residents of a local assisted living facility. All students are invited to participate.
Tuesday, Feb. 9 — Blood Pressure Control
Blood pressure screenings will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Finksburg, Catonsville, Professional, and Lexington Pharmacies. Student pharmacists will be present to educate patients about the importance of maintaining a healthy blood pressure in order to help prevent a heart attack or stroke.
Wednesday, Feb. 10 — Healthy Heart Fair
Student pharmacists are invited to volunteer at a health fair at UMB’s Community Engagement Center from 4 to 7 p.m. A dietician will be presenting healthy snack demonstrations, and students will be educating participants about a wide range of heart health topics, including smoking cessation and blood pressure control.
Thursday, Feb. 11 — Smoking Cessation
All faculty, staff, and students are invited to use the hashtags #MillionHeartsWeek, #UMSOPQuits4heart, and #kickbutthealheart to participate in a social media smoking cessation campaign. Using Facebook and Twitter is an easy way to educate the community about smoking cessation, cessation agents, and reasons why individuals should stop smoking.
Friday, Feb. 12 — The Charm of Million Hearts Health Fair
A health fair will be held at the Urban Business Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to educate the local community about Million Hearts and the “ABCs” of heart disease and stroke prevention. The health fair will provide information about appropriate aspirin therapy, blood pressure screenings, healthy eating, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation.
“Million Hearts Week allows students across UMB to come together, participate in important outreach efforts, and make a difference in the lives of individuals in the local community,” says Felicia Bartlett, a third-year student pharmacist and chair of APhA-ASP’s Operation Heart. “Students truly enjoy having the opportunity to use what they have learned in the classroom to help educate patients on all aspects of heart health and support this important national initiative from the American Heart Association.”