Faculty Highlight: Autumn Stewart-Lynch
Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Duquesne, Dr. Autumn Stewart-Lynch, highlights how her practice site at Heritage Valley Health System Family Medicine Center created a multidisciplinary approach to address a rising concern for the pediatric population on routine immunization accessibility during the pandemic. Dr. Stewart-Lynch shares the impactful results and how she engages her students in this important initiative.
The pandemic's forced closures of physicians' offices and limitations on patient visits have resulted in many pediatric patients not being able to start or continue their routine immunizations on time. As you have likely heard, this is raising concerns globally of a second pandemic of vaccine preventable diseases that were previously contained due to effective immunization strategies. Our practice's patient population is especially vulnerable even during normal times; the impact of COVID has drastically reduced the number of well child visits that occurred over the last year and our numbers are slowly returning to pre-COVID numbers.
In March of 2021, the leadership at HVHS Family Medicine decided a multidisciplinary approach was needed to address this problem in our community. Pharmacy, Nursing and Medicine collaborated to develop a weekly "Well-Child Wednesdays" clinic focused on getting our pediatric population into the office for screenings and immunizations. Student pharmacists received a list of pediatric patients in our practice and began reviewing immunization records to identify those children whose immunizations had fallen behind. They contacted parents and scheduled them in time slots reserved for these needs. Prior to the scheduled appointment, the students provided the nurse with a summary of the child's immunization needs recommended at that visit. The nurse reviewed these recommendations confirming their appropriateness and requested their order by the family medicine resident conducting the visit. Nursing staff administered the vaccines. So far, we have had 4 "Well Child Wednesdays" since this project began. A total of 20 (out of 28 scheduled) patients have been seen and a total of 61 vaccinations have been administered. This is a great example of how the School's Academic Partners Program and our Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences impact the communities we serve. A huge thank you to the nurses who also helped to make this possible!
Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.
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