Pharmacy Professors Achieve Certification; Start Self-Care Blog

by Emily Finlay, Public Relations Writer

Tracy Frame, Pharm.D., Melody Hartzler, Pharm.D., and Kelly Wright, Pharm.D., recently achieved their ambulatory care specialty certifications. All three teach in the Cedarville University School of Pharmacy. The trio of faculty also have started a new self-care blog to help self-care patients.

Prior to sitting for the exam, they were required to gain experience in ambulatory care pharmacy, whether through a residency or practice experience in a pharmacist-run ambulatory care practice. While gaining the necessary experience, the women cared for patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and provided smoking cessation and anticoagulation services.

The certification is not a necessity, Wright said, but it enhances a pharmacist’s qualifications, testing skills and knowledge gained through every year of education. The certification is valid for seven years, at which point the women will have to take a recertification exam or have completed 100 hours of continuing education credits to be recertified.

“You’ve been preparing for this your whole life, in all your schooling,” she said.

All three professors continue to practice in health care centers, working as part of primary care teams. These centers are also used to train Cedarville pharmacy students for their advanced pharmacy practice experiences in their last year of school.

Along with completing their certifications, the women created a blog ( or on Twitter at @CUSelfCare) that is dedicated to self-care medicine for a class they team-teach. Through the blog, pharmacy students have been learning the merits of social media while creating a trusted source for self-care patients on the web. Self-care medicine, which covers medical issues that can be treated with home-remedies or over-the-counter treatments, is readily available online, but often comes from questionable sources. Students in the course were required to find and review recent articles related to self-care, research the treatments discussed in them and write blog posts advising patients about the merits of the treatments. 

After writing the posts, with guidance from the three professors, the students peer-reviewed each other’s work, giving feedback and learning how to write for the medical field.

Hartzler, who first suggested the blog, said faculty wanted to help students realize the potential of social media and prepare them for potentially writing their own blogs in the future. Many independent and consultant pharmacists, she said, have found social media to be a powerful tool for staying connected with patients and providing a trusted source of information. 

The blog, which will not be used until the class is offered again in the fall, has had over 3,000 views since the class began in August 2013. Hartzler said one hope is that readers might be led to look at Cedarville’s nursing or pharmacy programs through the blog.

Frame said she thinks the assignment went well and students enjoyed the experience. The goal, she said, was to get valid information out to patients looking for it from unreliable sources. Through the blog, students were able to provide a credible resource for these patients, while learning how to think and write about self-care topics.

“They might not see the benefit now, but when they’re working as pharmacists, they’ll see the benefit of having to critically think about health topics all over the news at that time,” she said. “Hopefully they will know how to appropriately acquire and research information to help their patients understand what is going on.”

Cedarville University, located east of Dayton, Ohio, has 3,459 students in more than 100 areas of study. A Baptist university of arts, sciences, professional and graduate programs, Cedarville is recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at