School of Pharmacy Chosen for Statewide Award
Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association recognizes students, faculty for community outreach

The School of Pharmacy at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) recently was honored by the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association (PPA) for its efforts to educate the public on prescription drug abuse, medicine safety and medication adherence.

The School of Pharmacy is the recipient of the PPA’s 2013 Public Relations Award, which recognizes the school that did the most to develop public awareness as well as participate in community-based activities emphasizing education and the role of the pharmacist.

“We’re very excited to have been chosen for such a prestigious, statewide award,” said Beth Ann Miller, a second-year student and LECOM’s State Liaison to the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP). “As students, we’re proud that LECOM supports and encourages our commitment to educating others and to serving the community.”

The Public Relations Award was one of only three student organization awards given by the PPA at its annual conference, held in Gettysburg, Pa.

The efforts of students like (l-r) Julie Tuck, Alex Covey, Beth Miller, Chris Sedgwick and Paulina Trzcinka to educate children and teens about prescription drug abuse and medicine safety helped LECOM's School of Pharmacy win an award from the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association (PPA).

“Considering the very competitive environment in Pennsylvania for pharmacy education, we’re very pleased and honored that the students and faculty were recognized for their dedication to serving the community,” said Hershey Bell, M.D., Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean, LECOM School of Pharmacy; Associate Dean of Faculty Development.

The School of Pharmacy was chosen for the award because of its outreach efforts, including “Generation Rx” and “Katy’s Kids” presentations to local school children. In addition, faculty and Doctor of Pharmacy students offered events focused on medication adherence.

Generation Rx is designed to educate teens and adults on the dangers of prescription drug abuse and misuse. Approximately seven million Americans abuse prescription painkillers, sedatives and stimulants. In addition, an estimated one in five teens has abused a prescription drug.

During their presentations at high schools, LECOM students and faculty discuss what prescription drug abuse is, why prescription drugs are abused and the dangers. Unintentional drug overdoses, most of which involve prescription drugs, are one of the leading causes of accidental death in the United States.

“The unfortunate reality is that some teenagers have relatively easy access to prescription drugs from the medicine cabinets of friends and family members,” said Rachel Ogden, Pharm.D., Associate Dean and Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice. “Some teenagers also don’t realize how dangerous prescription drugs can be when they’re not used correctly, nor do they understand the legality of prescription drug abuse or how addictive they can be.”

The Katy’s Kids program is designed to teach children in kindergarten through second grade about medicine safety. While Generation Rx is focused more on abuse prevention, Katy’s Kids emphasizes the safe and proper use of medicine. “It’s particularly important to educate young children because in their eyes, some medicines look almost exactly like candy,” Dr. Ogden said.

LECOM’s presentations in schools, which also emphasize the role of the pharmacist, serve a number of purposes, Ogden said. “As a School of Pharmacy, we have an obligation to educate the public on matters of health and wellness,” she said. “We want our students to understand the importance of serving others and remaining active in their communities when they begin practice as pharmacists.”

Generation Rx was developed by the College of Pharmacy at Ohio State University and funded by Cardinal Health Foundation. Katy’s Kids was developed by the Iowa Pharmacy Association.

More about the LECOM School of Pharmacy

The LECOM School of Pharmacy is a nationally recognized leader in the evolution of pharmacy practice. The School emphasizes collaborative practices, community service, dedication to the profession of pharmacy, diversity, excellence in scholarship and teaching, integrity, leadership, life-long learning, professionalism and continuous quality improvement.

LECOM’s campus in Erie offers one of the few accelerated, three-year Doctor of Pharmacy programs in the country. Students interested in a more traditional, four-year program leading to the Pharm.D. degree may attend LECOM’s campus in Bradenton, Fla.

More about the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association

Founded in 1878, the PPA is a professional membership organization of more than 2,000 pharmacists and pharmacy students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, representing almost every facet of pharmacy practice. As the leading voice for pharmacy in Pennsylvania, the organization promotes the profession through advocacy, education and communication so as to enhance patient care and public health.

November 7, 2013
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