PharmD candidates Anisa L. Moore & Katelyn R. Brubaker didn't stop with just one kind of engagement. After creating a top ten list, the pair explored multiple ways to engage in dialogue with audiences to combat the public's misconceptions about medication.
The use of medications has significantly increased over the years, and with more available treatments have come more misconceptions. These misconceptions regarding the use or effectiveness of different medications can stem from either a lack of understanding or inaccurate sources of information. With the continuous development of medicine, pharmacy students and scientists must ensure that the public understands how to safely use these medications.
In order to combat these misconceptions, we have constructed a list of what we believe to be the top ten misconceptions about medications. After creating this list and writing a short blog post explaining these misconceptions, we had to determine how to best share this information with the public. We spent time brainstorming about which platform was best for our medication education outreach, but instead of choosing just one, we decided to use many!
Our very first outreach opportunity was to Lindsay Brubaker, the sister one of the authors, who has a degree in graphic design. After an engaging discussion about medication misconceptions, Lindsay created a beautiful infographic (above) portraying our top ten misconceptions in an aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-reference manner.
We then used the infographic as a starting point to engage local students from Patrick Goff’s science class at Beaumont Middle School in a Q&A session about medication misconceptions.
After the success of our engagement with middle schoolers, we decided to take our misconceptions message to a broader and more diverse audience via social media (e.g., Twitter, Instagram, Facebook). On these three platforms, we posted a daily question every day for ten days. Each question corresponded with one of our top ten misconceptions. From these polls, we were able to get a sense of the medication misconceptions of our audience. Based on the results, we posted about the correct answer to each of our questions and were able to educate people and correct their medication misconceptions. At the end of the ten days, we posted a link to our full blog post along with the corresponding graphic.
Through these activities, we learned that we had plenty of social media followers who are well-informed about medications, but there is still some work to be done. During our presentation, we started by asking the students what came to their minds when they thought of misconceptions about medications. The students came up with a lot of great answers, some of which were even on our list. After talking through their misconceptions, we then went over our top ten and gave the students printed handouts, which included the graphic as well as an outline of each of the top ten misconceptions. We incorporated the handouts into our presentation as a visual aid for the students as well as something they could share with their friends and family later.
Following our presentation, we were featured as guests on a podcast hosted by two of the 8th grade students at the school. The students asked us some follow-up questions about the misconceptions we covered during our earlier presentation and brought up additional questions about hot topics involving medicine.
Finally, to wrap it all up, we put on our creative hats and channeled our inner acting skills to create our first ever YouTube video explaining our top ten misconceptions through a role-playing scenario (please go watch and subscribe). We were thrilled to have over 300 views in only a few days, on a brand-new YouTube channel!
All this shows that a simple list can be brought to the public in many different ways. We are sure there are many more ways in which we can use this list to continue to reach out to the public and are exploring new ways to address these misconceptions with different segments of the public.
About Anisa & Katelyn
Anisa L. Moore (Twitter: @nisa_pharmacist) & Katelyn R. Brubaker (Twitter: @pupcake_2, Instagram: @pupcake.2) are PharmD students at the University of Kentucky College of pharmacy. They wrote this blog as a part of their public engagement class. #UKCOPPublicEngagement
The authors would like to thank Prof. Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova (Twitter: @GTsodikova, Instagram: gtsodikova, Facebook: Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova) for her guidance in writing this blog post and performing all activities listed herein.