Harding University College of Pharmacy joins Million Hearts to save lives

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation awarded Dr. Jeanie Smith, assistant professor of pharmacy, and the Harding College of Pharmacy a $5,000 grant as part of the Million Hearts initiative.

Million Hearts was launched in September 2011 to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. Several federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services, partnered with private-sector partners, such as the American Heart Association and YMCA, to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke, which are the first and fourth leading causes of death in the United States, according to the CDC.

Smith’s proposal aims to contribute to the Million Hearts initiative by expanding the health screenings and education services offered at the White County Fair and Get Down Downtown Festival in Searcy, Ark., in the fall. According to Dr. Julie Hixson-Wallace, dean of the College, Smith’s proposal was selected from a pool of almost 70 applicants and will be used to educate the public about cardiovascular disease.

Since 2009, pharmacy students have offered blood pressure monitoring, body mass index measurement and health education. This year, the College of Pharmacy will add cholesterol screening, education about appropriate aspirin therapy and smoking cessation to the services the students offer. Residents who visit the College of Pharmacy’s booths will receive a gift bag with education materials, two aspirin tablets, a wallet card to record blood pressure and cholesterol levels and a coupon for a free bottle of aspirin from a local pharmacy.

“I am thrilled to be partnering with NACDS, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes in our community,” Smith said. “I hope we have a very busy booth at both the [White County] Fair and Get Down Downtown so we can impact as many lives as possible.”

Harding is the largest private university in Arkansas and attracts more National Merit Scholars than any other private university in the state. Harding also maintains campuses in Australia, Chile, England, France, Greece, Italy and Zambia.