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1.  The Science of Safety Curriculum in US Colleges and Schools of Pharmacy 
Objective. To describe the integration of science of safety (SoS) topics in doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) curricula of US colleges and schools of pharmacy.
Methods. A questionnaire that contained items pertaining to what and how SoS topics are taught in PharmD curricula was e-mailed to representatives at 107 US colleges and schools of pharmacy.
Results. The majority of the colleges and schools responding indicated that they had integrated SoS topics into their curriculum, however, some gaps (eg, teaching students about communicating risk, Food and Drug Administration [FDA] Sentinel Initiative, utilizing patient databases) were identified that need to be addressed.
Conclusions. The FDA and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) should continue to collaborate to develop resources needed to ensure that topics proposed by the FDA in their SoS framework are taught at all colleges and schools of pharmacy.
PMCID: PMC3175655  PMID: 21969727
medication safety; pharmacy education; curriculum; science of safety
2.  Association of Medical Students' Reports of Interactions with the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industries and Medical School Policies and Characteristics: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(10):e1001743.
Aaron Kesselheim and colleagues compared US medical students' survey responses regarding pharmaceutical company interactions with the schools' AMSA PharmFree scorecard and Institute on Medicine as a Profession's (IMAP) scores.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Professional societies use metrics to evaluate medical schools' policies regarding interactions of students and faculty with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. We compared these metrics and determined which US medical schools' industry interaction policies were associated with student behaviors.
Methods and Findings
Using survey responses from a national sample of 1,610 US medical students, we compared their reported industry interactions with their schools' American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard and average Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) Conflicts of Interest Policy Database score. We used hierarchical logistic regression models to determine the association between policies and students' gift acceptance, interactions with marketing representatives, and perceived adequacy of faculty–industry separation. We adjusted for year in training, medical school size, and level of US National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. We used LASSO regression models to identify specific policies associated with the outcomes. We found that IMAP and AMSA scores had similar median values (1.75 [interquartile range 1.50–2.00] versus 1.77 [1.50–2.18], adjusted to compare scores on the same scale). Scores on AMSA and IMAP shared policy dimensions were not closely correlated (gift policies, r = 0.28, 95% CI 0.11–0.44; marketing representative access policies, r = 0.51, 95% CI 0.36–0.63). Students from schools with the most stringent industry interaction policies were less likely to report receiving gifts (AMSA score, odds ratio [OR]: 0.37, 95% CI 0.19–0.72; IMAP score, OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.19–1.04) and less likely to interact with marketing representatives (AMSA score, OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.15–0.69; IMAP score, OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.14–0.95) than students from schools with the lowest ranked policy scores. The association became nonsignificant when fully adjusted for NIH funding level, whereas adjusting for year of education, size of school, and publicly versus privately funded school did not alter the association. Policies limiting gifts, meals, and speaking bureaus were associated with students reporting having not received gifts and having not interacted with marketing representatives. Policy dimensions reflecting the regulation of industry involvement in educational activities (e.g., continuing medical education, travel compensation, and scholarships) were associated with perceived separation between faculty and industry. The study is limited by potential for recall bias and the cross-sectional nature of the survey, as school curricula and industry interaction policies may have changed since the time of the survey administration and study analysis.
As medical schools review policies regulating medical students' industry interactions, limitations on receipt of gifts and meals and participation of faculty in speaking bureaus should be emphasized, and policy makers should pay greater attention to less research-intensive institutions.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Making and selling prescription drugs and medical devices is big business. To promote their products, pharmaceutical and medical device companies build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, by organizing educational meetings and sponsored events, and by giving gifts. Financial relationships begin early in physicians' careers, with companies providing textbooks and other gifts to first-year medical students. In medical school settings, manufacturers may help to inform trainees and physicians about developments in health care, but they also create the potential for harm to patients and health care systems. These interactions may, for example, reduce trainees' and trained physicians' skepticism about potentially misleading promotional claims and may encourage physicians to prescribe new medications, which are often more expensive than similar unbranded (generic) drugs and more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than older drugs. To address these and other concerns about the potential career-long effects of interactions between medical trainees and industry, many teaching hospitals and medical schools have introduced policies to limit such interactions. The development of these policies has been supported by expert professional groups and medical societies, some of which have created scales to evaluate the strength of the implemented industry interaction policies.
Why Was This Study Done?
The impact of policies designed to limit interactions between students and industry on student behavior is unclear, and it is not known which aspects of the policies are most predictive of student behavior. This information is needed to ensure that the policies are working and to identify ways to improve them. Here, the researchers investigate which medical school characteristics and which aspects of industry interaction policies are most predictive of students' reported behaviors and beliefs by comparing information collected in a national survey of US medical students with the strength of their schools' industry interaction policies measured on two scales—the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard and the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) Conflicts of Interest Policy Database.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers compared information about reported gift acceptance, interactions with marketing representatives, and the perceived adequacy of faculty–industry separation collected from 1,610 medical students at 121 US medical schools with AMSA and IMAP scores for the schools evaluated a year earlier. Students at schools with the highest ranked interaction policies based on the AMSA score were 63% less likely to accept gifts as students at the lowest ranked schools. Students at the highest ranked schools based on the IMAP score were about half as likely to accept gifts as students at the lowest ranked schools, although this finding was not statistically significant (it could be a chance finding). Similarly, students at the highest ranked schools were 70% less likely to interact with sales representatives as students at the lowest ranked schools. These associations became statistically nonsignificant after controlling for the amount of research funding each school received from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Policies limiting gifts, meals, and being a part of speaking bureaus (where companies pay speakers to present information about the drugs for dinners and other events) were associated with students' reports of receiving no gifts and of non-interaction with sales representatives. Finally, policies regulating industry involvement in educational activities were associated with the perceived separation between faculty and industry, which was regarded as adequate by most of the students at schools with such policies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that policies designed to limit industry interactions with medical students need to address multiple aspects of these interactions to achieve changes in the behavior and attitudes of trainees, but that policies limiting gifts, meals, and speaking bureaus may be particularly important. These findings also suggest that the level of NIH funding plays an important role in students' self-reported behaviors and their perceptions of industry, possibly because institutions with greater NIH funding have the resources needed to implement effective policies. The accuracy of these findings may be limited by recall bias (students may have reported their experiences inaccurately), and by the possibility that industry interaction policies may have changed in the year that elapsed between policy grading and the student survey. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that limitations on gifts should be emphasized when academic medical centers refine their policies on interactions between medical students and industry and that particular attention should be paid to the design and implementation of policies that regulate industry interactions in institutions with lower levels of NIH funding.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice document, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Information about the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Just Medicine campaign (formerly the PharmFree campaign) and about the AMSA Scorecard is available
Information about the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and about its Conflicts of Interest Policy Database is also available
“Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide” is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that medical schools can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion
The US Institute of Medicine's report “Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice” recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The ALOSA Foundation provides evidence-based, non-industry-funded education about treating common conditions and using prescription drugs
PMCID: PMC4196737  PMID: 25314155
3.  Perspectives on Educating Pharmacy Students About the Science of Safety 
Objective. To identify opinions about pharmacy graduates’ science of safety (SoS) educational needs.
