Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Curriculum in Psychiatry and Neurology for Pharmacy Programs

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Curriculum in Psychiatry and Neurology for Pharmacy Programs

Article excerpt

Objective. To describe pharmacy curricula in psychiatry and neurology and to report on neuropsychiatric pharmacy specialists' views on optimal curriculum.

Methods. Design and administer one electronic survey to accredited pharmacy programs asking them to report information on curricula in psychiatry and neurology for the 2014-2015 academic year. Design and administer a separate electronic survey to board certified pharmacists with an academic affiliation who are members of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) asking about their teaching activities and their opinion on optimal curricula.

Results. Fifty-six percent of pharmacy programs and 65% of CPNP members responded to the surveys. The program survey revealed greater than 80% of topics were taught by full-time faculty. Didactic lecturing, team-based learning, and case studies were the most common teaching methods. Programs dedicated the most didactics (3 to 5 + hours) to epilepsy, depression, schizophrenia, substance use disorders, and pain. Autism, traumatic brain injury, personality, and eating disorders were either not taught or given [less than or equal to] 1 hour of didactics in most programs. Inpatient psychiatry had the most APPE placements with a mean of 19.6, range 0-83. APPE electives in psychiatry outnumbered those in neurology 5 to 1. CPNP member survey results showed 2 out of 3 members agreed that curriculum could be improved with additional APPEs in psychiatry and neurology.

Conclusion. Didactic hour distribution in psychiatry and neurology could be improved to better align with board certification in psychiatric pharmacy (BCPP) recommendations and disorder prevalence and complexity. Specialists recommend an experiential component in neurology and psychiatry to combat stigma and improve pharmacist knowledge and skills.

Keywords: curriculum, pharmacy, psychiatry, neurology, recommendations


In the United States, approximately 1 in 4 individuals suffer from a psychiatric diagnosis and 1 in 5 suffer from a neurologic condition. (1,2) Collectively, these neuropsychiatric disorders are the number one cause of disability in the United States, surpassing cardiovascular disease. (3) Neuropsychiatric disorders are also among the top 5 most costly disorders in the US, on par with cancer. (4) In his 2013 testimony to Congress calling for increased mental health care funding, Dr. Thomas Insel, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) medical director, reported the United States spends $317 billion annually on psychiatric disorders when considering direct health care expenditures and indirect costs including loss of productivity. (5) Neurologic conditions such as migraine, are among the most debilitating and costly of all chronic conditions. Direct costs for migraine treatment were found to be $2,571 per person per year higher than persons without migraine who suffer from other chronic conditions. (6) The cost of neuropsychiatric disorders is high but research shows that diagnosis and treatment can improve health outcomes and decrease costs. A 2016 global return on investment (ROI) analysis showed significant value in treating depression and anxiety with an ROI of 3-6 to 1, in dollars saved through improved productivity and health outcomes. (7) Recognizing the societal impact of one of the most common neuropsychiatric disorders, depression, the U.S. government published 2016 recommendations calling for widespread depression screening and referral for accurate diagnosis and treatment in persons aged 12 and above. (8,9)

Pharmacists require knowledge and skills in recognizing and treating these common and costly disorders, but the breadth and scope of education provided by pharmacy programs in the US remains largely unknown. The need to describe, evaluate and share knowledge of pharmacy curriculum is timely given the number of accredited programs offering a PharmD in the US has nearly doubled from 72 to 135 between 1987 and 2015. …

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