Dr. Karen Moeller is a Clinical Professor and Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Kansas. She is board certified in psychiatric pharmacy and her primary practice site is the adult inpatient psychiatric unit at The University of Kansas Medical Center. She is heavily involved in her community, serving on numerous university and statewide committees.
Dr. Moeller has also been an active member of CPNP since joining in 2002 while completing her residency training at West Virginia University. She has served as a member and Chair of both the Communications Committee and the Consumer Relations Committee for CPNP. She has also served as a member of the Membership Committee, an abstract reviewer, a reviewer for the Psychiatric Pharmacotherapy Case Series, the Editorial Board for the Theory to Practice Case Series, and is currently our Member-at-Large on the CPNP Board of Directors.
This article will focus specifically on Dr. Moeller’s community involvement with providing information about psychiatric medications for Crisis Intervention Team training. She educates diverse audiences including health care providers, school resource officers, law enforcement officers, prison staff, social workers, and employees of the District Attorney’s offices in the Topeka and Kansas City areas on this subject. These educational offerings often attract attendees from several other areas of eastern Kansas, including Wichita.
Crisis Intervention programs provide team members with tools to help them deliver safe and effective care to patients suffering from psychiatric illnesses in crisis. This includes teaching verbal and nonverbal de-escalation techniques, when and how to physically intervene, and the basic symptomatology of psychiatric illnesses and the effects of the medications used to treat them.
Treatment adherence is one of the key pieces Dr. Moeller covers in these presentations. She informs her audiences of the high percentages of medication noncompliance in this patient population and the many potential reasons for this. This information paired with further education about the usual presenting symptoms of common psychiatric illnesses provides an understanding of what one may encounter when trying to assist an individual in a crisis. Additionally, she covers several commonly used drug classes and possible side effects associated with them. These topics help Crisis Intervention Team members understand and empathize with the difficulties patients are struggling against in these scenarios in order to better facilitate safe and effective interventions.
I can personally attest to the effectiveness of Dr. Moeller’s teaching methods as a former pharmacy student of hers. The information she provides in the classroom, and the experiences she facilitates through her APPE rotation are incredibly informative, memorable, and useful. Just as she stoked my personal interest in psychiatric pharmacy in the classroom and on rotations, the information she provides as part of CIT training undoubtedly promotes a great deal of interest and awareness among the attendees and helps them provide better care to their patients and clients.
Dr. Moeller is very dedicated and enthusiastic about the work she does, and this clearly rubs off on those with whom she interacts. She is an exceptional educator and an incredible advocate for patients both in her own community as well as nationally through her efforts with CPNP. She is a model member of our profession and provides an excellent example for each of us to follow.