Interdisciplinary Education

Topics: Medicine, Health care, Pharmacy Pages: 16 (3771 words) Published: January 8, 2013

Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching Medication Adherence to Pharmacy and Osteopathic Medical Students Dana L. Singla, PharmD; George E. MacKinnon III, PhD; Karen J. MacKinnon, RPh; Wisam Younis, PharmD; Ben Field, DO†

The purpose of this project was to demonstrate to pharmacy and osteopathic medical students the value of interdisciplinary education through participation in an interdisciplinary medication adherence project. Each pharmacy student, assuming the role of a pharmacist, was paired with a medical student acting as a physician with a needlestick exposure requiring HIV prophylaxis therapy. Medical students were randomized to participate in one of three levels of pharmacist counseling. After completion of therapy, all students met to discuss adherence barriers, complete an attitudinal survey, and obtain a tablet count. Most pharmacy and medical students agreed or strongly agreed that participation in this project will help them work better within the health care team (82% and 87%, respectively) and that they should have more participation in interdisciplinary projects (83% and 76%, respectively). At the end of the project, these students reported positive attitudes concerning working on interdisciplinary health care education initiatives.


he benefits of interdisciplinary health care have been demonstrated throughout the health care system. Patients with chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease benefit from the expertise of various health care professionals in providing optimal care.1-8 This benefit is especially pronounced in the elderly population, which uses multiple health care resources and providers.2,9 Despite the benefits associated with interdisciplinary medicine and the team approach to health care, interdisciplinary education is not often formally integrated into health professionals’ education, and there is limited literature available

Dr Singla is assistant professor of pharmacy in the College of Pharmacy at Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona, where Dr George MacKinnon is chair in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and professor of pharmacy and medicine, and Professor Karen MacKinnon is director of professional laboratories and assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences. At the time of this study, Dr Younis was an assistant professor of pharmacy at the College of Pharmacy at Midwestern University. Dr Field was the associate dean of clinical education at Midwestern University’s Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine at the time this article was written. †Deceased. Correspondence to Dana L. Singla, PharmD, Department of Pharmacy Practice, Midwestern University, 19555 N. 59th Ave, Glendale, AZ 85308. E-mail:

about interdisciplinary education initiatives. However, some academic institutions have found multidisciplinary educational experiences to be a successful method of clinical teaching and have incorporated these methods into their curriculum.10,11 Introducing medical students to other healthrelated disciplines early in their academic programs is one way to promote the concept of teamwork.12 The purpose of this project is to demonstrate to medical and pharmacy students the value of interdisciplinary education through an interdisciplinary medication adherence project. Medication adherence was chosen as the topic because of its significance and impact throughout the United States health care system.13 The consequences of poor medication adherence are well documented in the literature.14,15 Poor adherence to medications decreases quality of life and escalates overall health care costs by increasing the risk and development of disease complications.16 Pharmacists can have a significant impact on medication adherence through various patient-counseling interventions.17-19 Adherence to a placebo prophylaxis regimen for postoccupational HIV exposure was chosen as the clinical scenario for this project...
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