Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

My First Patient Program to Introduce First-Year Pharmacy Students to Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

My First Patient Program to Introduce First-Year Pharmacy Students to Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Directly acknowledging the role of individual behaviors on personal health, Healthy People 2010 emphasizes health promotion and disease prevention. (1) This includes promoting positive behaviors (such as the importance of regular exercise and eating a healthy diet) and preventing the start of negative behaviors (such as smoking or alcohol abuse). Healthy People 2010 notes "Data indicate that risk assessment and counseling interventions are delivered less frequently than other preventive interventions..." Healthy People 2010 set the objective to "Increase the proportion of schools of medicine, schools of nursing, and other health professional training schools whose basic curriculum for health care providers includes core competencies in health promotion and disease prevention." (1) In response to the Healthy People 2010 objective of increasing the teaching of health promotion and disease prevention in health professions, the Healthy People Curriculum Task Force was formed in 2002.2 The task force was convened by the Association of Academic Health Centers (AHEC) and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR). (2) The Healthy People Curriculum Task Force included representatives from medicine, pharmacy, nursing, and other allied health-professions. (2) The Task Force developed the Clinical Prevention and Population Curriculum Framework, a content guideline for curriculum development for health professions. (3) In July 2004, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Board of Directors voted to endorse the Clinical Prevention and Population Curriculum Framework. Additionally, AACP's Center for the Advancement of Pharmaceutical Education (CAPE) 2004 Educational Outcomes and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) Standards and Guidelines emphasize the importance of health promotion and disease prevention in pharmacy curricula. (4,5)

To accomplish the objectives of Healthy People 2010 and comply with CAPE Outcomes, Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (COPHS) established the My First Patient Program, an innovative curriculum developed to instruct first-year pharmacy students in the areas of health promotion, disease prevention, and behavior modification. The program also specifically addresses 2 components outlined in the Clinical Prevention and Population Curriculum Framework: Clinical Preventive Services-Health Promotion and Community Aspects of Practice. (3) The purpose of the My First Patient Program is to improve the pharmacy curriculum in the instruction of the core competencies of health promotion, disease prevention, and behavior change by teaching pharmacy students to take personal responsibility for their own health behaviors, serving as their own "first patient." This prepares them to become effective practitioners who can guide the improvement of health in their patients. This program represented a new approach to teaching students how to perform patient education in that it is an active-learning process in which the students must first learn and practice the skills of personal behavior modification to improve their own health. As Mahatma Gandhi said, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world." (6) From this quote, the faculty derived the following theme for the program: "In order to affect change in the health of the world, you must first take responsibility for your own health."

DESIGN

Program Development

Prior to developing the content of the My First Patient Program, faculty members conducted a baseline survey of first-, second-, and third-year pharmacy students to assess their perceived health status and identify current health behaviors. Items on the survey instrument included demographics; diet and nutrition; exercise habits; weight management; tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drug use; perceived level of stress and contributing stressors; safer sex practices; and health care utilization. …

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