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IPC Update: Pharmacy Students Join the Institute for Primary Care

Since pharmacy students and preceptors joined the institute in the fall of 2015, it seemed appropriate to have January’s monthly seminar focus on the role of clinical pharmacists in the primary care setting. Dr. Scott Bragg, clinical pharmacist with the Trident/MUSC Family Medicine Residency and assistant professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Outcome Sciences at the South Carolina College of Pharmacy, was the speaker. Dr. Bragg brought with him Cristin Adams, DO, a current family medicine resident who was spending the month with him on a pharmacotherapy rotation. Another guest in the audience was Cecily DiPiro, PharmD, who was a certified diabetes educator for the Diabetes Ten City Challenge while she was practicing at the Prescription Center Pharmacy near Charleston.

Dr. Deborah Carson, the South Carolina AHEC Associate Program Director for Education and a retired clinical pharmacy faculty member, set the stage by providing a brief history of the changes in pharmacy education and practice that have led to the practice of clinical pharmacy. Dr. Bragg explained that clinical pharmacy requires a fundamental interprofessional collaborative component and is primarily patient-oriented, rather that product-oriented. He identified typical roles that a clinical pharmacist has in a primary care setting and provided an overview of current opportunities and challenges facing clinical pharmacists. The group discussed possible ways to interface with pharmacists in their communities once they begin their healthcare careers. Dr. DiPiro shared examples of how her work with the Ten City Challenge, an initiative where pharmacists met with participants to manage their diabetes and demonstrated improved standards of diabetes care and reduced healthcare expenditures, led to positive patient outcomes. Dr. Adams described how much she enjoys collaborating with clinical pharmacists in her residency and getting further training in medication management. 

Student evaluations clearly showed that they enjoyed the session and came away with a new understanding of the role of a clinical pharmacist.  Future sessions will include information on population health and value-based care.

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