02 FEBRUARY 2013 E-NEWSLETTER OF THE NATIONALLY RANKED UNIVERSITY OF TOLEDO COLLEGE OF PHARMACY AND PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES RxeFILL this issue Clinical Skills Competition P.2 Karen Papadakis retires after more than four decades at University Jessica Schillig, PharmD ‟06 P.2 Recruiting in Michigan P.3 By Brian Purdue CPPS Spotlight P.4 Pharmacists and Immunization-Based Health Disparities By Dr. Monica Holiday-Goodman, professor of Pharmacy Practice and Program Director of the Health Outcomes and Socioeconomic Sciences program Dean Johnnie Early presented a UT mortar and pestle to Karen Papadakis, administrative secretary in the Department of Pharmacology. The University of Toledo has undergone countless changes throughout the last four decades, and Karen Papadakis has experienced them all. After 41 years and four months of working at UT, she is moving on — and taking with her great memories and friendships she made during her time at the University. After graduating from high school in Tecumseh, Mich., she moved to Toledo and began working at UT while taking classes to earn an associate of applied business degree. Read more Health disparities are defined as differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality and burden of diseases or adverse health conditions that exist among specific population groups (NIH). Health care disparities are differences in access to health care and quality of health care among populations (National Healthcare Disparities Report). As the country observes Black History Month, it is important that pharmacy professionals be aware that African Americans experience major health and health care disparities compared to other groups. This is especially true in regard to hypertension, diabetes, HIV, infant mortality, and immunization rates. Although the presence of disparities often is correlated with socioeconomic factors such as level of income, or lack of health care coverage, this is not the case for disparities related to immunizations. Studies have shown that African Americans are less likely than Caucasian Americans to receive immunizations, even when health care coverage is comparable (AARP)1. Vaccine-preventable diseases are responsible for over 60,000 deaths each year in the US (CDC). As pharmacists are allowed to provide several immunizations, our role in the elimination of this disparity is crucial. Pharmacists can assist by informing patients of the importance of key immunizations, and of our ability to provide them. With our presence in virtually every community, we can assure that all patients, especially those who are traditionally underserved, are aware of the opportunity to receive immunizations from a pharmacist. In this way, we can be a driving force in improving our nation‟s public health and in the elimination of health and health care disparities. 1 Flowers, L. (2007). Racial and ethnic disparities in influenza and pneumococcal immunization rates among Medicare beneficiaries. Issue Brief (Public Policy Institute (American Association of Retired Persons)), no. IB83, 1-6.