Academy in Action

2014 Issue 1
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Academy in Action 

Research to Support a Significant Population

Arab Americans in the Detroit area will benefit from improved care, thanks to a research fellowship.

A new fellowship at Wayne State University (WSU) will help develop research expertise in community health outcomes for the high concentration of Arab Americans in southeast Michigan. Additionally, the research will advance the delivery of care from pharmacists to this significant population.

The $225,000 gift from the Arab American Pharmacists Association will operate under the direction of Dr. Linda A. Jaber, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice. The WSU-AAPA fellowship is a two-year program that will begin by assessing the demographic, behavioral and health-related characteristics of Arab Americans in southeast Michigan. The fellow will determine how community pharmacies can help meet the health needs of this group and develop pharmacy-based patient care practices. Through earlier research, Jaber provided the first representative, population-based, cross-sectional estimates of diabetes incidence among Arab Americans, drawing national attention to health disparities affecting this group.

“The WSU-AAPA fellowship is an excellent example of how we can interact with our community, the particular talents of our faculty, and the innovative thinking and commitment of our practitioner partners,” said Dr. Brian L. Crabtree, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice.

Strengthening the Local Connection

One of the fellow’s first steps will be to assess the healthcare needs of the Arab-American community. Community pharmacists will be surveyed regarding the help they need to deliver better care to this population. “There’s a lot of evidence of barriers to healthcare,” Jaber said.

The fellow will also explore the differences between patients’ perceptions of the role of the community pharmacist and how trained pharmacists view their own roles. Bridging that gap is one of the fellowship’s goals, Jaber said, which can be accomplished by providing educational programs. “We believe we can improve self-management of diabetes and also start looking at other chronic diseases that affect this community,” she said. Immunization training is another option under consideration.

Jaber also said there is a shift in healthcare policy toward community pharmacists. With diabetes, for example, “there are several services that can be conducted at the community level that can improve care,” including educating patients about risky behaviors. “Providing medication therapy management is very feasible at the community level.”

Find the Inner Leader

A University of Texas at Austin faculty member goes beyond the pharmacy curriculum to teach young women about leadership, effective communication and how to achieve their goals.

Dr. Janet C. Walkow is determined to improve whatever situation she is in and enhance the lives of people around her. Whether that means engaging and motivating young women on the UT Austin campus or in disadvantaged situations in other countries, Walkow believes that women need encouragement to discover what they want in life and go after it.

“Until you can lead yourself, you cannot lead anyone else,” Walkow said. “Everyone should be writing their own script.” Helping young women find their inner leader is her passion, which led to the creation of the Leading Women project.

Easing a Tough Transition

Walkow is a clinical associate professor at the College of Pharmacy and the executive director and chief technological officer of the Drug Dynamics Institute. With her former Rhone-Poulenc Rorer pharmaceuticals colleague Christine Jacobs, Walkow co-founded Leading Women to help others realize and achieve personal goals. Leading Women draws on the co-founders’ personal leadership experiences, as well as stories from other women, to create a collection of resources, advice and anecdotes.

Although Leading Women is currently separate from her work at UT Austin, Walkow hopes to eventually collaborate with groups on campus and spread her message of self-awareness. She and Jacobs are writing three books on women in leadership; the first one focuses on younger women.

“There is a lot written about being a teenager and about being a 20-something,” Walkow said. She has found little, however, on how a young girl can transition effectively as she becomes a young woman.

Assistant Dean for Development and Alumni Affairs Susan K. Brown said Walkow is always working on a new project and encouraging collaboration among people with similar interests. “She is a real champion for women and for women’s rights,” Brown said. “Especially with young girls, she aims to show that anything is possible and to promote women in science.”

Mentoring Makes a Difference

Walkow understands that being a professor goes beyond classroom instruction to include serving in a mentor capacity. She takes time to connect with students to offer guidance and direction regarding their chosen career paths. Walkow has also visited women in various countries, using her organization and charitable services to help people in impoverished situations. Through her travels and mentorship with women, Walkow continually reflects on the crucial service element of her job.

To learn more about Leading Women, visit http://www.leading-women.com.

© 2014 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
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