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17 posts from March 2014


Study: Lack of Social Activities Persists Throughout Childhood for Kids With Autism

RWhitney_250x350New research conducted by a group of occupational therapists provides insight into the specific social activities that challenge children and pre-teens diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). By looking at the participation rates of more than 700 children between ages 5 and 13, researchers found that children with ASD experience a lack of participation in social activities such as swimming, visiting friends, and having friends over to play, which persists throughout childhood.

Futhermore, they discovered that children’s autism symptoms impacted how frequently they spent time in social activities. The study also found that the severity of the overall symptoms of the child’s autism affects participation in household activities, errands, neighborhood and social activities, and faith-based activities.

Rondalyn Whitney, PhD, OTR/L, assistant professor of occupational therapy and interim program director of the doctoral program at University of the Sciences, and also works with children who are affected by ASD.

“Children with ASD often find themselves on the periphery of social interactions because they have had less social experiences,” said Dr. Whitney, who has organized Detective Camp and Humor Camp to aid children with ASD in social interaction and understanding humor.

“Occupational therapy practitioners work to address these social concerns so that as these children become adults, they can participate more confidently and age-appropriately in their interactions, because social deficits become more pronounced with age,” she added.

Current research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimates that 1 in 88 children will be diagnosed with ASD by age 8. Social challenges among kids with ASD often cause isolation and as an increasing number of children diagnosed with ASD enter their teenage years and adulthood, occupational therapy practitioners are working to help them gain confidence in their social interactions.

Here are some examples of how occupational therapy practitioners work with children to overcome the social challenges caused by ASD:

  • Helping children build the habits of developing and maintaining friendships so that as adults, they can successfully navigate social interactions at work, at home, and in leisure activities.
  • Creating the social context and providing opportunities for children with ASD to engage in meaningful occupations that can foster friendships.
  • Engaging children in community events that offer positive outcomes.
  • Working with parents to reduce their stress level.
  • Enhancing the family’s quality of life to optimize opportunities for participation in activities that foster positive social interaction.

For more information, visit www.ajot.aotapress.net or www.aota.org.


All Grown Up - Medication Adherence in Adults

As individuals grow older, the more likely they are to depend on medications to manage a disease state or to even extend their life. Therefore, in order for a medication regimen to be successful in treating a patient, it is important to stress the value of medication adherence. The adult population (ages 19-64) takes many medications on a regular basis, either for acute or chronic diseases. To improve adherence in adults, barriers such as cost, health literacy, and pill burden should be addressed.

Barriers: Prescription medication can be very expensive and therefore may play a role in adult patients’ adherence levels, even if they are not in good health. Cost influence on the patient can be verified by questions such as whether patients got their prescriptions filled, used herbal medications rather than prescription medications, or even stretched out the time till next refill. During a study, it was seen that when there is a cost barrier to medication adherence, adults tend to have a low income status, no drug coverage, or have multiple disease states. Therefore, different programs can be used to assist patients in decreasing medication expenses and thus improve adherence.

Besides cost, health literacy is also a barrier that prevents adults from reaching optimal medication adherence. Most adults will have to manage certain illnesses for the rest of their lives and thus it is important for them to have the necessary disease knowledge. Presentation about the medication include the purpose, mechanism of action, and other drug benefits which may lead patients to have increased medication adherence because they are expecting better health outcomes.

Additionally, many adults have multiple diseases to manage, which results in difficulty to many medications rather than just one. It is during this age that adults are newly diagnosed with chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and hypertension. Therefore issues such as pill burden can be problematic when there are comorbidities involved. Patients may feel overwhelmed if they have to take multiple medications for diabetes, then asthma and also manage another serious condition of HIV. Options of combination medication therapy should be considered to decrease pill burden.

Asthma: The disease of asthma requires abundant counseling in order for patients to receive optimal therapy and avoid complications. With many inhaler options for both rescue and maintenance therapy in avoiding asthma exacerbations, it can become real confusing for patients to manage. When asthma is not appropriately managed it can lead to increased hospital visits and unwanted health expenses. Recent studies have concluded that patients with increased knowledge, attitude and self-efficacy in managing asthma can improve adherence. This is a disease state that, if patients understand signs and symptoms of asthma and use personal skills in managing the complications, it will result in a better quality of life. It is important to review both disease state and therapy schedule with adult patients every time they receive an inhaler, so patients can be in charge of their own health.

Pharmacists are constantly dispensing medications to adults and thus they have the perfect opportunity to help adults overcome barriers such as cost, health literacy and pill burden. Adulthood is a time in life where patients have to take care of their own health, income, and knowledge. Although adults are independent, pharmacists can step in to provide cost effective solutions and information about managing chronic illnesses such as inhaler techniques for managing asthma exacerbations. Pharmacists can use their knowledge about medications, cost coverage and managing disease states, in order to help adults improve medication adherence.

