Doctors and pharmacists can learn a lot from each other, especially when it comes to managing patient medications and preventing medication errors. Drug therapy has gotten so complex that the Institute of Medicine found in a 2006 report that at least 1.5 million Americans are sickened, injured or killed annually by their prescription drugs.

To help with this intricate drug management issue, the College of Pharmacy at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif., is collaborating with preceptors Dr. Bryn Henderson and Pharmacist R. Wayne Blackburn to create the Family Practice Medication Therapeutic Management (MTM) Collaborative Program.

Under the auspices of Blackburn and College of Pharmacy Assistant Professor of Clinical Practice and Administration Roger Klotz, third-year College of Pharmacy student Danielle Arredondo recently started her the ambulatory care rotation at Dr. Henderson’s Telehealth Medical Group, a family medicine practice in Orange, Calif.

“”PharmD students rotate in a family medicine practice to learn how to evaluate the medication that patients are taking,”” Henderson said. “”I believe this is the first program of its kind in the United States.””

Henderson, a former professor and assistant dean of Clinical Affairs for the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) at WesternU, says this is a unique experience for him and for the student, because they learn from each other.

Before Arredondo arrives for work at Dr. Henderson’s practice, she has determined her patients’ medications by calling them the day before to ensure accuracy. Then Henderson, Blackburn and often a resident or two discuss the medications and the next steps for the patient.

Two COMP graduates, Jose Dalprat, DO ’10, and Amine Chahbouni, DO ’09, are residents at Dr. Henderson’s office through Downey Regional Medical Center.

“”The university’s benefit is having a broader scope of experience levels or training levels for our students,”” Klotz said. “”The practice and the university are helping to implement collaborative practice, or accountable care organizations. What we’re going to learn can be applied across the country. We can better teach pharmacy students and pharmacists how to work collaboratively with medicine, and vice versa.””

Using a medical practice to teach pharmacy students has not previously been done outside of a hospital or institution, Klotz and Henderson said.

Arredondo is the first WesternU pharmacy student to start the program. Klotz said it would be a regular rotation that will expand to more students and practices.

As the rotation grows, Family Practice Medication Therapeutic Management (MTM) Collaborative Program recognizes issues to help improve it: