Over the weekend of March 18, two student researchers from South Dakota State University presented posters at the 2022 American Pharmacist Association (APhA) annual meeting and exposition in San Antonio, Texas. Heidi Schultz and Alexa Vanden Hull presented on work done through the Community Practice Innovation Center (CPIC) and alongside its faculty, including Drs. Sharrel Pinto, Erin Miller, Aaron Hunt and Alex Middendorf.
Schultz’s poster showcased work done to gain practitioner perspectives on how to improve care for American Indians with diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Among other findings, the project team identified three key challenges patients face adhering to their treatment plans: First, that “patients have multiple challenges accessing health care services;” second, that “patients struggle to acquire and afford medications;” and third, that a “patient’s living conditions and other social determinants of health impact adherence.”
Social determinants of health were a major emphasis of the work detailed in the poster. The project team’s work showed that social factors like cost of living, transportation, or homelessness greatly impact patients’ ability to receive the care that they need. This work was conducted in part through interviews with practitioners from South Dakota Urban Indian Health (SDUIH).
Schultz is pursuing her Master’s in Public Health and is expected to complete her degree in August of this year. She says she enjoyed attending the APhA expo, despite not being a pharmacy student herself. For her it was an opportunity to meet and learn “from pharmacy professionals (and students) in commercial roles, hospital settings, research, and academia.” After completing her degree, she wants to work to “utilize public health education, especially disparities in health and social determinants of health in the Native American population in my current job and in any future ventures.”
Vanden Hull’s poster detailed efforts to develop an online Patient Stories Reporting Tool (PSRT) to improve communication and data sharing between various members of the health care team, including pharmacists. The project team identified that pharmacists stand in a unique position in relation to patients. As a result, patient care can be improved by enabling pharmacists to more effectively “document and share high impact patient intervention and clinical outcomes” with other members of the health care team.
The project team tested the PSRT and the results yielded three initial recommendations: “Cost Reduction,” “Medication Synchronization,” and “Continuous Glucose Monitoring.” Additional recommendations are anticipated if the tool were to be implemented further.
Vanden Hull is currently working on her Pharm.D. with the plan to graduate in May of 2024. For her, participating in the 2022 APhA expo “was a great way for me to learn more about the roles of pharmacies and pharmacists nationwide and gave me the opportunity to network with several professionals from my future career field.” After receiving her Pharm.D., Vanden Hull wants to become a community pharmacist and work in the Midwest region.
By presenting at this year’s expo, Schultz and Vanden Hull continue a long tradition of student researchers from SDSU presenting posters at the annual APhA meeting and exposition, and on work conducted through CPIC. You can read theirs and past posters by clicking the links below.