Pharmacy Training at LECOM's Bayfront Campus

Practicing pharmacists had a chance to brush up on their professional skills during a one-day conference on Tuesday, August 10, 2010, at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Bayfront Campus. Nearly 20 pharmacists from across Pennsylvania and one from Ohio attended the workshop sponsored by the Pennsylvania Project, a consortium of the seven pharmacy schools in Pennsylvania. The coalition is planning workshops like this one across the state to keep up with the changing role of pharmacists.

Stephanie Harriman McGrath, PharmD, of Rite Aid in Pittsburgh, leads a role-playing exercise. Randy Heemer, PharmD, Assistant Professor at the LECOM School of Pharmacy plays the role of patient.

The title of the workshop was “Pharmacist-Delivered Patient Care: Patient Care Skills and Practice Development”. Topics included medication therapy management, preparing for patient visits, documenting patient visits, legal considerations, and the long term professional relationship between pharmacists and patients. Workshop attendees participated in lectures, discussions, and role-playing exercises to fully comprehend how to improve patient care.

Abby Kahaleh, PhD, Acting Assistant Dean for Experiential Education and Associate Professor at the LECOM School of Pharmacy, coordinated the Erie event. She said participating pharmacists need to earn continuing education credits to maintain their licenses. “They’re seeking to enhance their clinical skills, they’re seeking to enhance their marketing skills and keep up with the new rules and regulations for providing medication therapy management,” Kahaleh explained.

Kahaleh, who also spoke at the event, said the role of the pharmacist has changed from that of a pill dispenser to a professional who fosters a long-term relationship with their patients. “We’re trying to shift their focus from product-focused pharmacists to more patient-centered providers,” she said. Pharmacists are encouraged to interview their patients and ask about drug interactions or side effects. The information is then passed along to the patient’s health care provider. Taking input from the pharmacist into consideration, patients are often encouraged to make lifestyle changes. Physicians may also decide to change the amount or type of medication prescribed.

Other speakers included Randall Heemer, PharmD, the Director of Experiential Education and Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at the LECOM School of Pharmacy, and Stephanie Harriman McGrath, PharmD, a pharmacist for Rite Aid Pharmacy in Pittsburgh.

Shelly Wygant, PharmD, of Bayside Pharmacy in Erie, Bojana Stevich, PharmD, an Assistant Professor at the LECOM School of Pharmacy, and Janene Madras, PharmD, Director of Admissions and Student Services at the LECOM School of Pharmacy interview a mock patient during a role playing activity during the pharmacy training workshop.

Kahaleh said the pharmacists were pleased LECOM was selected as one of the workshop sites. “The advantage of this is they don’t have to go to a national meeting. They can actually train in their regional area and there’s no cost involved,” she said. Pharmacists who attended the workshop and completed the online coursework will earn 22 continuing education credits.


The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and LECOM School of Pharmacy offer innovative and affordable education in osteopathic medicine and pharmacy. From campuses in Erie, Pennsylvania, Greensburg, Pennsylvania and Bradenton, Florida, LECOM provides student-centered pathways to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals. Prepare yourself for medicine as your life’s profession.

August 11, 2010
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