At a time when the face of HIV/AIDS in America is changing, Roosevelt University’s College of Pharmacy (RUCOP) is helping to lay the foundation for the latest in HIV/AIDS care and training.
Selected as an integration site for the Midwest Integration of the National HIV Curriculum (MINHC) project, RUCOP is one of six accredited health professions’ programs in Illinois and among 24 in the Midwest that will systematically integrate for the first time into existing coursework the National HIV Curriculum e-learning platform.
“The evolution of HIV treatment over the last three decades has transformed this diagnosis from a death sentence to a chronic, manageable condition,” said Dr. Jason Alegro, assistant professor of clinical sciences at RUCOP.
"However, there has never been a consistent or standard way to educate future healthcare providers about this disease and how they can best care for patients,” he said.
An infectious diseases clinical pharmacy specialist at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Chicago, Alegro has regularly taught RUCOP’s course on infectious diseases since joining Roosevelt in 2016.
This course explores the pathophysiology and treatment of a myriad of conditions caused by bacteria, viruses and other organisms. Now it will be a launching pad through Feb. 6 for cutting-edge learning about HIV.
The course will include:
- New lectures on development, use and impact of antiretrovirals, which are rapidly changing prognosis/care
- Demographics on today’s patients, including women, minorities and opioid users, each with unique priorities and needs
- Integration of the MINHC project’s National HIV Curriculum platform into coursework
- Review of latest case studies at a final workshop where RUCOP students will reflect on what they have learned and offer solutions
“We’re very excited to be part of this project,” said RUCOP Dean Melissa Hogan. “Not only does it ensure that our students receive optimal training; it also is a great example of the ways that our faculty go the extra mile to provide our students with cutting-edge learning,” she said.
Made possible by a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, the MINHC project aims to educate and train clinicians on effective delivery of HIV care by incorporating the National HIV Curriculum into existing coursework at health-profession programs nationwide.
Evaluation of HIV training is being done at integration sites in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota and Ohio, including RUCOP. Leading the project is the Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center (MATEC), Department of Family Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The ultimate goal is to learn the best NHC practices from all 24 academic programs participating in the project, according to Kalob Gossett, regional project coordinator at MATEC.
Developed in part by the University of Washington and funded by a grant from HRSA, the online learning platform includes dynamic, up-to-date information on HIV prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment. It also includes extensive reference materials, self-study modules, case studies and assessments.
Alegro believes this information will be vital to pharmacists, who, as frontline caregivers, likely will see more and more people in need of assistance as they continue to live and cope with HIV/AIDS.
“It makes the national curriculum, with its emphasis on both progress and new realities, essential for those who will care for patients living with HIV,” said Alegro.