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Polypharmacy Program Offers Unique, Interdisciplinary Pharmacy Rotation

Although the University of Louisville (UofL) does not have a school of pharmacy, it supports clinical Doctor of Pharmacy clerkship trainees primarily through pharmacy rotations at the University of Louisville Hospital (ULH) pharmacy service. ULH teaches pharmacy trainees in various aspects of health system pharmacy, ranging from general hospital pharmacy practice to specialty pharmacy services such as emergency department, infectious disease, critical care, pediatrics, ambulatory care, and more. 

In addition to ULH’s pharmacy clerkship program, the UofL School of Public Health & Information Sciences (SPHIS) Polypharmacy Program hosts pharmacy clerkship students for a “Medical Scholarship, Research and Education Rotation” (MSRER). Demetra Antimisiaris, PharmD, BCGP, FASCP, mentors students with assistance from colleagues in public health, medicine, and nursing. Dr. Antimisiaris is an associate professor in the SPHIS Department of Health Management & Systems Sciences; director of the Frazier Polypharmacy and Medication Management Program; and assistant dean for Continuing Medical Education & Professional Development.

The interdisciplinary MSRER is offered for pharmacy students from a variety of schools including Butler, Ohio Northern, University of Kentucky, Chicago State University, and others. The UofL SPHIS Polypharmacy Program has trained students from several different institutions, and Dr. Antimisiaris says that Each student brings a unique approach leaves with strong Louisville connections.

During their 4-to-6 week rotation, students work alongside academic health science faculty and gain experience working on various activities and projects. For example, in May/June 2020, the MSRER had three students (Shelby Stinson, Jasmine Browning, and Brittany McHolan) from the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy (UKCOP). Each student worked on a manuscript (with a chosen mentor) for publication. Stinson and Browning worked on a research study alongside Dr. Antimisiaris and the School of Nursing. McHolan worked on a study with PCA Pharmacy (Trilogy®) on its innovative “Meds to Home” project. Stinson and Browning concluded their rotation with a poster presentation at a national conference. McHolan is publishing part 2 manuscript of the “Meds to Home” project and also conducted a part 3 study in May. She will publish a separate manuscript as part of a series in a pub med indexed journal.

However, COVID-19 presented an unusual rotation experience for both Dr. Antimisiaris and the students.  Dr. Antimisiaris’s student from Ohio Northern, Tanner Hartman, had to halt in person experiential learning, rotation due to the COVID lock down. As a result, he completed his work from his home in Indiana. Hartman, who aspires to earn an MBA, really appreciated interaction with the UofL translation and commercialization team in the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation (EVPRI). Fortunately, he was able to participate with UL RI team pre lock down. The three students from UKCOP started and finished the rotation exclusively online. However, the group was able to meet for lunch outdoors the last day of rotation and meet face-to-face for the first time.

Student Reflections

Brittany McHolan: “I signed up for this rotation because I knew Dr. A from my interest in Geriatrics, leadership, and affiliation with ASCP. I arranged for Dr. A to come speak to the student chapter at UKCOP.  I always thought I was lacking in research ability but now I have changed my perspective because of this experience.”

Jasmine Browning: “Because UofL is a university without at school of pharmacy, this rotation is unusual in its interdiciplinary integration of collaborations. Interprofessional collaboraton makes you see what pharmacists can bring to table. Education and Academics can be an important way for pharmacists to contribute to improve healthcare.”

Shelby Stinson: “I was not originally very research based, and had anxiety about research. It was a great experience to produce soemthing that has not been published before.  I didn’t know that interdiciplinary education, research, and scholarship existed but now might consider this as a career path.”

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