Posted by Philip Poole on 2012-02-23

Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy and faculty member B. DeeAnn Dugan are part of a collaborative effort in patient safety that has received national awards from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative.

The Jefferson County Department of Health and Birmingham’s Cooper Green Mercy Hospital also are part of the Jefferson County Collaboration with Samford that received the Outstanding Performance Award for championing patient safety and health outcomes. The collaborative was selected for “notable improved increases in medical management, health outcomes and patient safety through documentation and performance,” according to the HRSA. About 165 collaborative teams nationally were eligible for the award, according to Dugan.

Dugan, who is an associate professor of pharmacy practice and helps to coordinate the collaborative, received the Quality Leadership Award. According to HRSA, the leadership award is given to an individual “who removes barriers in the most dramatic way for an organization to expand the delivery of patient care and/or in the refinement of their care delivery system to improve patient safety and medication management.

Dugan, who has taught at Samford since 2008, said the national recognition was important for the patients, faculty, residents and students involved in the collaborative. Dugan is assisted by Samford pharmacy faculty members Roger Lander and Jessica Whalen Skelley, and about 50 Samford pharmacy students are involved.

The collaborative is about four years old, Dugan said, and started with 55 patients who had high blood sugar levels and were at high risk for diabetes. In eight months, 43 percent of the patients had decreased their blood sugar levels and risks for further health complications “significantly,” she noted. The program was recognized for documenting and tracking patient stories.

Diabetes was selected because of the high risk of diabetes complications in the Birmingham area population, and McWhorter School of Pharmacy had conducted diabetes clinics with the health department for about three years. The project started with a small population sample and grew as the team determined what worked and did not work with patients, Dugan explained.

“We knew that our team was making a difference, and our patients knew that we were making a difference,” Dugan said. “It demonstrates that when we work together, good things are possible. The experience transformed the lives of the patients, the providers, the residents and the students when we saw what could be done.”

In addition to the other awards, Bryn Manzella, an administrator with the Jefferson County Department of Health, was one of nine recipients of the Outstanding Executive Leader Award. Manzella assists with the collaborative.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.