Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Pharmacy Course on Women's and Men's Health

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Pharmacy Course on Women's and Men's Health

Article excerpt


Since the early 1990s, there has been a greater appreciation among health professionals of how gender issues impact health. The need for curricula to incorporate gender-related health issues has been raised by multiple health care disciplines including medicine, nursing, and pharmacy. (1-3) Much of this attention has focused on women's health, with several published descriptions of women's health content in the curricula. Examples include delivery of women's health courses, inclusion of objectives longitudinally across the curriculum, and incorporation of women's health in experiential components of the curriculum. (4-6) Although descriptions of elective courses in women's health for pharmacy students have been published, (5) literature describing women's health as part of the mandatory component of a pharmacy program is limited. To facilitate the delivery of women's health objectives across the pharmacy curricula, a curricular resource was made available in 2005 to colleges and schools through the US Department of Health and Human Services Administration (HRSA). (3)

Even less attention has been paid to men's health as an important component of health professional training compared with women's health. Although interest in developing policies for men's health has been increasing worldwide, there has been comparatively less recognition of men's health needs, possibly because of the differences between men and women in health seeking behavior and health services use. (7) Raising awareness about men's health issues should start with undergraduate training; however, there is a paucity of publications on men's health content in undergraduate curricula.

The Women's and Men's Health Module is a 2-credit mandatory course offered in second semester of the third year in the undergraduate pharmacy program at the University of Alberta. The bachelor of science program in pharmacy is currently 4 years, plus 1 preprofessional year. A new curriculum was launched in 2004, involving a major redesign of the content, structure, and teaching methods. The curriculum is primarily structured as system-based modules, with emphasis on the integration of knowledge and skills in the basic and clinical sciences. The Women's and Men's Health Module was designed as part of this new curriculum and was offered for the first time in 2007.

Content for the Women's and Men's Health Module was chosen based on women's and men's health needs identified in the literature. (1) Outcomes were mapped to the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy's Educational Outcomes for a Baccalaureate Pharmacy Graduate in Canada. (8) The curriculum committee approved the proposed content and delivery of the curriculum in 2003. The objectives, content, and teaching methods of the course on women's and men's health were further refined prior to the first offering. The HRSA curricular resource for women's health content in pharmacy curriculum was used as a guide. (3) Special consideration was given to the building of content and skills introduced earlier in the program. Each year, the course is modified in response to feedback from students and the content updated to coincide with changes in practice. An example is the legislation of prescribing privileges for pharmacists in Alberta in 2007. (9) Pharmacists can adapt a prescription and prescribe in an emergency, and pharmacists with additional prescribing authorization can prescribe independently, including initiating a prescription. (Adapting a prescription is modifying an existing prescription to meet the needs of the patient or to extend therapy duration for continuity of care. (9)) Aspects of prescribing were woven into the module in 2008 to expose students to the expanding scope of pharmacy practice.

This article will discuss the design and implementation of the Women's and Men's Health Module. The purpose of this course is to prepare pharmacy students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes to provide patient care for conditions relating to women's and men's health. …

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