Kristin Waters, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP
Assistant Clinical Professor
University of Connecticut
Dr. Nathaniel (Nate) Rickles, PharmD, PhD, BCPP, FAPhA is currently an associate clinical professor at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy in Storrs, CT. He has had extensive experience teaching students at other schools of pharmacy, including Northeastern University, Long Island University, and the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Rickles’ teaching efforts are not restricted to students; he provides training to community pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and faculty/staff at the UConn School of Pharmacy.
Dr. Rickles received his PharmD at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy before going on to complete his pharmacy practice residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas. He subsequently obtained a masters of science and a doctor of philosophy degrees in the Social and Administrative Sciences, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in mental health services research at the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy.
As a member of CPNP since 2005, this spotlight will focus on Dr. Rickles’ extensive community involvement, especially on his work with the WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for WOMen Across the Nation) program, a component of the Connecticut Early Detection and Prevention Program. The goal of WISEWOMAN is to provide preventive cardiovascular services to women between 40 and 64 years of age with no insurance, including undocumented women, or women with high insurance deductibles. Dr. Rickles has been instrumental in facilitating the implementation of medication therapy management (MTM) into the program so that eligible patients can meet directly with a pharmacist. Currently, each eligible patient is able to receive approximately 3.5 hours of MTM spread out over a three to four month period. Dr. Rickles, with the help of pharmacy students and other pharmacists from the UConn School of Pharmacy, is actively helping the Connecticut Department of Public Health to recruit new women for the program.
The WISEWOMAN program has had a significant impact on patient outcomes since 2017. Cardiovascular outcomes include significant decreases in systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure. A multitude of drug therapy problems have also been identified, and the majority of those problems (80%) are either partially or fully resolved through MTM. The patients’ medication knowledge has also increased significantly from the initial visit to subsequent visits.
When asked what he is most proud of with regards to the WISEWOMAN program, Dr. Rickles makes it obvious that he is passionate about promoting any effort to target the reduction in health disparities across the United States. While he is proud of the objective results of the program, he is especially proud that the UConn School of Pharmacy “has created the needed infrastructure to support the complex relationships between clinical navigators at the clinics, the pharmacists, the patients, the prescribers, and the Department of Public Health. We have created a fairly well-oiled system to carry out a wide range of activities: identifying participants, setting up of appointments, pharmacist completion of intake forms, submission of recommendations, follow-up and monitoring, data entry, and reporting results to the Department of Public Health.”
Outside of WISEWOMAN, Dr. Rickles is highly involved in other community efforts. He leads training programs for community pharmacists in Connecticut so that they are able to administer long-acting injectable antipsychotics. This program was initially funded, but to keep it sustainable, Dr. Rickles has continued the training program as a volunteer. Dr. Rickles also routinely leads Mental Health First Aid training sessions for pharmacists, pharmacy students, technicians, and staff, which has required modification for virtual trainings in the setting of COVID-19 restrictions. Lastly, Dr. Rickles has developed educational modules on opioid safety in which health district staff were trained to deliver 1:1 visits using academic detailing techniques. So far, 12 prescribers and 9 pharmacists have been detailed due to this training across five health districts in CT.
On a personal basis, Dr. Rickles has been an excellent colleague and role model for me as a new faculty member at UConn. He is extremely enthusiastic about teaching, research, and about patient care. He is dedicated to advocating for improvement in patient care, and he is a model member of our profession.