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ASP Doesn't Miss a Beat

UHCOP Chapter Claims 2nd Consecutive APhA-ASP Operation Heart Award at Midyear Regional Meeting

The UH College of Pharmacy Chapter of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists won its second consecutive Operation Heart Award at the Region 6 Midyear Regional Meeting Nov. 4-6 in Little Rock, Ark.

photo of student at humble health fair
Above, Pharm.D. student and APhA-ASP member Shireen Ashouri checks the blood pressure of an attendee at the 2015 Humble Health Fair; and, below, Pharm.D. student and APhA-ASP member Lisa Salinas performs a blood pressure screening for an attendee at the 2015 Mayor's Back 2 School Fest.
photo of student at mayor's back 2 school fest

The award was presented in recognition of the chapter's activities advancing the mission of the national organization's Operation Heart Initiative from June 2015 to the end of May 2016.

Despite years of progress in increased public awareness of cardiovascular disease prevention and healthy lifestyles as well as use of therapeutics and screening technologies, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 600,000 deaths – 1 in every 4 – per year are attributed to cardiovascular disease.

According to the APhA website, "Through public awareness, community outreach, and patient-specific education on cardiovascular risk factors, student pharmacists can empower patients to take control of their health and prevent cardiovascular disease before it starts. Through participation in Operation Heart, student pharmacists will work in their communities to encourage lifestyle modifications, monitor associated risk factors, and provide education about medications for heart disease."

Led by senior chair Caroline Root and junior chairs Lauren Puckett and Andrei Zidari, the chapter's Operation Heart outreach strategy was to not only build on the success of the previous year but also to improve the patient counseling aspect through individualized plans emphasizing realistic lifestyle changes in diet and exercise based on assessment of the patient's cardiovascular disease risk. The Operation Heart leaders also provided extra-curricular opportunities for students to refine their skills in manual blood pressure measurement.

The chapter's Operation Heart initiative was represented at more than 20 health-and-wellness events during the 2015-16 year. Over the course of the events, chapter members provided approximately 2,000 blood pressure screenings and education interactions.

Members also made presentations and engaged in interactive games with more than 300 children at Greater Houston-area elementary schools to increase awareness of heart-healthy lifestyle choices in diet and exercise. Junior Chair Puckett also collaborated with the Boy Scouts of America to become a personal fitness merit badge counselor that required scouts to complete a three-month exercise plan.