Methods. Semi-structured interviews were performed with 25 educators and researchers at US pharmacy colleges and schools and 5 individuals from associations engaged in drug safety-related issues.
Results. Themes that emerged from the 30 interviews with key informants included: pharmacists should meet minimum SoS requirements; medication safety education is inconsistent; and barriers exist to improving SoS curricula. Student deficiencies noted included the lack of: student acceptance of a “culture of safety”: ability to effectively communicate verbally about medication safety; knowledge of the drug development process; and quality improvement skills. Key informants did not agree on how to address these gaps.
Conclusions. While educators, researchers, and other leaders in drug safety-related issues thought that US colleges and schools of pharmacy covered portions of SoS well, there were perceived deficiencies. Minimum standards should be set to assist with curricular adoption of SoS.
PMCID: PMC3175660  PMID: 21969728
medication safety; patient safety pharmacy education; science of safety; education
4.  Interactions between Non-Physician Clinicians and Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001561.
In a systematic review of studies of interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry, Quinn Grundy and colleagues found that many of the issues identified for physicians' industry interactions exist for non-physician clinicians.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
With increasing restrictions placed on physician–industry interactions, industry marketing may target other health professionals. Recent health policy developments confer even greater importance on the decision making of non-physician clinicians. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the types and implications of non-physician clinician–industry interactions in clinical practice.
Methods and Findings
We searched MEDLINE and Web of Science from January 1, 1946, through June 24, 2013, according to PRISMA guidelines. Non-physician clinicians eligible for inclusion were: Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, Physician Assistants, pharmacists, dieticians, and physical or occupational therapists; trainee samples were excluded. Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria. Data were synthesized qualitatively into eight outcome domains: nature and frequency of industry interactions; attitudes toward industry; perceived ethical acceptability of interactions; perceived marketing influence; perceived reliability of industry information; preparation for industry interactions; reactions to industry relations policy; and management of industry interactions. Non-physician clinicians reported interacting with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Clinicians across disciplines met with pharmaceutical representatives regularly and relied on them for practice information. Clinicians frequently received industry “information,” attended sponsored “education,” and acted as distributors for similar materials targeted at patients. Clinicians generally regarded this as an ethical use of industry resources, and felt they could detect “promotion” while benefiting from industry “information.” Free samples were among the most approved and common ways that clinicians interacted with industry. Included studies were observational and of varying methodological rigor; thus, these findings may not be generalizable. This review is, however, the first to our knowledge to provide a descriptive analysis of this literature.
Non-physician clinicians' generally positive attitudes toward industry interactions, despite their recognition of issues related to bias, suggest that industry interactions are normalized in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. Industry relations policy should address all disciplines and be implemented consistently in order to mitigate conflicts of interest and address such interactions' potential to affect patient care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Making and selling health care goods (including drugs and devices) and services is big business. To maximize the profits they make for their shareholders, companies involved in health care build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, organizing educational meetings, providing samples of their products, giving gifts, and holding sponsored events. These relationships help to keep physicians informed about new developments in health care but also create the potential for causing harm to patients and health care systems. These relationships may, for example, result in increased prescription rates of new, heavily marketed medications, which are often more expensive than their generic counterparts (similar unbranded drugs) and that are more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than long-established drugs. They may also affect the provision of health care services. Industry is providing an increasingly large proportion of routine health care services in many countries, so relationships built up with physicians have the potential to influence the commissioning of the services that are central to the treatment and well-being of patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
As a result of concerns about the tension between industry's need to make profits and the ethics underlying professional practice, restrictions are increasingly being placed on physician–industry interactions. In the US, for example, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act now requires US manufacturers of drugs, devices, and medical supplies that participate in federal health care programs to disclose all payments and gifts made to physicians and teaching hospitals. However, other health professionals, including those with authority to prescribe drugs such as pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and nurse practitioners are not covered by this legislation or by similar legislation in other settings, even though the restructuring of health care to prioritize primary care and multidisciplinary care models means that “non-physician clinicians” are becoming more numerous and more involved in decision-making and medication management. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers examine the nature and implications of the interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 15 published studies that examined interactions between non-physician clinicians (Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, midwives, pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and dieticians) and industry (corporations that produce health care goods and services). They extracted the data from 16 publications (representing 15 different studies) and synthesized them qualitatively (combined the data and reached word-based, rather than numerical, conclusions) into eight outcome domains, including the nature and frequency of interactions, non-physician clinicians' attitudes toward industry, and the perceived ethical acceptability of interactions. In the research the authors identified, non-physician clinicians reported frequent interactions with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Most non-physician clinicians met industry representatives regularly, received gifts and samples, and attended educational events or received educational materials (some of which they distributed to patients). In these studies, non-physician clinicians generally regarded these interactions positively and felt they were an ethical and appropriate use of industry resources. Only a minority of non-physician clinicians felt that marketing influenced their own practice, although a larger percentage felt that their colleagues would be influenced. A sizeable proportion of non-physician clinicians questioned the reliability of industry information, but most were confident that they could detect biased information and therefore rated this information as reliable, valuable, or useful.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings suggest that non-physician clinicians generally have positive attitudes toward industry interactions but recognize issues related to bias and conflict of interest. Because these findings are based on a small number of studies, most of which were undertaken in the US, they may not be generalizable to other countries. Moreover, they provide no quantitative assessment of the interaction between non-physician clinicians and industry and no information about whether industry interactions affect patient care outcomes. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that industry interactions are normalized (seen as standard) in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. This normalization creates the potential for serious risks to patients and health care systems. The researchers suggest that it may be unrealistic to expect that non-physician clinicians can be taught individually how to interact with industry ethically or how to detect and avert bias, particularly given the ubiquitous nature of marketing and promotional materials. Instead, they suggest, the environment in which non-physician clinicians practice should be structured to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of interactions with industry.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by James S. Yeh and Aaron S. Kesselheim
The American Medical Association provides guidance for physicians on interactions with pharmaceutical industry representatives, information about the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and a toolkit for preparing Physician Payments Sunshine Act reports
The International Council of Nurses provides some guidance on industry interactions in its position statement on nurse-industry relations
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice website, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that schools of medicine and pharmacy can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion.
The Institute of Medicine's Report on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The University of California, San Francisco, Office of Continuing Medical Education offers a course called Marketing of Medicines
PMCID: PMC3841103  PMID: 24302892
5.  Pharmacoeconomics Education in US Colleges and Schools of Pharmacy 
Objective. To determine the extent of pharmacoeconomics education in US colleges and schools of pharmacy provided to doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students in 2011.
Methods. E-mails requesting syllabi and information about courses covering pharmacoeconomic topics were sent to all US colleges and schools of pharmacy from which PharmD students had graduated in 2011 (n=103).
Results. Of 87 responding pharmacy colleges and schools, 85 provided pharmacoeconomics education in 2011. The number of hours dedicated to pharmacoeconomic-related topics varied from 2 to 60 per year (mean=20).
Conclusions. Pharmacoeconomics education is provided at almost all US colleges and schools of pharmacy; however, variation in the number of teaching hours and topics covered demonstrates a lack of standardization in the PharmD curriculum. Pharmacy administrators and educators should invest more resources and tools to standardize training in this area.
PMCID: PMC3776899  PMID: 24052648
pharmacoeconomics; pharmacy education; curriculum
6.  Advancing interprofessional education through the use of high fidelity human patient simulators  
Pharmacy Practice  2013;11(2):61-65.
Modern medical care increasingly requires coordinated teamwork and communication between healthcare professionals of different disciplines. Unfortunately, healthcare professional students are rarely afforded the opportunity to learn effective methods of interprofessional (IP) communication and teamwork strategies during their education. The question of how to best incorporate IP interactions in the curricula of the schools of health professions remains unanswered.
We aim to solve the lack of IP education in the pharmacy curricula through the use of high fidelity simulation (HFS) to allow teams of medical, pharmacy, nursing, physician assistant, and social work students to work together in a controlled environment to solve cases of complex medical and social issues.
Once weekly for a 4-week time period, students worked together to complete complex simulation scenarios in small IP teams consisting of pharmacy, medical, nursing, social work, and physician assistant students. Student perception of the use of HFS was evaluated by a survey given at the conclusion of the HFS sessions. Team communication was evaluated through the use of Communication and Teamwork Skills (CATS) Assessment by 2 independent evaluators external to the project.
The CATS scores improved from the HFS sessions 1 to 2 (p = 0.01), 2 to 3 (p = 0.035), and overall from 1 to 4 (p = 0.001). The inter-rater reliability between evaluators was high (0.85, 95% CI 0.71, 0.99). Students perceived the HFS improved: their ability to communicate with other professionals (median =4); confidence in patient care in an IP team (median=4). It also stimulated student interest in IP work (median=4.5), and was an efficient use of student time (median=4.5)
The use of HFS improved student teamwork and communication and was an accepted teaching modality. This method of exposing students of the health sciences to IP care should be incorporated throughout the curricula.
PMCID: PMC3798176  PMID: 24155851
Patient Simulation; Interprofessional Relations; Patient Care Team; Education, Professional; United States
7.  Science of Safety Topic Coverage in Experiential Education in US and Taiwan Colleges and Schools of Pharmacy 
Objective. To compare the science of safety (SoS) topic coverage and associated student competencies in the experiential education curricula of colleges and schools of pharmacy in the United States and Taiwan.
Methods. The experiential education director, assistant director, or coordinator at a random sample of 34 US colleges and schools of pharmacy and all 7 Taiwan schools of pharmacy were interviewed and then asked to complete an Internet-based survey instrument.
Results. Faculty members in both countries perceived that experiential curricula were focused on the postmarketing phase of the SoS, and that there is a need for the pharmacy experiential curricula to be standardized in order to fill SoS coverage gaps. Inter-country differences in experiential SoS coverage were noted in topics included for safety biomarkers that signal potential for drug-induced problems and pharmacogenomics.
Conclusions. Experiential SoS topic coverage and student ability gaps were perceived within and between US and Taiwan colleges and schools of pharmacy.
