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Know Your Medicine, Know Your Pharmacist

October 2005 is American Pharmacists Month

Debra Parker, Pharm.D., President-Elect and Member, Public & Professional Relations Committee

October 2005 is American Pharmacists Month, and the slogan is Know Your Medicine, Know Your Pharmacist. What better time to educate patients and other consumers about the pharmacist's important role in health care? Not sure what you could do? Short on time? Here are a few ideas that may help you get started.

Present the ASK Program. ASK stands for Answers, Service, Knowledge. It is a PowerPoint program created by OPA and geared toward patients. The program emphasizes how the pharmacist can assist the patient in safe and appropriate use of medications. The work has already been done for you - all you need to do is find a willing audience. OPA can send you the program electronically or a hard copy from which you could make handouts.

Provide a "Brown Bag" program for a local group of senior citizens. This provides an informal atmosphere allowing important one-on-one interaction and discussion. This is an excellent opportunity for the community to get to know you. Local church groups, assisted living facilities, Kiwanis, etc. are often interested parties. Resources may be found at

Hang a Banner. Hang a banner outside your pharmacy area showcasing the "Know Your Medicine, Know Your Pharmacist" slogan. Also consider displaying photos of the pharmacists on staff, and maybe even a few words about them or their "message" to others.

Take Advantage of Flu Season. As American Pharmacists Month falls during flu season, consider co-marketing your immunization skills (if applicable) along with other important information and services the pharmacist can provide.

Newsletter. Share a newsletter either directed towards patients or staff in your institution. It could include skills and services pharmacists provide, perhaps a "bio" on each of the pharmacists, safe use of medication messages, etc.

Direct others toward useful websites. Your activity could be as simple as sharing useful websites that contain good patient information. You may also use websites to help you generate other ideas of how you can "reach out."

At, you'll find sample news releases, sample public service announcements, media advisories, sample articles, sample patient education articles. Much work has already been done. All you need to do is share it with your local media and/or consumers.

Write a short article for your local newspaper. Check out the American Pharmacists Association's (APhA) website ( Click on the Know Your Medicine, Know Your Pharmacist logo for information on their Planning Guide which includes lots of useful information.

If you have an idea, but need help, let OPA know; perhaps we can help you network in your area. Check out the OPA Resource Center. You'll find videos, PowerPoint programs, program outlines, etc. on a variety of topics. These materials are available on loan to OPA members at no charge.
OPA Resource Center
  • Directory of Public & Professional Relations Committee Educational Resources
  • Directory of Historic materials

    Can't do it in October, or want to do more? Not a problem. Carry your enthusiasm and momentum past this month. Year round, we want others to know not only that we care, but that we are an important part of the healthcare system. Take pictures, if possible, and share your experience. You may inspire a colleague.

    Whatever you do, OPA would love to hear back from you.
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