OXFORD, Miss. – Courtney Davis, who is working to demonstrate how pharmacists play an important role in diabetes care, was invited to discuss the topic at the American Diabetes Association’s recent fifth annual Disparities Partnership Forum in Washington, D.C.
At the Oct. 22-23 forum, the University of Mississippi clinical assistant professor of pharmacy presented a poster about her involvement with Project IMPACT: Diabetes, a national multi-site demonstration project supported by the American Pharmacists Association Foundation. The project’s goal is to improve diabetes care in underserved communities, such as the Mississippi Delta.
UM’s practice site for this project is the Diabetes Care Group, a diabetes specialty clinic in Jackson. Marshall J. Bouldin, the clinic’s chief medical officer, works closely with the project.
“I have been integrated into the clinic’s health care team with the specific role of medication management,” Davis said. “Patients are scheduled for one-on-one visits in which a comprehensive medication review is completed, an individualized self-management plan is developed and disease education is provided.”
Outcomes are measured by factors such as hemoglobin A1c, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, body mass index, a diabetic foot exam from the previous year, a comprehensive eye exam from the previous year and smoking status, among others. Patients are scheduled for a minimum of three visits within 12 months, with at least three months between each visit.
“Pharmacists, being the medication experts, bring this particular skill to the health care team,” Davis said. “The pharmacist is also very skilled in disease-state counseling and making treatment recommendations based on disease-state guidelines. While working with the project, I have been asked many drug-specific questions from providers at the clinic about both patients in the study and those that are not a part of the study. This shows me that there is value to what a pharmacist can bring to the team.”
Davis said she was pleasantly surprised that 71 patients enrolled in the project. She stressed the importance of connecting with these patients and giving them practical advice.
“Empowering these patients is crucial,” she said. “We can’t go home with the patients, so helping them feel empowered and able to manage their diabetes to a certain extent at home is what ultimately helps patients who do succeed get to their goals.”
Leigh Ann Ross, associate dean for clinical affairs for the UM School of Pharmacy, began working with Davis when she was a community pharmacy resident.
“It has been rewarding to see Dr. Davis develop into a knowledgeable practitioner and educator and to experience success with such an important project and garner national attention so early in her career,” Ross said.
Lauren Bloodworth, coordinator for student services and student professional development for the School of Pharmacy, is equally impressed with Davis’ dedication to improving diabetes care.
“I have worked with Dr. Davis for over two years, and she consistently exceeds the expectations of colleagues and patients alike by truly making a difference in the health of people living with diabetes and other chronic illnesses,” Bloodworth said. “She has a unique ability to become a partner with her patients, motivating and empowering them to lead healthier lifestyles and manage their health.”
UM’s Project IMPACT concludes in December. Davis hopes that her presentation inspires people to consider the positive outcomes of multidisciplinary and collaborative care models.
“I hope that those who heard my presentation learn more about the model of care that I have highlighted,” she said. “I think the strength of this project is displayed in the successful way that our health care team works together to treat patients.”