PMCID: PMC3279028  PMID: 22345721
science of safety; experiential education; survey research; international
8.  THE VAXED PROJECT: An Assessment of Immunization Education in Canadian Health Professional Programs 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:86.
Knowledge & attitudes of healthcare providers (HCP) have significant impact on frequency with which vaccines are offered & accepted but many HCP are ill equipped to make informed recommendations about vaccine merits & risks. We performed an assessment of the educational needs of trainees regarding immunization and used the information thus ascertained to develop multi-faceted, evaluable, educational tools which can be integrated into formal education curricula.
(i) A questionnaire was sent to all Canadian nursing, medical & pharmacy schools to assess immunization-related curriculum content (ii) A 77-item web-based, validated questionnaire was emailed to final-year students in medicine, nursing, & pharmacy at two universities in Nova Scotia, Canada to assess knowledge, attitudes, & behaviors reflecting current immunization curriculum.
The curriculum review yielded responses from 18%, 48%, & 56% of medical, nursing, & pharmacy schools, respectively. Time spent on immunization content varied substantially between & within disciplines from <1 to >50 hrs. Most schools reported some content regarding vaccine preventable diseases, immunization practice & clinical skills but there was considerable variability and fewer schools had learning objectives or formal evaluation in these areas. 74% of respondents didn't feel comfortable discussing vaccine side effects with parents/patients & only 21% felt they received adequate teaching regarding immunization during training.
Important gaps were identified in the knowledge of graduating nursing, medical, & pharmacy trainees regarding vaccine indications/contraindications, adverse events & safety. The national curriculum review revealed wide variability in immunization curriculum content & evaluation. There is clearly a need for educators to assess current curricula and adapt existing educational resources such as the Immunization Competencies for Health Professionals in Canada.
PMCID: PMC3002370  PMID: 21110845
9.  Teaching Evaluation Practices in Colleges and Schools of Pharmacy 
To document teaching evaluation practices in colleges and schools of pharmacy.
A 51-item questionnaire was developed based on the instrument used in a previous study with modifications made to address changes in pharmacy education. An online survey service was used to distribute the electronic questionnaire to the deans of 98 colleges and schools of pharmacy in the United States.
Completed surveys were received from 89 colleges and schools of pharmacy. All colleges/schools administered student evaluations of classroom and experiential teaching. Faculty peer evaluation of classroom teaching was used by 66% of colleges/schools. Use of other evaluation methods had increased over the previous decade, including use of formalized self-appraisal of teaching, review of teaching portfolios, interviews with samples of students, and review by teaching experts. While the majority (55%) of colleges/schools administered classroom teaching evaluations at or near the conclusion of a course, 38% administered them at the midpoint and/or conclusion of a faculty member's teaching within a team-taught course. Completion of an online evaluation form was the most common method used for evaluation of classroom (54%) and experiential teaching (72%).
Teaching evaluation methods used in colleges and schools of pharmacy expanded from 1996 to 2007 to include more evaluation of experiential teaching, review by peers, formalized self-appraisal of teaching, review of teaching portfolios, interviews with samples of students, review by teaching experts, and evaluation by alumni. Procedures for conducting student evaluations of teaching have adapted to address changes in curriculum delivery and technology.
PMCID: PMC2769525  PMID: 19885072
teaching; evaluation; assessment; survey
10.  The Role of Hidden Curriculum in Teaching Pharmacy Students About Patient Safety 
Objective. To examine how hidden and informal curricula shaped pharmacy students’ learning about patient safety.
Methods. A preliminary study exploring planned patient safety content in pharmacy curricula at 3 UK schools of pharmacy was conducted. In-depth case studies were then carried out at 2 schools of pharmacy to examine patient safety education as delivered.
Results. Informal learning from teaching practitioners was assigned high levels of credibility by the students, indicating the importance of role models in practice. Students felt that the hidden lessons received in the form of voluntary work experience compensated for limited practice exposure and elements of patient safety not adequately addressed in the formal curriculum, such as learning about safe systems, errors, and professionalism.
Conclusions. Patient safety is a multifaceted concept and the findings from this study highlight the importance of pharmacy students learning in a variety of settings to gain an appreciation of these different facets.
PMCID: PMC3175654  PMID: 21969729
patient safety; curriculum; pharmacy education
11.  Pharmacy cases in Second Life: an elective course 
Interactive pharmacy case studies are an essential component of the pharmacy curriculum. We recently developed an elective course at the Rangel College of Pharmacy in pharmacy case studies for second- and third-year Doctor of Pharmacy students using Second Life® (SL), an interactive three-dimensional virtual environment that simulates the real world. This course explored the use of SL for education and training in pharmacy, emphasizing a case-based approach. Virtual worlds such as SL promote inquiry-based learning and conceptual understanding, and can potentially develop problem-solving skills in pharmacy students. Students were presented ten case scenarios that primarily focused on drug safety and effective communication with patients. Avatars, representing instructors and students, reviewed case scenarios during sessions in a virtual classroom. Individually and in teams, students participated in active-learning activities modeling both the pharmacist’s and patient’s roles. Student performance and learning were assessed based on SL class participation, activities, assignments, and two formal, essay-type online exams in Blackboard 9. Student course-evaluation results indicated favorable perceptions of content and delivery. Student comments included an enhanced appreciation of practical issues in pharmacy practice, flexibility of attendance, and an increased ability to focus on course content. Excellent student participation and performance in weekly active-learning activities translated into positive performance on subsequent formal assessments. Students were actively engaged and exposed to topics pertinent to pharmacy practice that were not covered in the required pharmacy curriculum. The multiple active-learning assignments were successful in increasing students’ knowledge, and provided additional practice in building the communication skills beneficial for students preparing for experiential clinical rotations.
