The annual meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy was held from July 21 to 25 in Boston and attracted approximately 2,700 participants, including clinicians, academicians, allied health professionals, and others interested in pharmacy and pharmacy education. The conference highlighted how new approaches to work relationships lead to greater success, current U.S. Food and Drug Administration practice in the review of drug applications, and the root causes of the opioid crisis and how pharmacists can reverse the trend.
In the social and administrative sciences roundtable session, Lourdes G. Planas, Ph.D., of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, discussed the definitions of the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance (RE-AIM) model components developed by Russell Glasgow, as well as specific questions and measures to consider using and useful strategies for applying the model to pharmacy practice-based research.
“One of our key conclusions was awareness of the importance of using a framework such as the RE-AIM model to plan, implement, and evaluate practice interventions. If the ultimate goal is to develop a practice innovation that persists beyond a research study, careful attention to the RE-AIM dimensions is essential. No one wants to see an effective practice intervention funded by research dollars go away after the research project concludes because the intervention was not sustainable,” Planas said. “Practice-based research using the RE-AIM model is essential to producing practice-based evidence that pharmacist interventions are valuable, clinically and economically, to patients, providers, and the health care system.”
During a mini session focusing on smartphones, social media, and their effects on student mental health, Jeff Cain, Ed.D., of the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy in Lexington, discussed factors contributing to the growing mental health crisis among college students. Many possible contributors include workload, finances, pressure to succeed, and breakdown in family structures. There is also a strong correlation between this crisis and use of smartphones and social media.
“College-age students exchanged many real-life relationships for digital ones that lack emotional nourishment. There is no escape from bad news because it is bombarding them through social media. They are viewing others’ curated lives. They sleep with their phones, which interrupts sleep. Therefore, they suffer from anxiety, stress, and depression,” Cain said. “Research shows smartphone presence reduces empathy and cognitive capacity. My research has shown relatively high rates of nomophobia among students. The problem is insidious because there are many positive uses of these tools, which are embedded in our lives.”
According to Cain, colleges should begin including digital media “counseling” in their wellness initiatives.
“Colleges need to understand and be prepared to counsel and warn against the negative effects of digital media,” Cain concluded.
During another session focused on interprofessional approaches to self-care education in oral health, Jennifer L. Mazan, Pharm.D., of Midwestern University in Dover Grove, Ill., and colleagues discussed how pharmacists can provide recommendations to dentists and patient counseling regarding drug interactions between patient medications and dental medications; oral implications of disease states such as diabetes, bone health, immunosuppression and renal/hepatic dysfunction; side effects of herbals or medications such as anticoagulants and medications used for respiratory or mental health conditions; and dental pain management.
“Interprofessional education is pertinent in oral health education. Pharmacists can provide patient education and recommendations to physicians and dentists regarding oral health implications of medications and medical conditions,” Mazan said. “Currently, literature is scarce in regards to the impact of pharmacy services within a dental practice. However, one study showed that dentists were 81 percent less likely to prescribe opioids when pharmacy services were integrated into a free dental clinic, and, when pharmacy services were not employed, opioid prescribing was five times greater.”
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