Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacy Professor Bridges the Alzheimer's Divide

Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacy Professor Bridges the Alzheimer's Divide

Article excerpt

Working with Alzheimer's disease patients may not be easy, but colleagues of Robert Cluxton, Pharm.D., insist that he makes it look as though it is. "There are some really good academic pharmacists and some really good clinical pharmacists," explained Ann McCracken, Ph.D., director of evaluation at the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. "He can do both. He bridges both sides with the human skills to work with staff, patients, and families, but also has the intelligence to be an academic researcher."

That ability and his strong performance in Alzheimer's care was why Cluxton was chosen to receive Eisai's hhc [human health care) Pharmacist Recognition Award. This is the sixth year that Eisai, maker of Aricept (donepezil), has offered this award program, which drew more than 300 entries this year. Out of these entries, three pharmacists were selected, representing the hospital, long-term care, and community pharmacy settings, respectively. Cluxton represents the community pharmacy setting.

The other winners are Iowa hospital pharmacist Anne Salamon, R.Ph, and Connecticut consultant pharmacist Peggy Memoli, Pharm.D., for long-term care. (For more on the awards program, see "Three pharmacists nab award for their strong Alzheimer's care," Drug Topics, Nov. 5.)

According to Cluxton, it takes patience, cooperation, and the ability to listen-traits that have served him well for more than 30 years as professor of pharmacy practice and family medicine at the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy at the University of Cincinnati. Cluxton quickly recognized the value of cooperation when he began working at Cincinnati's Alois Alzheimer Center. He, along with McCracken and Greg Warshaw, M.D., a professor of geriatric medicine, brought interdisciplinary groups of nurses, doctors, pharmacists, other specialists, and students to the facility to work together at the nation's first center to specialize in the care of patients with Alzheimer's disease. These interdisciplinary groups would meet and discuss patients at the bedside. "At Alois, we were thinking on the edge," he explained. "We were not satisfied with meeting goals, but exceeding the goals."

Meeting those goals also meant spending qualify time with patients, not "treating the chart," Cluxton told Drug Topics. …

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