PMCID: PMC3650877  PMID: 23762008
Second Life; virtual worlds; pharmacy case studies; computer simulation; health education; pharmacy education
12.  A Train-the-Trainer Approach to a Shared Pharmacogenomics Curriculum for US Colleges and Schools of Pharmacy 
Objective. To assess pharmacy faculty trainers’ perceptions of a Web-based train-the-trainer program for PharmGenEd, a shared pharmacogenomics curriculum for health professional students and licensed clinicians.
Methods. Pharmacy faculty trainers (n=58, representing 39 colleges and schools of pharmacy in the United States and 1 school from Canada) participated in a train-the-trainer program consisting of up to 9 pharmacogenomics topics. Posttraining survey instruments assessed faculty trainers’ perceptions toward the training program and the likelihood of their adopting the educational materials as part of their institution’s curriculum.
Results. Fifty-five percent of faculty trainers reported no prior formal training in pharmacogenomics. There was a significant increase (p<0.001) in self-reported ability to teach pharmacogenomics to pharmacy students after participants viewed the webinar and obtained educational materials. Nearly two-thirds (64%) indicated at least a “good” likelihood of adopting PharmGenEd materials at their institution during the upcoming academic year. More than two-thirds of respondents indicated interest in using PharmGenEd materials to train licensed health professionals, and 95% indicated that they would recommend the program to other pharmacy faculty members.
Conclusion. As a result of participating in the train-the-trainer program in pharmacogenomics, faculty member participants gained confidence in teaching pharmacogenomics to their students, and the majority of participants indicated a high likelihood of adopting the program at their institution. A Web-based train-the-trainer model appears to be a feasible strategy for training pharmacy faculty in pharmacogenomics.
PMCID: PMC3530055  PMID: 23275658
pharmacogenomics; curriculum; pharmacy colleges and schools; faculty development; train-the-trainer
13.  Medicare Part D Community Outreach Train-the-Trainer Program for Pharmacy Faculty 
To assess the train-the-trainer component of an initiative (Partners in D) to train pharmacy students to facilitate patient enrollment in the best Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (Part D).
Faculty members from 6 California colleges or schools of pharmacy were taught how to train pharmacy students about Medicare Part D and how to conduct outreach events targeting underserved patient populations. A preintervention and postintervention survey instrument was administered to determine participants' (1) knowledge of the Part D program; (2) skill using the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder tool; and (3) confidence in their ability to train pharmacy students. Implementation of the Partners in D curriculum in faculty members' colleges or schools of pharmacy was also determined.
Participants' knowledge of Part D, mastery of the Plan Finder, and confidence in teaching the material to pharmacy students all significantly improved. Within 8 weeks following the program, 5 of 6 colleges or schools of pharmacy adopted Partners in D coursework and initiated teaching the Partners-in-D curriculum. Four months afterwards, 21 outreach events reaching 186 Medicare beneficiaries had been completed.
The train-the-trainer component of the Partners in D program is practical and effective, and merits serious consideration as a national model for educating patients about Medicare Part D.
PMCID: PMC2703286  PMID: 19564996
Medicare Part D; Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder; train-the-trainer; faculty development
14.  Patient safety and quality improvement education: a cross-sectional study of medical students’ preferences and attitudes 
BMC Medical Education  2013;13:16.
Recent educational initiatives by both the World Health Organization and the American Association of Medical Colleges have endorsed integrating teaching of patient safety and quality improvement (QI) to medical students. Curriculum development should take into account learners’ attitudes and preferences. We surveyed students to assess preferences and attitudes about QI and patient safety education.
An electronic survey was developed through focus groups, literature review, and local expert opinion and distributed via email to all medical students at a single medical school in the spring of 2012.
A greater proportion of students reported previous exposure to patient safety than to quality improvement topics (79% vs. 47%). More than 80% of students thought patient safety was of the same or greater importance than basic science or clinical skills whereas quality improvement was rated as the same or more important by about 70% of students. Students rated real life examples of quality improvement projects and participation in these projects with actual patients as potentially the most helpful (mean scores 4.2/5 and 3.9/5 respectively). For learning about patient safety, real life examples of mistakes were again rated most highly (mean scores 4.5/5 for MD presented mistakes and 4.1/5 for patient presented mistakes). Students rated QI as very important to their future career regardless of intended specialty (mean score 4.5/5).
Teaching of patient safety and quality improvement to medical students will be best received if it is integrated into clinical education rather than solely taught in pre-clinical lectures or through independent computer modules. Students recognize that these topics are important to their careers as future physicians regardless of intended specialty.
PMCID: PMC3570358  PMID: 23379673
Medical education; Quality improvement; Patient safety; Curriculum development
15.  Medical Students' Exposure to and Attitudes about the Pharmaceutical Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(5):e1001037.
A systematic review of published studies reveals that undergraduate medical students may experience substantial exposure to pharmaceutical marketing, and that this contact may be associated with positive attitudes about marketing.
The relationship between health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry has become a source of controversy. Physicians' attitudes towards the industry can form early in their careers, but little is known about this key stage of development.
Methods and Findings
We performed a systematic review reported according to PRISMA guidelines to determine the frequency and nature of medical students' exposure to the drug industry, as well as students' attitudes concerning pharmaceutical policy issues. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, and ERIC from the earliest available dates through May 2010, as well as bibliographies of selected studies. We sought original studies that reported quantitative or qualitative data about medical students' exposure to pharmaceutical marketing, their attitudes about marketing practices, relationships with industry, and related pharmaceutical policy issues. Studies were separated, where possible, into those that addressed preclinical versus clinical training, and were quality rated using a standard methodology. Thirty-two studies met inclusion criteria. We found that 40%–100% of medical students reported interacting with the pharmaceutical industry. A substantial proportion of students (13%–69%) were reported as believing that gifts from industry influence prescribing. Eight studies reported a correlation between frequency of contact and favorable attitudes toward industry interactions. Students were more approving of gifts to physicians or medical students than to government officials. Certain attitudes appeared to change during medical school, though a time trend was not performed; for example, clinical students (53%–71%) were more likely than preclinical students (29%–62%) to report that promotional information helps educate about new drugs.
