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Fisher Students, Faculty Aim to Increase Medication Adherence in the Community

February 2, 2017

This spring, students and faculty from the St. John Fisher College Wegmans School of Pharmacy and Wegmans School of Nursing are teaming up to compete in the Script Your Future Medication Adherence Challenge. The competition encourages an interprofessional team of students to create activities and initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of medication adherence.

A growing public health issue, statistics show that nearly three out of every four Americans don’t take their medication as directed; often exacerbating chronic health conditions and causing nearly 125,000 deaths in the United States each year. By participating in the challenge, Fisher students hope to educate members of the campus and greater Rochester community about how taking medication as directed can lead to positive health outcomes.

“It is important for patients and community members to understand the value of taking their medications as prescribed and to talk with their health care provider if they have questions about their medications,” said Dr. Kelly Conn, assistant professor in the School of Pharmacy. “This is an exciting campaign that inspires our future pharmacists and nurses to work together developing and implementing initiatives in our community that provide education and counseling about the importance of medication adherence and its impact on health.”

The challenge, now in its sixth year nationwide, kicked off on January 16 and will be held through March 17. Fisher is competing, for their first time this year, against 31 other teams from across the country. Their efforts will be evaluated by a panel of judges who will assess the creativity and originality of their activities, the interprofessional nature of the team, and outcome measures including volunteer hours as well as number of patients reached.

“It is an essential part of the health care system for providers from different disciplines to get together to share our unique knowledge and skills with one another. In doing so, we can work as a team to accomplish a similar goal: overall improved patient care and health outcomes,” said Joelle Arieno, a second-year student in the School of Pharmacy who is the student leader for the team’s effort. “We are excited to participate in our first ‘Script Your Future Challenge’ this year but even more so, to make this a tradition for years to come.”

The College’s team is led by four key faculty members, including Conn and Dr. Elizabeth Sutton Burke, representing the School of Pharmacy, and Tara Sacco and Dr. Kathleen Dever from the School of Nursing. Arieno is working with all four faculty members to organize the events and recruit students to volunteer in the campaign, which is focused on reaching the various members of the Fisher family, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members, through a series of outreach efforts on campus and around Rochester. The six events include presentations and information booths at the following locations:

  • Bay View YMCA (1209 Bay Road, Webster)
    9 to 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8
  • Southeast YMCA (111 East Jefferson Road, Pittsford)
    9 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15
  • Campus Center Atrium (Donald E. Bain Campus Center, St. John Fisher College)
    12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23
  • Campus Center Atrium (Donald E. Bain Campus Center, St. John Fisher College)
    12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28
  • First Friday Lecture (Joseph S. Skalny Welcome Center)
    8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Friday, March 3
  • Rochester Public Market (280 North Union St.)
    9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 4

At the events, students and faculty will distribute pill boxes, medication wallet cards, and educational materials about medication adherence. They will also offer blood pressure screenings, provide one-on-one counseling with patients, and encourage attendees to take the Script your Future medication adherence pledge.