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The College of Psychiatric & Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) and members of its Curriculum Paper Task Force are pleased to announce that the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy has released the research paper entitled, “Curriculum in Psychiatry and Neurology for Pharmacy Programs.” The paper, authored by CPNP’s curriculum paper task force, presents survey results describing the clinical curriculum in psychiatry and neurology received by the 2015 graduating class of accredited pharmacy programs in the U.S. Views on what clinical content in neuropsychiatry should be taught in pharmacy programs from a survey of CPNP members with board certification and an academic affiliation is also presented. The task force used results from both surveys, literature analysis, and consensus views to develop recommendations on how learning opportunities can be improved and better structured to prepare pharmacists to provide patient-centered care for persons with psychiatric and neurologic disorders. The paper provides insights on how these improvements can assist a pharmacy program in achieving alignment with the ACPE 2016 standard and CAPE outcomes.

To learn more, read the complete findings published in AJPE or review in the infographic.

Key findings from the surveys show:

  1. Greater than 80% of topics in psychiatry and neurology are taught by full-time faculty.
  2. Programs utilize BCPS faculty more often to teach topics in neurology while they utilize BCPP faculty to teach topics in psychiatry.
  3. Didactic lectures, team-based learning, and case-study activities were the most common teaching methods.
  4. Programs dedicated the most didactics (3 to 5+ hours) to epilepsy, depression, schizophrenia, substance use disorders and pain. Autism, traumatic brain injury, personality, and eating disorders were either not taught or given ≤ 1 hour of didactics in most programs.
  5. APPE electives in psychiatry outnumbered those in neurology 5 to 1. Inpatient psychiatry had the most APPE placements with a mean of 19.6, range 0-83. 
  6. Two out of three CPNP members agreed curriculum could be improved with additional APPE offerings in psychiatry and neurology.  
  7. Members believe pharmacy programs should teach clinical skills such as mental status
    examination, neurologic examination, motivational interviewing and shared decision making.  

Overall Recommendations from survey data, literature analysis and consensus development include:

  1. Clinical content in psychiatry and neurology is best learned through direct patient contact and can be achieved through required curricular components (eg., IPPEs, APPEs, electives with experiential components).
  2. Direct patient contact with persons who have psychiatric and neurologic disorders early in a pharmacy curriculum is necessary to decrease stigma and teach necessary assessment and communication skills.
  3. Development of ambulatory care experiential sites in psychiatry and neurology in addition to acute care sites in neurology are critical due to the need for pharmacists in these areas.
  4. Psychiatric and neurologic clinical content areas are well-suited to teaching person-centered team-based care as recommended by ACPE standard 2016 and CAPE outcomes.
  5. Clinical specialists with a BCPP and specialists in neurology should be included as faculty in all pharmacy programs. 

Academic members of CPNP continue to engage with each other on issues of pharmacy curriculum as part of the Teaching Community.

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