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USC School of Pharmacy to Double Presence in Safety-net Clinics
Date:10/19/2011

of policy and advocacy. "This new initiative reflects our organizational commitment of increasing our members' community engagement in ways that create real value to patients, prescribers and faculty and students. USC sends a strong message to its fellow academic institutions that health and education go hand in hand toward creating sustainable, livable communities."

Appropriately, the launch of this new initiative coincides with American Pharmacists Month, which recognizes the profession's crucial role in improving patient care. Pharmacists help patients maximize the benefits of their medications by managing drug therapy and by identifying, preventing and resolving medication-related problems.

Pharmaceutical care services include educating and monitoring patients with chronic diseases—such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, high cholesterol and heart failure—who often take multiple medications for their conditions. Once diagnosed by a physician, patients are referred to a staff pharmacist for medication therapy management and ongoing monitoring of their drug regimen.

"Staff pharmacists, working under protocols, adjust prescribed therapies and provide patient education to help ensure that each patient reaches treatment goals safely and effectively," observes Steven Chen, associate professor of clinical pharmacy and one of the School's leading faculty serving in safety-net clinics.

The improved patient outcomes and cost savings that occur when pharmacists are part of patient-centric, health care teams have been shown in clinical settings ranging from hospitals to the Department of Veterans Affairs. A healthier population, in turn, should help drive down the health care costs that have risen so alarmingly—by keeping patients healthier and out of the emergency room and hospital.  Further, having a pharmacist manage medication therapy for the most complicated patients increases access to health care, as it frees up t
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SOURCE USC School of Pharmacy
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