The Harrison College of Pharmacy has an established history of expertise in forensic chemistry, neurosciences, pharmacology, drug delivery, pharmacoepidemiology, and practice-based research. This work helps us better understand opiate use disorders, focusing on detection, prevention, and treatment. Work in this area runs the spectrum of practice-based to bench research.
COACH Faculty Fellow, Dr. Lindsey Hohmann, was recently awarded a KL2 award from the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) Deep South Mentored Career Development Program for the proposal, “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Chronic Pain Management: Development of a Community Pharmacy-Based Program in the Rural Deep South”. Community pharmacies’ level of organizational readiness to implement MBSR programs is unknown, and it is unclear what MBSR programmatic elements (content and format) patients with chronic pain would prefer in the community pharmacy setting. The purpose of this proposed KL2 study is to explore stakeholders’ organizational readiness, contextual barriers, and preferences for MBSR program content and format, and develop and assess the feasibility of a community pharmacy based MBSR program for chronic pain management in rural Alabama. The proposed study will serve as a building block to increase access to alternative treatments for pain in underserved rural Alabama patients. This aligns with the CCTS vision to reduce the burden of disparities in health outcomes among special populations in the Deep South.
As part of COACH’s commitment to education, faculty are working to provide health care professionals with the knowledge to prevent, recognize, and assist in treatment and referral for opioid use disorders within their practice and community. These educational programs bring together a diverse health care audience to encourage communication and collaboration across disciplines. Included in this work is an effort by Drs. Marlowe, Brent Fox, and Haley Phillippe, in partnership with the Alabama Department of Public Health to conduct a series of town hall meetings and summits across the state through the end of 2025 in reference to Alabama’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, or PDMP. The town halls consist of an interactive PDMP demonstration and skills-building exercise led by Auburn personnel with support from ADPH staff. The summit series is designed to focus broadly on drugs of concern. The role of the PDMP will remain an important component of this summit series. The 2023 Substance Misuse Summit brought together an interdisciplinary audience of over 280 individuals. The 2024 Summit is scheduled for Friday, February 9, 2024, in Montgomery, Alabama. These programs are sponsored by the Alabama Department of Public Health through a parent grant funded by the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. Learn more at https://auburncoach.org/adph-townhall-and-summits.
Another example of COACH’s dedication to providing quality education is exemplified by COACH’s Substance Use Disorders in Alabama project. Faculty working through COACH developed educational programming related to substance use disorders and their effects on an individual’s mental health. The work by Drs. Haley Phillippe, Brent Fox, and Karen Marlowe is supported by the Alabama Department of Mental Health via a sub-award through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The educational programming developed is available online in the form of webinars and targets two primary cohorts: community leaders and health care professionals. Health care professionals are eligible to receive continuing education credits. The content presented focuses on the emerging trends of substance use disorders in Alabama, specifically, the prevalence of substance use disorders amongst vulnerable populations. The webinars will remain accessible for both healthcare professionals and community members through September of 2024. Learn more at https://auburncoach.org/suda.
As a land-grant institution, outreach is vital to our mission. As such, HCOP leadership worked with COACH affiliated faculty and staff to develop an outreach initiative designed to reach middle and junior high students across Alabama. The initiative seeks to introduce the profession of pharmacy and educate students on the harms of illicit drug use. As our nation is experiencing an ongoing opioid crisis, the earlier we can educate students, the more improved the outcomes. Funds to support the initiative were raised through Auburn’s annual Tiger Giving Day, held in February 2023. The initiative served as the College’s project and over $12,000 were raised. Reaching a variety of schools and approximately 1,200+/- students, COACH affiliated faculty and staff, recruitment staff, and student pharmacists will be to travelling to schools throughout the state to offer this educational opportunity. Faculty and staff will have career conversations with students and integrate drug-free education into assembly programs and workshops, highlighting the ways a local pharmacist can be an influencer in their communities. The educational events are slated to take place in October, during national Red Ribbon Week, in hopes to seamlessly align with other programs and events being sponsored or held by the participating schools. Participating schools are located across the state, one each sitting in North, South, East, and West Alabama. A video detailing the Tiger Giving Day initiative can be found at https://rise.auburn.edu/project/35911.
Auburn University’s Harrison College of Pharmacy will utilize funds collected through the University’s Eli, J.R., and Sam Bozeman Endowed Fund for Excellence. to support Coach-affiliated outreach efforts. The dollars received enable us to secure event locations, promote the activities, and provide educational materials to facilitators/participants. COACH is working to make a meaningful impact across Alabama and the southeast region. Dollars donated through this fund directly impact Alabama residents at all stages of life: K-12 students, college students, young professionals, and middle-aged as well as older adults. COACH team members strive to build impactful relationships with public officials and community leaders across Alabama to better serve its citizens. Utilizing dollars collected through the Bozeman fund, COACH participates in outreach activities like National Night Out. To support COACH and assist in making an impact, please visit https://alumniq.auburn.edu/giving/to/bozeman.
In addition to Center affiliated faculty and staff, COACH partners with the Auburn University Harrison College of Pharmacy’s chapter of the American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists (AAPP) to make a difference by offering events geared toward assessing and improving individuals’ mental health states. HCOP’s Chapter of AAPP participates in and hosts several on-campus events: including the Alzheimer’s Walk, Mental Health Awareness Week, and Naloxone training sessions. Specifically, during each spring semester, a Mental Health and Wellness Health Fair is planned to promote mental health well-being and to offer mental health screenings. A collaborative effort of these groups will enable us to reach a wider audience, with a targeted emphasis on college-aged students’ mental health and well-being. AAPP-provided training will result in participants receiving QPR certification, which is essentially like CPR certification but for mental health. Our collaborative efforts are made possible, in part, by dollars collected through the Bozeman fund. To access information about our partnership, please visit https://auburncoach.org/research-education-outreach/aapp-student-chapter-partnership.