Sheenu Joseph, PharmD '15


WOLB Talk 1010 Highlights PCP's First Female Graduate

HayhurstIn observance of Women's History Month, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy alumna Susan Hayhurst was recognized as a "pioneer female pharmacist" on Baltimore's WOLB Talk 1010 on March 18.

After graduating from the Woman's Medical College of Philadelphia in 1857, Hayhurst served on the College's staff and ran its pharmaceutical department for many years. In 1883, at the age of 63, Hayhurst became the nation's first woman pharmacist, when she graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy.

Click here to listen to the segment.

USciences to Host Free Community Discussion on Obamacare on March 25

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Rep. Roebuck

As the Affordable Care Act’s March 31 enrollment deadline draws near, University of the Sciences, in conjunction with state Rep. James Roebuck (D-Philadelphia), will host a discussion regarding this complex law on Tuesday, March 25, from 7-8 p.m., at the University’s Rosenberger Hall, Room 101, located at 45th Street and Woodland Avenue.

During the event, Alicia C. Miller, health information data analyst in the University’s Student Health and Counseling Center; and Andrew Peterson PharmD, PhD, John Wyeth Dean of the University’s Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy, will present data to help individuals make informed choices about the new health insurance options that are available to them.

The topics covered in the presentation will include:

  • Identifying the different health plan options now available for U.S. citizens under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Understanding the process for applying to the program and the eligibility criteria.
  • Detecting resources for understanding the Affordable Care Act, and navigating the system.
Dr. Peterson

“West Philadelphia is home to many uninsured and underserved residents who will benefit from the healthcare law,” said Dr. Peterson. “Our goal is to ensure attendees leave our event feeling more comfortable with the healthcare changes, as well as more aware of the different options available to them, and more familiar with navigating the website to apply for a healthcare plan.”

This event is free to attend, and advanced registration is not required. The University is easily accessed via public transportation, and visitor parking is also available to attendees. For more information regarding this event, contact Dr. Peterson at a.peters@usciences.edu or (215) 596-8877(215) 596-8877.215.596

At University of the Sciences, students embark on a challenging learning experience in a proving ground for successful professionals in the science and healthcare-related fields. A private institution dedicated to education, research, and service, and distinguished as the North America’s first college of pharmacy, the University has produced leaders in the science and healthcare marketplaces since its founding in 1821. Students in USciences’ five colleges learn to excel in scientific analysis and to apply their skills to improving healthcare in the lives of people worldwide through such disciplines as pharmacy, biology, chemistry, psychology, physics, physical therapy, healthcare business, and health policy. For more information, visit usciences.edu or follow us on Twitter @USciences.

Video: Pharmacy Experts Discuss Hotly Debated Painkiller Zohydro on NBC10

Dr. Andrew Peterson, Dean of Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy; and Dr. Dan Hussar, Remington Professor of Pharmacy, recently shared their expertise regarding the hotly debated painkiller, Zohydro, on Philadelphia's NBC10 @ Issue. The program aired on Sunday, March 16, and is attached below in two 5-minute clips:

At isssue

Part 1: NBC @ Issue
Part 2: NBC @ Issue (Profs featured here)


Kinesiology Prof Talks 'Bod Pod' During 6ABC Interview

Karin1Karin Richards, acting chair of the Department of Kinesiology, will be featured on Philadelphia's 6abc regarding the University's BOD POD, an advanced technological body composition assessment tool used for training and educating students. Shaped in the mold of a space capsule, the BOD POD is the most accurate way to test a person’s body composition (body fat and muscle mass).

Meteorologist Adam Joseph's results from the BOD POD will also be featured during the segment, which is scheduled to air this Saturday (March 22) at 7 p.m. 


Pharmacy, Health Policy Experts to be Featured on NBC10 @ Issue on Sunday

At issueThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of the potent opioid painkiller Zohydro ER has been met with fierce criticism, both locally and across the nation. Tune into Philadelphia's NBC10  @ Issue on Sunday, March 16, at 11:30 a.m., as University of the Sciences' pharmacy and health policy experts discuss this drug in further detail.

Andrew Peterson PharmD, PhD, Dean of Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy; and Dan Hussar, PhD, Remington Professor of Pharmacy, joined reporter Tracy Davidson for a discussion regarding the pros/cons of this drug, as well as its potential dangers and health implications.

