SOP Partners with Million Hearts to Celebrate American Heart Month

Week of fun-filled activities will help educate the public about the “ABCS” of heart disease and stroke prevention.

SOP Partners with Million Hearts to Celebrate American Heart Month

By Malissa Carroll
February 5, 2014

To help raise awareness about the prevalence and prevention of heart disease, members of Operation Heart from 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 and the public about the “ABCS” of heart disease and stroke prevention during American Heart Month in February.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. 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.

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 federal 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 against heart disease and prevent one million heart attacks and strokes over five years.

“Million Hearts Week will provide 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,” says Deanna Tran, PharmD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) and co-advisor of APhA-ASP.

The campaign begins Friday, Feb. 7, and features a number of events that highlight heart disease and stroke prevention. It will end with a health fair at Baltimore’s Lexington Market on Friday, Feb. 14. Complete event details are provided below:

Friday, Feb. 7 — Million Hearts “Pledge” Kick-Off
Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to wear red in support of American Heart Month’s National Wear Red Day. From noon to 12:50 p.m. in the Ellen H. Yankellow Grand Atrium in Pharmacy Hall, Operation Heart will host a kick-off and pledge event for students to help raise awareness about the Million Hearts Initiative. Faculty and staff are invited to attend from 12:50-1 p.m., when a group photo will be taken.

Monday, Feb. 10 — Appropriate Aspirin Therapy
Operation Heart will host “Aspirin Jeopardy” in the Ellen H. Yankellow Grand Atrium from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Held in partnership with the Rho Chi Society, APhA-ASP’s Generation Rx, the Alpha Zeta Omega Professional Fraternity, and the Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity, this activity is intended to teach students about appropriate aspirin therapy as it relates to cardiovascular health. All students are invited to participate. Winners will receive prizes.

Tuesday, Feb. 11 — Blood Pressure Control
Blood pressure screenings will be available from 2 to 6 p.m. at three local pharmacies: Catonsville Pharmacy in Catonsville, Fink’s Pharmacy in Essex, and Professional Pharmacy in Baltimore. A partnership between Operation Heart, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the Phi Lambda Sigma Leadership Society, and APhA-ASP’s Operation Diabetes, this event will feature pharmacy students educating patients about the importance of maintaining a healthy blood pressure in order to help prevent a heart attack or stroke.

Wednesday, Feb. 12 — Cholesterol Management
Students are invited to compete in a cook-off that will be held in the Ellen H. Yankellow Grand Atrium from 5 to 6 p.m. A partnership between Operation Heart, APhA-ASP’s Maryland Regional Operations, Phi Delta Chi, the Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group, and the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, this cook-off is designed to raise awareness about the importance of healthy eating and determine who can prepare the healthiest and tastiest meal. Winners will receive a prize.

Thursday, Feb. 13 — Smoking Cessation
Individuals can visit Lexington Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to participate in “Faces of a Quitter” and pledge to quit smoking or to help a loved one quit smoking by signing and having their photo taken with a heart-shaped cut out. A price comparison game that matches the amount of money that individuals can save after they quit smoking with other items that they can purchase, such as a car, house, or television, will also be available for individuals who wish to participate. Operation Heart will host this event in partnership with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Students Promoting Awareness, APhA-ASP’s Operation Self-Care, and the International Pharmaceutical Student Federation.

Friday, Feb. 14 — The Charm of Million Hearts
A health fair will be held at Lexington Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to educate the local community about Million Hearts and the “ABCS” of heart disease and stroke prevention. Tables at the health fair will provide information about appropriate aspirin therapy, blood pressure screenings, healthy eating, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation. The School of Medicine will also host a table on healthy diet and family history related to high cholesterol.

“The Million Hearts Initiative was a project that I knew our student pharmacists would become passionate about,” says Helen Tran, third-year student pharmacist and the senior chair of APhA-ASP’s Operation Heart. “Outreach projects such as Million Hearts Week allow our members an important opportunity to work together, engage patients, and showcase the role that pharmacists and student pharmacists play in impacting patient health.”

For more information about Million Hearts Week, please contact Helen Tran at helentran@umaryland.edu or Francis Nguyen, second-year student pharmacist, at francis.nguyen@umaryland.edu.

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