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Chelsea N. Carr, PharmD, BCPP
Assistant Director of Pharmacy – Clinical Services
University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Spring Grove Hospital Center
Catonsville, MD

For many psychiatric pharmacists, ambulatory evaluation and treatment of comorbid somatic diagnoses is a required part of patient management. Cardiovascular diseases are not only common in patients with mental illness, but mental illness can also lead to negative cardiovascular effects.1 Likewise, many psychotropic medications can also lead to cardiovascular risk and/or cardiovascular-related adverse effects.2,3 Even if your practice does not require any direct evaluation and management of ambulatory care-related diagnoses, knowing that cardiovascular diseases in patients with mental illness are common and understanding which routine medications may lead to new or further cardiovascular complications is important for providing informed, holistic patient care to potentially predict or identify a problem and make appropriate referrals.


At the 2022 CPNP Annual Meeting, Drs. Sarah Anderson and Joel Marrs, both experts in their field of ambulatory care, led a three-hour, hands-on workshop exploring the relationship between mental illness and cardiovascular disease. They used a combination of didactic teaching and case-based discussion to break down guidelines for hypertension, cholesterol, primary prevention, and other areas into more digestible pieces so that any psychiatric pharmacist, regardless of ambulatory care experience, would be able to apply this information easily and efficiently to patients. Drs. Anderson and Marrs used interactive, real-world, complex patient cases for primary prevention, secondary prevention, as well as chronic kidney disease; all examples that any psychiatric pharmacist could encounter in their practice.

Upon conclusion of the workshop, audience feedback was overwhelmingly positive and well-received by all who attended. Former Annual Meeting Director, Jerry Overman, PharmD, BCPP, attended the in-person workshop and shared:

Drs. Sarah Anderson and Joel Marrs did an amazing job reviewing the connection between mental health disorders and the elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition to addressing the risks of increased weight gain and cardiovascular problems, they presented a thorough review of the standards of practice for both primary and secondary prevention. The cases reviewed were thoughtful and allowed me to return to work ready to incorporate my gained knowledge at the bedside. Additionally, I found their review of chronic kidney disease and mental health disorder very enlightening.

This workshop was only offered in-person at the Annual Meeting, which resulted in many members expressing interest in a virtual workshop. Given the incredible work that Drs. Anderson and Marrs put into this workshop and the praise received by in-person attendees, CPNP/AAPP is pleased to announce that this workshop will be available to virtual attendees in early 2023!

SAVE THE DATE – Virtual Workshop

Hands-on Approach to Cardiovascular Disease Risk Management for People Living with Mental Illness

March 1, 2023 (2:00-5:15 PM Eastern, 1:00-4:15 PM Central, 12:00-3:15 PM Mountain)

Presented by:

Sarah Anderson, PharmD, BCACP, BCPS, FASHP, FCCP
Scientific Director
Clinical Care Options
Denver, CO

Ambulatory Pharmacy Clinical Coordinator
Billings Clinic

Visiting Clinical Associate Professor
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Billings, MT


More information will be posted on the AAPP 2023 website as soon as it’s available. For now, save the date: March 1, 2023!

Participant Comments

The workshop provided a comprehensive update of chronic disease states that often plague our patient population, either due to psychotropic medication use or life’s natural course. Practical application of clinical guidelines and resources through interactive cases allowed me to leave feeling confident in my ability to identify appropriate evidence-based care for these disease states. - Jordan Cooler Haygood, PharmD, BCPP

I highly recommend this program! It was a very thorough, yet concise, review of the key monitoring parameters and pharmacotherapy of cardiovascular disease in people with mental illness. I am definitely utilizing the skills learned in the program on a daily basis in my practice. - Mary Borovicka, PharmD, BCPP


  1. CDC. Heart Disease and Mental Health Disorders webpage. Last accessed March 11, 2022.
  2. DeJongh BM. Ment Health Clin [Internet]. 2021;11(6):311-9.
  3. Taylor D. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2008 Dec;118(6):434-42.
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