NBC10 @ Issue is a weekly public affairs discussion program that takes an in-depth look at local, state and national issues and politics. Watch NBC10 @ Issue every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on NBC10, or at 6:30 p.m., on NBC10.com


OT Faculty, Student Set to Explore Cultural Differences in Healthcare at International Conference

Dr. Paula Kramer

The University’s Department of Occupational Therapy will be well-represented overseas, as three faculty members and a student are set to attend the 16th International Congress of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, in collaboration with the 48th Japanese Occupational Therapy Congress and Expo, on June 18-21, in Yokohama, Japan.

Dr. Paula Kramer, Dr. Rondalyn Whitney, and Wendy Fox MOT’00 - all occupational therapy professors at USciences – and student Trisha Patel MOT'14, will join hundreds of occupational therapists and students from across the world to explore, identify, and present the cultural differences between healthcare in the U.S. and other countries.  

Dr. Rondalyn Whitney

This year’s theme, “Sharing Traditions, Creating Future,” will focus on a variety of topics, including occupational therapy's role in inter-professional collaboration, innovations and challenges of the profession, and meeting demands from the field. The conference will also include numerous keynote lectures, workshops, poster presentations, and informative breakout sessions.

During the conference, Dr. Kramer will present, “The Dilemma Facing Education in Occupational Therapy: Teaching Professional Values,” and Dr. Whitney and Professor Fox will present, “Curative Art into Current Occupational Therapy Education: A Mechanism for Enabling Adaptation During Student Learning.” Both presentations highlight the educational aspect of occupational therapy in the U.S.

Prof. Wendy Fox

Patel is also scheduled to present during the conference, however, her presentation “The Occupational Profile of a Killer” focuses on her compilation of professional research.

Click here for more information regarding this conference.

At University of the Sciences, students embark on a challenging learning experience in a proving ground for successful professionals in the science and healthcare-related fields. A private institution dedicated to education, research, and service, and distinguished as the North America’s first college of pharmacy, the University has produced leaders in the science and healthcare marketplaces since its founding in 1821. Students in USciences’ five colleges learn to excel in scientific analysis and to apply their skills to improving healthcare in the lives of people worldwide through such disciplines as pharmacy, biology, chemistry, psychology, physics, physical therapy, healthcare business, and health policy. For more information, visit usciences.edu


Getting 'Your Bell Rung' is No Music to the Ears, Says USciences Doc

AcquavellaAnthonyWhile concussions are most commonly associated with sports-related injuries, associate professor Anthony Acquavella, MD, at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, says prevention and awareness begins by recognizing that these brain injuries can also result from slips and falls, playground injuries, and car accidents.

“Concussions are a force to be reckoned with because they are traumatic brain injuries that need to be identified and treated as soon as they occur to help prevent further complications, or even death,” said Dr. Acquavella, who also serves as a physician for the University’s student health service.

While March is designated as National Brain Injury Awareness Month, Dr. Acquavella said concussions and head injuries affect hundreds of individuals each day. Approximately 1.7 million people suffer from traumatic brain injuries each year, and concussions represent about 75 percent of those injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Earlier this year, a USciences student suffered a concussion from a fall significant enough to take a medical leave from school, as concussion treatment requires thorough brain rest,” said Dr. Acquavella.

While concussions are typically caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, they can also occur from impact to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth, such as an injury suffered during a car accident. Observed signs of head injuries, includes individuals appearing dazed or stunned, forgetful, clumsy, and moody. Additionally, symptoms reported by individuals, includes headaches, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, blurred vision, and sensitivity to noise and light.

As of 2011, Pennsylvania has a law on the books which mandates that student athletes exhibiting concussion symptoms cannot return to play until cleared by appropriate healthcare professionals. But Dr. Acquavella said concussion awareness also needs to be a household conversation.

“I worked as a sideline physician for young athletes early in my career, and it was alarming how parents minimized the severity of head injuries in their children,” he said. “Concussion awareness begins by getting students, parents, teachers, and coaches on the same page with the causes, symptoms, and outcomes of head injuries.”

A Look Back on Our Week in Sweden

It seems hard for us to believe that we spent an entire week in Sweden. Gathering data, exploring The city, visiting various PT clinics, observing orthopedic surgeries, and discussing future international exchange options created a fun filled, busy, yet incredible educational opportunity that we are forever grateful for experiencing. We were able to conclude our week in Sweden talking to fellow PT students and faculty about future international exchange options and we left just as excited as when we arrived. We want to say a special thank you to everyone at University of the Sciences as well as the research team in Gothenburg that made this trip possible. We left Sweden with a feeling of fulfillment for the successful week we had, yet also exhausted from the successful week we had! Image View this photo
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