Undergraduate medical education provides substantial contact with pharmaceutical marketing, and the extent of such contact is associated with positive attitudes about marketing and skepticism about negative implications of these interactions. These results support future research into the association between exposure and attitudes, as well as any modifiable factors that contribute to attitudinal changes during medical education.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
The complex relationship between health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry has long been a subject of discussion among physicians and policymakers. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that physicians' interactions with pharmaceutical sales representatives may influence clinical decision making in a way that is not always in the best interests of individual patients, for example, encouraging the use of expensive treatments that have no therapeutic advantage over less costly alternatives. The pharmaceutical industry often uses physician education as a marketing tool, as in the case of Continuing Medical Education courses that are designed to drive prescribing practices.
One reason that physicians may be particularly susceptible to pharmaceutical industry marketing messages is that doctors' attitudes towards the pharmaceutical industry may form early in their careers. The socialization effect of professional schooling is strong, and plays a lasting role in shaping views and behaviors.
Why Was This Study Done?
Recently, particularly in the US, some medical schools have limited students' and faculties' contact with industry, but some have argued that these restrictions are detrimental to students' education. Given the controversy over the pharmaceutical industry's role in undergraduate medical training, consolidating current knowledge in this area may be useful for setting priorities for changes to educational practices. In this study, the researchers systematically examined studies of pharmaceutical industry interactions with medical students and whether such interactions influenced students' views on related topics.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers did a comprehensive literature search using appropriate search terms for all relevant quantitative and qualitative studies published before June 2010. Using strict inclusion criteria, the researchers then selected 48 articles (from 1,603 abstracts) for full review and identified 32 eligible for analysis—giving a total of approximately 9,850 medical students studying at 76 medical schools or hospitals.
Most students had some form of interaction with the pharmaceutical industry but contact increased in the clinical years, with up to 90% of all clinical students receiving some form of educational material. The highest level of exposure occurred in the US. In most studies, the majority of students in their clinical training years found it ethically permissible for medical students to accept gifts from drug manufacturers, while a smaller percentage of preclinical students reported such attitudes. Students justified their entitlement to gifts by citing financial hardship or by asserting that most other students accepted gifts. In addition, although most students believed that education from industry sources is biased, students variably reported that information obtained from industry sources was useful and a valuable part of their education.
Almost two-thirds of students reported that they were immune to bias induced by promotion, gifts, or interactions with sales representatives but also reported that fellow medical students or doctors are influenced by such encounters. Eight studies reported a relationship between exposure to the pharmaceutical industry and positive attitudes about industry interactions and marketing strategies (although not all included supportive statistical data). Finally, student opinions were split on whether physician–industry interactions should be regulated by medical schools or the government.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This analysis shows that students are frequently exposed to pharmaceutical marketing, even in the preclinical years, and that the extent of students' contact with industry is generally associated with positive attitudes about marketing and skepticism towards any negative implications of interactions with industry. Therefore, strategies to educate students about interactions with the pharmaceutical industry should directly address widely held misconceptions about the effects of marketing and other biases that can emerge from industry interactions. But education alone may be insufficient. Institutional policies, such as rules regulating industry interactions, can play an important role in shaping students' attitudes, and interventions that decrease students' contact with industry and eliminate gifts may have a positive effect on building the skills that evidence-based medical practice requires. These changes can help cultivate strong professional values and instill in students a respect for scientific principles and critical evidence review that will later inform clinical decision-making and prescribing practices.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Further information about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on doctors and medical students can be found at the American Medical Students Association PharmFree campaign and PharmFree Scorecard, Medsin-UKs PharmAware campaign, the nonprofit organization Healthy Skepticism, and the Web site of No Free Lunch.
PMCID: PMC3101205  PMID: 21629685
16.  A Blueprint of Pain Curriculum across Prelicensure Health Sciences Programs: One NIH Pain Consortium Center of Excellence in Pain Education (CoEPE) Experience 
To improve U.S. pain education and promote inter-institutional and inter-professional collaborations, the NIH Pain Consortium has funded 12 sites to develop Centers of Excellence in Pain Education (CoEPE). Each site was given the tasks of development, evaluation, integration, and promotion of pain management curriculum resources, including case studies that will be shared nationally. Collaborations among schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, and others were encouraged. The John D. Loeser CoEPE is unique in that it represents extensive regionalization of health science education, in this case in the region covering the states of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (WWAMI). This paper describes a blueprint of pain content and teaching methods across the University of Washington’s six health sciences schools and provides recommendations for improvement in pain education at the prelicensure level. The Schools of Dentistry and Physician Assistant provide the highest percentage of total required curriculum hours devoted to pain compared with the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Social Work. The findings confirm paucity of pain content in health sciences curricula, missing International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) curriculum topics, and limited use of innovative teaching methods such as problem-based and team-based learning.
PMCID: PMC3855868  PMID: 24094694
pain education; curriculum; health sciences; prelicensure; teaching methods; WWAMI
17.  Pharmacoepidemiology Education in US Colleges and Schools of Pharmacy 
To examine the type and extent of pharmacoepidemiology education offered by US colleges and schools of pharmacy.
An electronic Web-survey was sent to all 89 US colleges and schools of pharmacy between October 2005 and January 2006 to examine the type and extent of pharmacoepidemiology education offered to professional (PharmD) and graduate (MS/PhD) students.
The response rate was 100%. Of the 89 schools surveyed, 69 (78%) provided pharmacoepidemiology education to their professional students. A mean of 119 (±60) PharmD students per college/school per year received some pharmacoepidemiology education (range 1-60 classroom hours; median 10 hours). Thirty-five schools (39%) provided education to a mean of 6 (±5) graduate students (range 2-135 classroom hours; median 15 hours).
