Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Incorporating a Diabetes Certificate Program in a Pharmacy Curriculum

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Incorporating a Diabetes Certificate Program in a Pharmacy Curriculum

Article excerpt


There is growing support within the pharmacy profession to require pharmacists to acquire specialized skills for chronic disease state management, which includes diabetes. It is difficult for community pharmacists to provide more than prescription dispensing and medication counseling. Pilot projects in pharmacist-delivered disease management services, patient coaching, and medication therapy management (MTM) have been successfully implemented. (1-6)

Without a sufficient number of pharmacists confident and competent in the delivery of specialized disease management and MTM services, advancement of the profession is unlikely. Colleges and schools of pharmacy have a responsibility to prepare students to meet future as well as current requirements of the profession. Achieving competency in specialized disease state management during pharmacy school would allow these future pharmacists to participate in advanced practice models upon entering practice. Provision of the American Pharmacist Association and American Association of Diabetes Educators (APhA/AADE) national diabetes certificate program as a required curricular component for student pharmacists could prepare them to provide diabetes pharmaceutical care. The certificate program fulfills the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) Standards 11 and 12 in that it uses active-learning strategies to promote patient-centered care and effective health and disease prevention. (7)

Pharmacists' expert knowledge of medications and their ability to contribute to coordinated care models and MTM makes them a valuable asset in meeting health savings initiatives. Programs, such as the Minnesota MTM Care Program, the Asheville Project, and the Diabetes Ten City Challenge demonstrated improvement in diabetes care in addition to significant cost savings with pharmacist intervention. (8-11) While not ubiquitous, payment for clinical pharmacy services is making the paradigm shift in pharmacies from product dispensing to service possible. Networks in which pharmacists provide specialized services to patients with diabetes require proof of the pharmacists' training or competency. In some cases, board certification such as Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist or Certified Diabetes Educator is required. In others, the pharmacist is only required to complete a recognized certificate program. (4)

Primarily targeting practicing pharmacists, certificate programs have been widely used to provide additional training for pharmacists to improve their knowledge and skills. (12,13) The APhA/AADE certificate program, Pharmaceutical Care for Patients with Diabetes, is a nationally recognized program for pharmacists. (14) In South Carolina, the APhA/AADE diabetes certificate program qualifies pharmacists to participate in the Palmetto Pharmacists Network (PPN). (15) The PPN originated as the regional pharmacy network in South Carolina for the Diabetes Ten City Challenge in 2005, a program that resulted in improved clinical and economic outcomes and patient satisfaction. (9)

The literature documents diabetes elective courses and locally developed certificate programs that were embedded within the curriculum for a self-selected group of pharmacy students. Students improved their skills related to a broad range of diabetes topics. (16,17) In addition, the literature describes the use of diabetes certificate programs to train practicing pharmacists. (13) The pharmacists who received training had improved knowledge and confidence, were more likely to provide diabetes care, and subsequently more likely to document and bill for these services.

Evaluation of the incorporation of a nationally recognized diabetes certificate program into the required pharmacy curriculum has not been described. This paper describes implementation of such a program at the South Carolina College of Pharmacy (SCCP) and how it impacted student knowledge, skills, and confidence related to the pharmaceutical care of patients with diabetes. …

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