ASHP InterSections ASHP InterSections

May 26, 2016

ASHP Building Update (May 2016)

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

IT IS MY PLEASURE to announce that ASHP has sold our headquarters building at 7272 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, Md., and will be moving to a wonderful new building just a few blocks away early next year.

ASHP has been in our current headquarters — The Joseph A. Oddis Building — since we purchased it in 1992. Since that time, ASHP has grown dramatically, and so has downtown Bethesda. It’s because of this growth and change that we decided to sell our building.

For some time now, the state of Maryland and surrounding counties have envisioned a new east-west train line that would better connect commuters and visitors to key parts of the Washington, D.C., metro area, including Bethesda. After many years, the funding for this new Purple Line is now secured, and building on the new line is projected to start in the next few years. ASHP fits into this story because our current building in the heart of downtown Bethesda sits on the location of the proposed new Metro Purple Line Station, on a piece of real estate that is ripe for a major new downtown development.

The Joseph A. Oddis Building

The Joseph A. Oddis Building

Because of the decision to sell our building, ASHP will be able to move into a new headquarters that is modern and environmentally friendly, a headquarters that will accommodate our growing membership and staff, provide enhanced capabilities and resources to help us better serve our members, and advance our public health mission.

Our space in this new building is currently being constructed, and I look forward to sharing some images with you once it’s completed. I also welcome you to come tour our new space if you’re ever in town visiting or serving on an ASHP member committee. ASHP is your professional home, and we would love to see you!

I would like to recognize my predecessor, Dr. Joseph A. Oddis, for his vision and subsequent decision to purchase the ASHP building well before Bethesda experienced such explosive growth. It’s fair to say that, without him, ASHP would not be in the position it is today as the best and fastest growing pharmacy organization in the world.

ASHP's new headquarters building

ASHP’s new headquarters building

I hope that you share our excitement as we move to ASHP’s new home. Most importantly, I want to thank all of you — our members — for everything that you do for your patients and the profession. It’s because of you that ASHP continues to grow and excel. I look forward to updating you in the coming months about our forthcoming move to our new headquarters, and continuing to share updates on the exceptional resources ASHP provides to advance your practice.

Have a wonderful day, and thank you so much for being a member of ASHP!



May 23, 2016

Opportunities Abound for Increased Pharmacists’ Role in Treating Patients with HIV

"Shara Elrod, Pharm.D. (standing left) and Elizabeth Sherman, Pharm.D  (seated right), administer a rapid HIV test to a patient.

Shara Elrod, Pharm.D. (standing left) and Elizabeth Sherman, Pharm.D (seated right), administer a rapid HIV blood test to a patient.

AN AGING POPULATION OF PATIENTS with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), comorbidities, and increasingly complex drug regimens is making pharmacists an “indispensable partner in HIV care,” according to a recent editorial in AJHP.

Patients with HIV are living longer thanks in part to more-effective antiretroviral therapy. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than half of all individuals with HIV are now at least 50 years of age. A significant proportion of new infections are also occurring in older adults.

The AJHP editorial accompanies a new set of ASHP guidelines outlining the many roles — from HIV testing to helping patients achieve better drug adherence — that pharmacists are taking on as part of interprofessional teams in caring for individuals with HIV.

“Pharmacists in all care settings are well positioned to meet the unique needs of HIV-infected patients because the cornerstone of effective HIV care is individualized and complex medication therapy,” said Elizabeth Sherman, Pharm.D., Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Nova Southeastern University’s College of Pharmacy, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and co-author of the ASHP guidelines. “This is precisely the area in which we, as pharmacists, are educated to assist.”

The Effect of Comorbidities on HIV Care

Jason Schafer, Pharm.D., MPH, BCPS, AAHIVP

Jason Schafer, Pharm.D., MPH, BCPS, AAHIVP

Jason Schafer, Pharm.D., MPH, BCPS, AAHIVP, lead author for the new “ASHP Guidelines on Pharmacist Involvement in HIV Care” and Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice in the Jefferson School of Pharmacy, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, said a graying population brings with it an increasing number of comorbid health conditions. This is another area in which pharmacists are bringing their clinical expertise to bear.

“Pharmacists can improve care and outcomes for many of the comorbid conditions that we see in HIV patients, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes,” explained Dr. Schafer.

A 2015 study showed as much, demonstrating that when pharmacists were involved in interdisciplinary care for HIV patients who also had diabetes, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia, patients’ lipids were better managed, smoking cessation rates increased, aspirin was used more appropriately, and the cost of care per patient was $3,000 lower than when care did not involve a pharmacist.

Helping Patients Navigate the Healthcare System

One important function pharmacists can play as part of an interdisciplinary HIV care team is to screen and test for HIV and comorbidities and help patients receive treatment as early as possible, said Dr. Schafer. “For HIV specifically, the earlier patients connect with an appropriate provider, the sooner they can start antiretroviral therapy, and the better their outcomes are likely to be.”

Alice Pau, Pharm.D., (third from left) participates in clinical patient rounds at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health.

Alice Pau, Pharm.D., (third from left) participates in clinical patient rounds at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health.

AJHP editorial co-author Alice Pau, Pharm.D., Clinical Staff Scientist and Pharmacy Specialist in the Division of Clinical Research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., added that pharmacists are also well-positioned to ensure that HIV treatment is seamless across the continuum of care.

The need is great, according to Dr. Pau, because her team often finds that patients who come in for treatments after hospitalization are discharged without having their prescriptions filled, leading to a lapse of weeks without treatment.

“As pharmacists, we can work collaboratively with a social worker or case manager at discharge to help ensure patients have their prescriptions filled or have arrangements in place to get them filled outside the hospital,” she said.

More and More Physicians Relying on Pharmacists

A large number of comorbidities and the use of polypharmacy in patients with HIV mean that physicians are relying more than ever on pharmacists’ drug expertise, according to AJHP editorial co-author Henry Masur, M.D., Program Support Specialist at NIH’s Critical Care Medicine Department.

“It’s hard for primary care physicians to remain up-to-date on the efficacy and safety of HIV medications and on the increasingly complex pharmacokinetic interactions and overlapping toxicities of drugs in multidrug regimens for patients who also have comorbidities,” he said.

ASHP guidelines co-author Dr. Sherman noted that pharmacists also can improve care of patients with HIV by identifying potential drug interactions, helping to ensure treatment adherence, linking patients with appropriate care, or providing a host of other services. The results are impressive: greater HIV viral suppression, reduced rates of viral resistances, increases in patient survival, improvements in quality of life, and fewer secondary HIV transmissions.

Dr. Sherman’s own experience caring for patients and helping other providers optimize their treatments has confirmed pharmacists’ valuable role in caring for patients with HIV. “I’ve learned what a pharmacist can be: an ally to the HIV patient, a service to the community, and a pioneer who is contributing to a rapidly growing body of clinical knowledge,” she said.

–By David Wild



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