A majority of US colleges and schools of pharmacy offer some pharmacoepidemiology education in their curriculum. However, the topics offered by each school and number of classroom hours varied at both the professional and graduate level.
PMCID: PMC1959224  PMID: 17786268
pharmacoepidemiology; epidemiology; curriculum
18.  Educating Pharmacy Students to Improve Quality (EPIQ) in Colleges and Schools of Pharmacy 
Objective. To assess course instructors’ and students’ perceptions of the Educating Pharmacy Students and Pharmacists to Improve Quality (EPIQ) curriculum.
Methods. Seven colleges and schools of pharmacy that were using the EPIQ program in their curricula agreed to participate in the study. Five of the 7 collected student retrospective pre- and post-intervention questionnaires. Changes in students’ perceptions were evaluated to assess their relationships with demographics and course variables. Instructors who implemented the EPIQ program at each of the 7 colleges and schools were also asked to complete a questionnaire.
Results. Scores on all questionnaire items indicated improvement in students’ perceived knowledge of quality improvement. The university the students attended, completion of a class project, and length of coverage of material were significantly related to improvement in the students’ scores. Instructors at all colleges and schools felt the EPIQ curriculum was a strong program that fulfilled the criteria for quality improvement and medication error reduction education.
Conclusion The EPIQ program is a viable, turnkey option for colleges and schools of pharmacy to use in teaching students about quality improvement.
PMCID: PMC3425924  PMID: 22919085
quality improvement; medication error; pharmacy education; pharmacy student; assessment; curriculum
19.  An Interprofessional Course Using Human Patient Simulation to Teach Patient Safety and Teamwork Skills 
Objectives. To assess the effectiveness of human patient simulation to teach patient safety, team-building skills, and the value of interprofessional collaboration to pharmacy students.
Design. Five scenarios simulating semi-urgent situations that required interprofessional collaboration were developed. Groups of 10 to 12 health professions students that included 1 to 2 pharmacy students evaluated patients while addressing patient safety hazards.
Assessment. Pharmacy students’ scores on 8 of 30 items on a post-simulation survey of knowledge, skills, and attitudes improved over pre-simulation scores. Students’ scores on 3 of 10 items on a team building and interprofessional communications survey also improved after participating in the simulation exercise. Over 90% of students reported that simulation increased their understanding of professional roles and the importance of interprofessional communication.
Conclusions. Simulation training provided an opportunity to improve pharmacy students’ ability to recognize and react to patient safety concerns and enhanced their interprofessional collaboration and communication skills.
PMCID: PMC3355291  PMID: 22611280
simulation; interprofessional; emergency department; patient safety; team work
20.  Preparing Pharmacy Graduates for Traditional and Emerging Career Opportunities 
Educational programs in pharmacy must focus on educating pharmacists of the future who are prepared to serve as competent and confident health care “providers” whose “practice” can occur in any number of current and future settings; and whose expertise is essential to an interprofessional health care team. Graduates must be able to incorporate a scholarly approach to their practice in identifying patient care problems; practicing in an evidence-based manner; and ensuring safe, effective, and appropriate use of medications. It is time for colleges and schools of pharmacy to implement contemporary teaching and assessment strategies that facilitate effective and efficient student learning that is focused at the graduate professional level, to evolve the content around which the curriculum is organized, and clearly articulate the abilities graduates must have to function effectively in the myriad professional roles in which they may find themselves.
PMCID: PMC2828318  PMID: 20221350
21.  Comparison of self-reported professional competency across pharmacy education programs: a survey of Thai pharmacy graduates enrolled in the public service program 
Thai pharmacy education consists of two undergraduate programs, a 5-year Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BScPsci and BScPcare) degree and a 6-year Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D). Pharmacy students who wish to serve in the public sector need to enroll in the public service program. This study aims to compare the perception of professional competency among new pharmacy graduates from the three different pharmacy programs available in 2013 who enrolled in the public service program.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among new pharmacy graduates in 2013 using a self-administered, structured, close-ended questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of respondents’ characteristics and perception of professional competencies. The competency questions consisted of 13 items with a 5-point scale. Data collection was conducted during Thailand’s annual health professional meeting on April 2, 2013 for workplace selection of pharmacy graduates.
A total of 266 new pharmacy graduates responded to the questionnaire (response rate 49.6%). There were no significant differences in sex and admission modes across the three pharmacy programs. Pharm D graduates reported highest competency in acute care services, medication reconciliation services, and primary care services among the other two programs. BScPsci graduates reported more competence in consumer health protection and herbal and alternative medicines than BScPcare graduates. There were significant differences in three competency domains: patient care, consumer protection and community health services, and drug review and information, but no significant differences in the health administration and communication domain among three pharmacy programs.
Despite a complete change into a 6-year Pharm D program in 2014, pharmacy education in Thailand should continue evolving to be responsive to the needs of the health system. An annual survey of new pharmacy graduates should be continued, to monitor changes of professional competency across different program tracks and other factors which may influence their contribution to the health service system. Likewise, a longitudinal monitoring of their competencies in the graduate cohort should be conducted.
PMCID: PMC4199843  PMID: 25337000
pharmacy education; professional competency; pharmacy graduate; Doctor of Pharmacy; Thailand
22.  Faculty Perceptions of the Educating Pharmacy Students to Improve Quality (EPIQ) Program 
Objective. To investigate users’ initial perceptions of and potential applications for the Educating Pharmacy Students and Pharmacists to Improve Quality (EPIQ) program, a 5-module education program designed to educate pharmacists and pharmacy students about quality improvement in pharmacy practice.
