Pharmacy School Competes in National Medication Adherence Challenge

Students and faculty provide counseling at free clinic, health fair

Pharmacy students, faculty and residents volunteered at the Jackson Free Clinic every Saturday in February.

Pharmacy students, faculty and residents volunteered at the Jackson Free Clinic every Saturday in February.

OXFORD, Miss. – A student-developed awareness campaign at the Jackson Free Clinic aimed at educating patients on the importance of taking medication as prescribed has won an award as part of a national competition.

The Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge, sponsored by the National Consumers League, challenges students in health professions to use creative campaigns to promote medication adherence in their communities. The School of Pharmacy won a Chronic Condition Outreach Award for its 2013 campaign.

“This year, I wanted a way to have our students partner with several other schools at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, as one of the challenge’s focuses is to be interprofessional,” said Katie McClendon, interim assistant dean for student services on the school’s Jackson campus. “Given the already existing work at the Jackson Free Clinic and the interprofessional atmosphere there, I thought it would be a good fit.”

The Jackson Free Clinic is run by students at UMMC and volunteer physicians from the community. It provides nonemergency care to individuals in Jackson who cannot otherwise pay for services. The nonprofit’s board is composed of UMMC medical, dental, physical therapy and occupational therapy students, along with a community physician and physician medical director. Pharmacy students will soon join the board.

Every Saturday in February, pharmacy students volunteered at the clinic, working with faculty and residents to counsel patients and increase medication adherence.

“For every patient that we counseled, we would give a Script Your Future wallet card that listed all of (his or her) current medications and included doses, indications and directions,” said Carlos Black, a third-year professional pharmacy student from Louisville. “We kept track of the number of wallet cards distributed to determine how many patients we counseled.”

Besides working at the clinic, the school participated in the Belhaven University Health Fair to provide counseling to college students.

Eighteen pharmacy students counseled 52 patients throughout the month at the Jackson Free Clinic, said Black, who served as student coordinator for the campaign. At Belhaven, seven pharmacy students saw 106 patients.

Thomas Webb, a fourth-year professional pharmacy student from Philadelphia, said that he appreciated the opportunity to work in an interprofessional setting while competing in the adherence challenge.

“The Jackson Free Clinic is really unique in that every student walks away from it gaining something,” Webb said. “Having the ability to work alongside medical students as they review patients with complicated diseases such as diabetes and hypertension can be very rewarding for a pharmacy student.”

The school submitted two applications for Script Your Future awards at the close of the competition. The results of the challenge will be announced this summer.