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PY3 Clara Kim and PY2 Vraj Patel

A group of Pharm.D. students received a $10,000 PharmAlliance grant — the first of its kind to be awarded to Pharm.D. students — to support a project promoting medication safety.

The project is led by PY3 Clara Kim and PY2 Vraj Patel from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. It is co-authored by PY3 Ember Lu from the School and students from University College London and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

Their initiative aims to promote safe use of the three medications most associated with drug errors — opioids, insulins and anticoagulants — through the creation of a comic series that promotes patient education. The comics will be distributed online through social media and offline as posters and fliers posted in community pharmacies in the U.S., England and Australia.

“This project will help patients, including those with low health literacy, understand how to take their medications correctly and acknowledge the importance of adherence, while making it fun in the process,” Kim said.

Established in 2015, PharmAlliance is an international partnership between the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University College London and Monash University. PharmAlliance has provided support for research initiatives developed by faculty and Ph.D. students from each of the three schools. This is the first PharmAlliance grant to be awarded to Pharm.D. students.

Along with Kim, Patel and Lu, the project’s co-authors include Monash University students Alisha Cloti and Emma Hatherley, and University College of London student Ruby Akkad.

“The student leaders of all three schools are very excited and thankful to be the first student group to have received this grant,” Kim said. “This is a very important step for the PharmAlliance student domain.”

The students will be mentored by faculty at each school: David Steeb, Pharm.D., M.P.H. at UNC-Chapel Hill, Andreia Bruno, Ph.D. at Monash University, and Oksana Pyzik, M.Pharm. at UCL.

The grant will allow the students to develop their project beyond the conceptual stage and travel to Melbourne to discuss their project, as well as ways PharmAlliance can support student initiatives and foster connections between students at each of the schools in the future.

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