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SOP Partners With Congressman John Sarbanes to Host Community MTM Events

Faculty and students visit local senior and community centers to provide patients with free blood pressure screenings and medication reviews.

By Malissa Carroll
June 10, 2013

On May 24, pharmacists and student pharmacists working with the Maryland P3 Program at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy participated in a medication therapy management (MTM) event sponsored by Congressman John Sarbanes. Held at the Pascal Senior Center in Glen Burnie, Md., this event offered free blood pressure screenings, medication consultations, and comprehensive medication reviews to all attendees.

“I am very pleased to have the opportunity to sponsor events like this with the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “I often hear from seniors who struggle to keep track of the medications they receive from different physicians for various conditions. Pharmacists can provide a critical service and drastically improve health outcomes if they are able to evaluate the entire prescription drug regimen, avoid adverse reactions, and make other recommendations.”

The Maryland P3 Program is a partnership of the School of Pharmacy, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, and the Maryland Pharmacists Association. The program contracts with pharmacists to serve as medication experts working in collaboration with individuals’ primary care providers to assist with proper use of medications, counseling, and overall disease state management.

“While the Maryland P3 Program does not exclusively focus on seniors, its process of care can be applied to patients of any age who take multiple medications and have been diagnosed with a chronic disease,” says Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) at the School of Pharmacy and director of the Maryland P3 Program. “The strongest message that I want to leave with individuals who participate in this event is to remember how important pharmacists can be in helping them maintain good health.”

Student pharmacists, some representing the School’s American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) chapter, staffed the station that provided blood pressure screenings to patients. The students, with assistance from faculty and other pharmacists, counseled patients about the results of their blood pressure screening and offered advice to help patients maintain a healthy blood pressure.

“In my experience, it seems that not many people understand the scope of pharmacy practice,” said Namrata Thakkar, a fourth-year student pharmacist at the School of Pharmacy. “Events like this offer a great way for pharmacists and student pharmacists to interact with the community and show patients all of the skills and knowledge that pharmacists have to offer.”

Although the initial purpose of his visit to the senior center was to meet Congressman Sarbanes, William Cooper, 50, from Laurel, Md., appreciated the opportunity to have his blood pressure checked by Jane Kim, a third-year student pharmacist and APhA-ASP chapter president.

“I’m on blood pressure medication, so I try to monitor my blood pressure regularly,” says Cooper. “Whenever I have an opportunity like this to have a health care professional check my blood pressure, I jump on it just to make sure that my medication is still working.”

Individuals interested in receiving a comprehensive medication review were asked to bring their current medications with them to the senior center. These individuals met privately with a pharmacist and received information about possible interactions between their medications and side effects. One patient who took advantage of this service was Deborah Bosworth, 57, from Greenland Beach, Md.

“When I first saw this event advertised, I thought it would be a good idea to come and have all of my medications and supplements reviewed, and I’m glad that I did,” said Bosworth. “The pharmacist I spoke with was very friendly and knowledgeable. She told me about some potential interactions between the medicines that my doctor prescribed and the supplements that I was taking, and she answered my questions about another supplement I wanted to take. She even researched one medication that she was not familiar with while I sat with her.”

Representatives from the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging were also on-hand to provide consultations on Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit component of Medicare.

“As a pharmacist, I know how important it is for patients to keep track of their medications,” says Cherokee Layson-Wolf, PharmD, CGP, BCACP, FAPhA, associate professor in PPS and associate dean for student affairs. “Events like this help increase patients’ awareness about the importance of medication adherence and highlight the services that pharmacists can provide, while offering us an opportunity to provide those services to more people.”

On May 30, Congressman Sarbanes again partnered with the Maryland P³ Program at the School of Pharmacy to host another MTM event at the Praisner Community Center in Burtonsville, Md.

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