PharmAlliance Launches New Publication, Highlights Pharmacist-Driven Public Health Interventions During COVID-19
Eshelman School of Pharmacy
Eshelman School of Pharmacy The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)
PharmAlliance, a global collaboration of pharmacy schools from Monash University (Melbourne, Australia), University College London (London, U.K.), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently launched a new quarterly newsletter called Policy Pulse on Practice.
The Policy Pulse on Practice aims to provide timely information and evidence for pharmacy educators, healthcare workers and public health leaders. The publication also aims to raise awareness about key global health practice issues and advance policy at the local and country level. Recipients can subscribe to the Policy Pulse on Practice mailing list here.
In the first edition, the publication highlights the intersection of public health, pharmacy and the COVID-19 pandemic. PharmAlliance researchers and practitioners are generating evidence that supports pharmacy’s involvement in both proactive and reactive solutions to global health problems.
Below, PharmAlliance collaborators are highlighted for their original research related to pharmacist-driven public health interventions within the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, studies provide policy insight on three critical areas:
- Enhancing access to medication management services and medications during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Identifying pharmacist training needs to implement effective COVID-19 services
- Expanding the role of pharmacy to improve COVID-19 testing, vaccine education, and vaccine rollout
Garfield S, et al. Medicines management at home during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative study exploring the UK patient/carer perspective. Int J Pharm Prac. 2020;49(8):530-532
From the author: Patients shielding or over 70 during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic had very variable experiences in relation to medicines management. A good continuous relationship with a community pharmacy and synchronisation of reordering dates for medicines were important factors in enabling a smooth transition once patients were staying at home. This has important implications for supporting housebound patients moving forwards – Garfield, UCL
Livet M, et al. Expanding telepharmacy services to address covid-prompted social determinants of health. Exploratory Research in Clinical and Social Pharmacy. 2021;2:100032.
From the author: Many patients face challenges with access to healthcare services and health literacy issues, given the complexity of the US healthcare system. COVID-19 has exacerbated these issues, especially among patients who face chronic conditions in rural and underserved areas. Our research demonstrates the positive impact a pharmacist can have to engage vulnerable patients and help them address key social determinants of health during the pandemic. – Livet, UNC
Bell S J, et al. Strategies to promote access to medications during the COVID-19 pandemic. Aust J Gen Practice. 2020;49(8):530-532
From the author: Many regulatory changes affecting prescribing and supply of medicines were implemented at short notice during 2020 to ensure ongoing access to medicines during the pandemic. This paper outlines the range of initiatves implemented by Australian pharmacists. – Bell, Monash
Carpenter L, et al. Rural community pharmacies’ preparedness for and responses to COVID-19. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2021;17(7):1327-1331.
From the author: Many rural pharmacies were negatively impacted during the pandemic. Rural pharmacies may have been better positioned to respond if they had disaster preparedness training and received regular policy guidance from professional bodies. Because many rural pharmacies are geographically isolated, travel to participate in trainings can be especially cost- and time-prohibitive. Creating mobile teams that visit pharmacists’ communities to offer disaster preparedness training and help adapt disaster preparedness plans could increase training participation. – Carpenter, UNC
UNC pharmacy students help with COVID testing in Buncombe county
Summary: Health Officials in Buncombe County, North Carolina, partnered with the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy to engage pharmacy students to help the county administer COVID-19 vaccines. As part of their curriculum, the pharmacy students completed an emergency training course. The training course prepared the students to serve as volunteer frontline workers for the county and assist with the coronavirus vaccine, COVID-19 testing, and the flu vaccine. Including the students as frontline workers was essential in providing critical staffing for the county in the wake of the pandemic.- Jon Easter, UNC
Ali N. How my fellow students’ conversations with family and friends are changing unsure minds about the COVID-19 vaccine. The Pharmaceutical Journal. 05 May 2021.
From the author: This article was published to describe our extracurricular vaccination course at UCL School of Pharmacy. The course was designed to enable pharmacy students to tackle vaccine hesitancy among their communities. – Ali, UCL
Jackson J, Al-Wassiti H. Here’s how pharmacies could boost Australia’s COVID vaccine rollout. The Conversation. June 11 2021.
From the author: Pharmacy responded positively to the potential opportunity to be engaged in COVID-19 vaccination. Over 60% of all community pharmacies expressed interest in being vaccination sites and over half of all pharmacists have trained as vaccinators. Other than pharmacists working in hospitals and vaccination hubs, the governments had not utilized the resources of the profession. We argued in this publication the governments should do so, particularly in view of a projected increase in supply of a wider range of vaccines and relaxation of storage conditions of some vaccines. – Jackson, Monash
Ozawa S. The right vaccination plan can speed up US economic recovery. Here’s what it should include. CNN Business. 28 January 2021
From the author: Historically, authorizing pharmacists to vaccinate has led to greater vaccination uptake and improved health outcomes. Involving more pharmacists in the vaccination effort will also allow doctors and nurses to focus on treating Covid-19 patients, which is important when they are stretched thin and feeling burned out. – Ozawa, UNC
December 5, 2023