UW News

October 14, 2010

Pharmacy student earns scholarship to enhance public health outreach

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Pharmacy student Karen Craddick, class of 2012, received a competitive Paul Ambrose scholarship to participate in the annual Ambrose Symposium in Washington, D.C. At the June conference, she attended presentations and discussions by public health leaders and industry experts on topics such as prevention, health policy advocacy and community organizing.

“The ability to spend the weekend with like-minded health professional students who share my passions was amazing,” she said.

Upon returning home from the symposium, each scholarship recipient must complete a public health project in their community. For Craddick’s project, she set out to increase health literacy at Harborview Medical Center’s Pioneer Square Clinic, where she interns. This downtown Seattle clinic provides primary health care and treats acute problems for low-income and homeless adult patients.

Craddick created educational materials to help patients understand how to read medication labels, call in refills and know which medicines they take. She is also collecting data to assess how often patients receive a medication list at clinic visits. She is working with the medical director and other pharmacists to encourage providers to give patients such a list at every visit — an especially important step for a patient population that may not have an easy way to access or remember that information.

“Knowing what medicine one takes is so important in emergency situations and to aid in compliance, among other things” said Craddick.

Her experience as an Ambrose Scholar has deepened her enthusiasm for the role that pharmacists play in improving public health.

“I would like a public-health related career where I can work to expand the role pharmacists can and do play in making people healthy,” she said.

The Paul Ambrose Scholars Program, coordinated by the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is named for a rising star in the field of prevention and public health who lost his life Sept. 11, 2001.