To help raise awareness about the prevalence and prevention of heart disease, members of Operation Heart from the American Pharmacists Association–Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy will host a weeklong campaign to educate students and the public about the “ABCs” of heart disease and stroke prevention during American Heart Month in February.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The “ABCs” of heart disease and stroke prevention focus on appropriate aspirin therapy, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation to help promote a healthy lifestyle and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Dubbed “Million Hearts Week,” the weeklong campaign also will highlight the School of Pharmacy’s partnership with Million Hearts, a national initiative led by the federal Department of Health and Human Services that brings together communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies, and private sector partners to make a lasting impact against heart disease and prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over five years.
“Million Hearts Week will provide a unique opportunity for student pharmacists to not only educate their peers about the importance of cardiovascular health, but to also empower patients to make healthy choices,” says Deanna Tran, PharmD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) and co-advisor of APhA-ASP.
The campaign begins Friday, Feb. 6, and features a number of events that highlight heart disease and stroke prevention. It will end with a health fair at Baltimore’s Lexington Market on Friday, Feb. 13. Complete event details are provided below:
Friday, Feb. 6 -- Million Hearts “Pledge” Kickoff
Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to wear red in support of American Heart Month’s National Wear Red Day. From 12:30 to 2 p.m., a variety of activities will take place in the Ellen H. Yankellow Grand Atrium in Pharmacy Hall, including a photo booth and heart health pledge activity, a talk by a School of Pharmacy faculty member, and a National Wear Red Day group photo. Faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend all of the events culminating in the group photo at 1:50 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 9 -- Amazing Aspirin Race
Operation Heart will host the Amazing Aspirin Race in the Ellen H. Yankellow Grand Atrium from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in which teams of two students will compete to complete various aspirin-related challenges. This activity is intended to teach students about appropriate aspirin therapy as it relates to cardiovascular health. All students are invited to participate.
Tuesday, Feb. 10 -- Blood Pressure Control
Blood pressure screenings will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Finksburg, Catonsville, and Professional Pharmacies. Pharmacy students will educate patients about the importance of maintaining a healthy blood pressure in order to help prevent a heart attack or stroke.
Wednesday, Feb. 11 -- Cholesterol Management
Students are invited to compete in a cook-off that will be held in the Ellen H. Yankellow Grand Atrium from 5 to 7 p.m. This cook-off is designed to raise awareness about the importance of healthy eating and determine who can prepare the healthiest and tastiest meal, as judged by School of Pharmacy faculty.
Thursday, Feb. 12 -- Smoking Cessation
Individuals can visit UMB’s Southern Management Corporation Campus Center from noon to 2 p.m. to participate in a variety of smoking cessation activities, including an interactive question and answer game.
Friday, Feb. 13 -- The Charm of Million Hearts
A health fair will be held at Lexington Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to educate the local community about Million Hearts and the “ABCs” of heart disease and stroke prevention. Tables at the health fair will provide information about appropriate aspirin therapy, blood pressure screenings, healthy eating, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation.
“The Million Hearts Initiative is an annual project that our student pharmacists have become very passionate about,” says Francis Nguyen, third-year student pharmacist and one of the chairs of APhA-ASP’s Operation Heart. “Outreach projects such as Million Hearts Week allow our members an important opportunity to work together, engage patients, and showcase the role that pharmacists and student pharmacists play in impacting patient health.”