Shake Well and Refrigerate: The Emergency Pharmacy Preparedness Project
One year ago, the Anchorage area was shaken when a 7.0 earthquake struck on a quiet Friday morning. Though no one was seriously injured, second year pharmacy student Talethia Bogart saw an opportunity for Alaska’s Doctor of Pharmacy students to support state emergency efforts during extreme weather events and natural disasters.
Currently, most emergency preparedness protocols and standard operating procedures do not pertain to pharmacies. They also don’t acknowledge the contribution of pharmacists and the role that students can play in emergency response/preparedness situations. Recognizing this gap in disaster preparedness—and an opportunity for pharmacists—Bogart developed an independent study project called the Emergency Pharmacy Preparedness Project (EPPP) in collaboration with UAA/ISU Doctor of Pharmacy program faculty.
EPPP utilizes the organizational structure of pharmacy student leaders to collect and disseminate critical pharmacy information, such as operational status, safe drug supply availability, and environmental safety, during natural disasters and unforeseen events. The project is designed to distribute vital information collected by pharmacy student leaders to emergency preparedness officials, the media, and community members. Ultimately, this could reduce inappropriate healthcare system utilization and promote better use of limited local resources, such as acute and chronic life-saving prescription medications from community pharmacies.
EPPP has the potential to improve utilization of healthcare resources during natural disasters, and it gives communities a life-saving tool to promote and preserve patient health when crisis strikes. It’s a demonstration of how students at the UAA/ISU Doctor of Pharmacy Program are uniquely positioned to identify community needs, support emergency efforts, and expand pharmacy practice across the state.
Story by Christina Jackson