Students to assist seniors with medical use


POSTED: Friday, October 23, 2009

Advanced students at the University of Hawaii-Hilo College of Pharmacy will travel to rural areas throughout Hawaii as part of a federally funded project aimed at improving medication safety for seniors.

The program has received a $331,254 one-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program administered through the Cooperative State Research,

Education and Extension Service.

“;Research has shown that seniors have a greater risk of preventable adverse drug events and that medication therapy management is one of the primary health and safety issues associated with aging,”; Karen Pellegrin, principal investigator for the project, said in a news release. “;This issue is exacerbated in rural areas by limited access to specialized health care services.”;

She said the project is designed to improve patient outcomes by changing practices of those who prescribe medication for seniors and increase medication safety behaviors of seniors and their caregivers. The students will hold public seminars on medication safety.

Pharmacy practice fac-ulty will provide continuing education via distance technology to rural physicians and other clinicians, who can earn credits through the “;webinars”; toward license renewal.

Scott Holuby, an assistant professor in pharmacy who will supervise students in the program, said advanced-level student pharmacists will assist with the project as the College of Pharmacy “;continues its mission to improve health care in rural and underserved areas of the state.”;

He said the pharmacist's role is changing nationally and that “;the College of Pharmacy is helping to lead the way in the state of Hawaii.”;