Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for one in every three deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This month is American Heart Month, raising awareness of cardiovascular health and disease prevention. The University of Iowa College of Pharmacy’s faculty, students, and alumni have a major impact on cardiovascular health.

Currently, students are working to improve heart health in the community. The college’s chapter of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) conducts screenings and educational events through Operation Heart. “[By participating in community events] we are able to utilize our knowledge to expand the role of pharmacists in the community, not just at the pharmacy,” says Daniel Kraft, co-coordinator of the College of Pharmacy’s Operation Heart chapter.

Operation Heart co-coordinator Megan Schwartz adds, “Operation Heart is rewarding because it is so important to talk to people about all the aspects of cardiovascular health – cholesterol, diet, exercise, to name just a few. There are so many ways you can reach people.”

The College of Pharmacy is also at the forefront of research on cardiovascular disease. Professor Barry Carter, PharmD, is an internationally-recognized expert in hypertension (high blood pressure) and team-based care. His current research focuses on hypertension and how pharmacists and physicians can best combine their efforts to help patients with hypertension to control their blood pressure and prevent heart disease. His work has especially focused on medical offices where pharmacists and physicians work side-by-side to improve the care of their patients.

If you would like more information on how you can better your cardiovascular health, representatives from the College of Pharmacy's Operation Heart will be at the Hy-Vee Drugstore in Iowa City on February 16 and 23, from 3:00-6:00 pm.