Methods. The 5-module EPIQ program was distributed to pharmacy faculty members, pharmacy practitioners, and other health professionals across the country upon request. A 6-item survey instrument was sent to the first 97 people who requested the program.
Results. Twenty-seven (56%) of the 55 respondents had reviewed the EPIQ program and 22 (82%) intended to use some or all of the content to teach about quality improvement or patient safety primarily in pharmacy management and medication safety courses.
Conclusion. Initial perceptions of the EPIQ program were positive; however, further evaluation is needed after more extensive implementation of the program in pharmacy colleges and schools and other settings.
PMCID: PMC3220344  PMID: 22102753
medication safety; qualitative research; science of safety; education; pharmacy curriculum
23.  Pharmacy Education in India: Strategies for a Better Future 
In this world of specialization and globalization the pharmacy education in India is suffering from serious backdrops and flaws. There is an urgent need to initiate an academic exercise aimed at attaining revamping of curriculum, keeping in pace with current and emerging trends in the field of pharmacy. Unfortunately all these years, enough emphasis was not laid on strengthening the components of Community Pharmacy, Hospital and Clinical pharmacy, while designing curriculum at diploma and degree levels of teaching. The curriculum followed by almost all universities in India are no were up to the world standards and students are still getting the 20-30 yrs older compounding practical exposure in labs during the graduation level. The article emphasises the concept of innovation ecosystems and quality management. Application of TQM to the educational system improves the present situation. The counseling system which serves to be the gateway of the students for entry into the profession should be brought under the scanner. Introducing specializations at the graduation level will result in professional expertise and excellence. Education is a customer focused industry and every student should be capable of evaluating themselves for continuously improving their quality and professionalism. Teacher focused mastery learning should give away to student focused smart learning. An educational institution should provide the student with a stress-free atmosphere for learning and developing his intellectual capabilities. Every college should have a counseling centre to address the problems of students in their academic and personal life. An emphasis on the concept of quality teacher is included. Revival of the pharmacy education in India is the need of the hour which in turn will pave the way for the up gradation of the pharmacy profession in the country.
PMCID: PMC3249748  PMID: 22224042
Education; innovation ecosystems; pharmacy; total quality management
24.  Perceptions of newly admitted undergraduate medical students on experiential training on community placements and working in rural areas of Uganda 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:47.
Uganda has an acute problem of inadequate human resources partly due to health professionals' unwillingness to work in a rural environment. One strategy to address this problem is to arrange health professional training in rural environments through community placements. Makerere University College of Health Sciences changed training of medical students from the traditional curriculum to a problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum in 2003. This curriculum is based on the SPICES model (student-centered, problem-based, integrated, community-based and services oriented). During their first academic year, students undergo orientation on key areas of community-based education, after which they are sent in interdisciplinary teams for community placements. The objective was to assess first year students' perceptions on experiential training through community placements and factors that might influence their willingness to work in rural health facilities after completion of their training.
The survey was conducted among 107 newly admitted first year students on the medical, nursing, pharmacy and medical radiography program students, using in-depth interview and open-ended self-administered questionnaires on their first day at the college, from October 28-30, 2008. Data was collected on socio-demographic characteristics, motivation for choosing a medical career, prior exposure to rural health facilities, willingness to have part of their training in rural areas and factors that would influence the decision to work in rural areas.
Over 75% completed their high school from urban areas. The majority had minimal exposure to rural health facilities, yet this is where most of them will eventually have to work. Over 75% of the newly admitted students were willing to have their training from a rural area. Perceived factors that might influence retention in rural areas include the local context of work environment, support from family and friends, availability of continuing professional training for career development and support of co-workers and the community.
Many first year students at Makerere University have limited exposure to health facilities in rural areas and have concerns about eventually working there.
PMCID: PMC2904351  PMID: 20573221
25.  Awareness, use, attitude and perceived need for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) education among undergraduate pharmacy students in Sierra Leone: a descriptive cross-sectional survey 
The widespread use of CAM around the world requires health professionals including pharmacists to have the required knowledge to better advise their patients. This has lead to an increased need for the inclusion of CAM instruction into the mainstream undergraduate Pharmacy education. This study was designed to describe pharmacy students awareness, use, attitude and perceived need for CAM education at COMAHS-USL and at the same time, determine how these descriptive outcomes are influenced by the socio-demographic variables considered in this study.
A descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted among undergraduate pharmacy students (n = 90) at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra Leone using a structured questionnaire. Chi square, fisher exact test, and general linear model univariate analysis were used to compare data between independent cohorts.
All 90 (100%) of the students were aware and have used (except Ayurveda) at least one of the listed CAM modalities. Herbal/Botanical/Supplements followed by Spirituality/Prayer were the most commonly known and used CAM modalities. Almost two thirds of students considered the CAM modalities they have used to be effective and not harmful. Overall, pharmacy students had a positive attitude towards CAM (Mean attitudinal score = 34.9 ± 4. 5 (range 19–43)) with fourth and fifth year students showing a significantly less positive attitude as compared to the first, second and third year (B = −3.203 p = 0.001, 95% confidence interval - 5.093 to −1.314). The media [53 (58.9%)] was the most frequent source of information about CAM. Nearly all students [89 (98.9%)] agreed that CAM knowledge is important to them as future pharmacist and that CAM should be included into the Pharmacy curriculum at COMAHS-USL [81 (90.0%)].
Pharmacy students in Sierra Leone are aware of and have used at least one of the CAM modalities and do show a positive attitude towards CAM. This was demonstrated by their overwhelming endorsement for CAM course to be part of the undergraduate pharmacy training at COMAHS-USL. This study among others will inform and guide the development and implementation of CAM instruction at COMAHS-USL.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-438) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4236455  PMID: 25380656
Complementary and alternative medicine; Pharmacy students; Awareness; Attitude; Use; Education; Sierra Leone

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