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School of Pharmacy Hosts Baltimore City Council President

Bernard C. “Jack” Young tours Pharmacy Hall and meets with faculty to discuss the School’s innovative patient care programs and outreach initiatives.

By Malissa Carroll
December 19, 2013

Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, welcomed Bernard C. “Jack” Young, president of the Baltimore City Council, to the School of Pharmacy on Dec. 12. During their lively discussion, she shared information about the School’s academic, research, patient care, and community programs, and led a tour of the School’s state-of-the-art facilities.

“At the School of Pharmacy, we strive to lead pharmacy education, scientific discovery, patient care, and community engagement in the state of Maryland and beyond,” said Eddington. “Historically, pharmacists worked ‘behind-the-counter’ and had limited interaction with their patients, but that is no longer the case. Pharmacists are now one of the most accessible members of the health care team. Our faculty make every effort to ensure that our graduates are able to practice at the top of their license, serving as medication experts and working in conjunction with physicians and nurses to manage patients’ chronic illnesses.”

Eddington introduced Young to the School’s academic programs, including its renowned Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program and graduate programs in pharmaceutical sciences and pharmaceutical health services research. She also spoke about the School’s leading research programs, noting how researchers in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) work to identify new drugs to treat drug abuse, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and infection, while those in the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) provide valuable information on the economic costs and public policy issues that arise once drugs and therapies have been made available to the public.

“Many people do not realize that we also conduct research in the School of Pharmacy,” said Eddington. “However, we receive significant research funding from a wide range of government and non-profit agencies, including the National Institutes of Health.”

Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, FAPhA, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS), also met with Young to discuss the School’s innovative approach to patient care, including its Maryland Patients, Pharmacists Partnerships (P3) Program, which contracts with pharmacists to serve as medication experts working in collaboration with employees’ primary care providers to assist with proper use of medications, counseling, and overall disease state management. “One of the biggest challenges for Baltimore City, similar to many other employers across the nation, is providing the best health care for its employees,” she noted.

Launched in 2006, the Maryland P3 Program has been implemented at worksites in Maryland, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, Louisiana, and California. It will be available to employees at the University of Maryland, Baltimore beginning January 2014.

“The Maryland P3 Program has demonstrated tremendous outcomes since it was first launched seven years ago,” said Rodriguez de Bittner. “Our pharmacists have been able to not only improve the health of the employees they counseled, but also improve their productivity at work, decrease the number sick days they need, and decrease overall health care costs for their employers.”

As someone with a close connection to the pharmacy profession, Young was thrilled to learn about the results produced by the program.

“My godson is a pharmacist, and he worked at Rite Aid for a number of years,” said Young. “I also have a close relationship with my local pharmacist, who provides me with a wealth of information about my medications and answers any questions that I might have about the medicines that my doctor has prescribed. Pharmacists have my utmost respect for the role that they play as members of the health care team.”

Eddington and Rodriguez de Bittner also spoke about other outreach initiatives in which the School’s faculty and student pharmacists participate, including its popular Vote & Vax initiative and “brown bag” medication reviews; initiatives that the School would like to expand or bring to the residents of Baltimore City. “Our students are very involved in the community and would value the opportunity to participate in more projects like this — projects that would give them an opportunity to enhance the health and quality of life of local residents,” said Eddington.

Young’s visit concluded with a tour of Pharmacy Hall, during which he had the opportunity to see first-hand the School’s state-of-the-art Alfred Abramson Pharmacy Practice Lab, Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) Suites, research laboratories, and lecture halls and classrooms.

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