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50 years out: Will your genes define your Rx?

Photo: Flickr user net_efekt/CC 2.0/

Tylenol should relieve pain, cough suppressants should ease cough and serious ailments should reliably respond to vital medication. But when a prescribed medicine doesn’t do its intended job, it can be difficult to decide who or what is to blame.

It doesn’t help that sometimes the problem doesn’t lie within the medicine or the doctor; it can lie within your genes.

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Preventing medical miscommunication means fewer medical errors

For a patient about to undergo surgery, a medical error is just about the last thing someone would want to worry about.

Upwards of 100,000 deaths occur in the United States each year because of medical mistakes. One of the biggest factors contributing to the problem is miscommunication or lack of communication between multiple health care professionals.

To address the problem, University of Minnesota health professional education programs are embracing the age-old mantra of learning to work together in class and competition.

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Are pharmacy schools graduating too many students?

Photo: Patricia H. via Flickr CC

Here’s a bit of health care news you probably haven’t heard too much of lately: America is graduating too many future health care providers.

Yet according to Dan Brown, Pharm.D., a professor of pharmacy practice at Palm Beach Atlantic University, that’s exactly the case when it comes to graduation rates at United States pharmacy schools.

University of Minnesota professor and pharmacist workforce researcher Jon Schommer, Ph.D., disagrees.

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Just what the doctor prescribed: A lesson in Rx dangers for middle schoolers

Photo: Dennis Hill via Flickr CC

From prescription drug abuse to “skittles parties” and medication missteps, the growing need for education about proper prescription drug use is here to stay.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs trail only marijuana and alcohol as the most frequently abused substances by people 14 and older. Teens and pre-teens nationwide are seeing more pills pop up, too, as the number of medications prescribed increases.

As the opportunities to misuse medicine grow, an education in the dangers of taking too many pills, not the right kind of pills, someone else’s pills, and counterfeit medication found online has become an important part of growing up healthy.

Programs like the University of Minnesota’s branch of AWARxE are providing just that kind of information to Minnesota’s preteens.

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Residency: Preparing future pharmacists for the workforce

The public perception and actual role of pharmacists in the United States is in the midst of a change. More and more U.S. pharmacists are transitioning from traditional roles like the filling of prescriptions to full participation in the health care team.

To meet the demand of this shift in the health care landscape, more and more doctorate of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) students now turn to residencies to learn how to meet patients’ medication needs first hand.

But unfortunately, not every student who applies for a residency is able to find one.

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Third-year medical student participates in competitive hematology research program

Research mentor Linda Burns, M.D., and Hewan Belete, Ph.D., at the 2012 ASH meeting

Editor’s note: Sarah Morean is the Medical School communications manager. This post first appeared on Medical School News.

By the time Hewan Belete started as a medical student at the University of Minnesota, she had already earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Mayo Clinic.

Though she came to the University with some experience as a researcher, she was unsure at first how to integrate that work with clinical medicine.

One opportunity that opened her eyes to clinical research was the American Society of Hematology’s Minority Medical Student Award Program (MMSAP). Belete participated in this program last year as a second-year student, and is participating again as a second-experience participant during her third year of medical school.

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