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Cynthia A. Gutierrez, PharmD, MS, BCPP
Past Chair, Annual Meeting Program Committee

Attendees of the 2019 CPNP Annual Meeting have the opportunity to develop practical skills in suicide prevention, risk assessment, and risk mitigation through a pre-meeting workshop entitled Suicide Prevention, Assessment, and Management Strategies for Pharmacy Professionals. The workshop will be held on Sunday, April 7 from 8:00-11:15 AM.

Suicide is a growing health concern worldwide. Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States in 2016.1 Because suicide is a major health concern, it is imperative that all health care professionals recognize patients at risk and know what to do for these patients. Pharmacists are health care providers who have frequent interactions with clients and have the opportunity to identify those who may require intervention to prevent self-harm. Pharmacists in collaboration with physicians, psychologists, social workers, and nurses, can develop and implement mitigation strategies to reduce risk.

The workshop, led by Dr. Rosana Oliveira (right) and Dr. Brandy Singer (left), will review the facts and dispel common myths regarding suicide to improve the learner’s comfort level and communication skills in talking with clients about suicide. Attendees will leave with the ability to conduct a formal risk assessment and adequately document findings in the medical record. In addition, attendees will gain knowledge on how pharmacists can reduce the risk of suicide. Pharmacists participating in this program will be able to:

  1. Discuss the epidemiology of suicide.
  2. Explain the components of suicide risk assessment.
  3. Utilize interviewing strategies for assessing the risk of clients with suicidal ideation and behaviors.
  4. Review commonly used suicide risk assessment tools used in various patient care settings.
  5. Assess and document suicide risk for a specific patient taking into account static risk, dynamic risk, protective factors, and risk level.
  6. Evaluate patient cases and prepare an appropriate treatment plan.
  7. Describe the role a pharmacist can have and resources available in reducing suicide risk in their practice site.

The Speakers

Dr. Oliveira, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP graduated from the University of Connecticut prior to completing PGY1 and PGY2 Psychiatric Pharmacy Practice Residencies at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS) in San Antonio, Texas in 2014. She began working for STVHCS as a clinical pharmacy specialist in mental health right after graduation. Dr. Oliveira has been an active member of the facility’s High Risk for Suicide Committee and provides training in suicide risk assessment to fellow employees. She now serves as Program Manager for Mental Health Clinical Pharmacy Programs at STVHCS. As a Mental Health Subject Matter Expert for the Veterans Health Administration National Clinical Pharmacy Practice Office, she has served as a mentor, presenter, and consultant in efforts to help advance clinical pharmacy practice across the Veterans Affairs system.

Dr. Singer, PharmD, BCPP, graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacy from Oregon State University in 1997. She went on to complete a pharmacy practice residency (PGY-1) at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington and a psychiatric pharmacy specialty residency (PGY-2) also in Spokane. Dr. Singer implemented a unique practice at the 1st Avenue Pharmacy, an independent specialty, psychiatric community pharmacy. For almost a decade, she was involved in providing innovative pharmacy services for the mental health community including administering long-acting antipsychotic injections, using point-of-care laboratory testing for clozapine monitoring, and getting to know her clients. She recently came full-circle and returned to Eastern State Hospital to continue to help customers as they become patients on their road to recovery.

Reference

  1. Injury Prevention and Control. Centers for Disease Control. September 21, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html. Accessed October 2, 2018.
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