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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI, ABC 6 launch ‘Ask the Pharmacist’ segment

Media Contact: URI Communications, 401-874-2116

Another way that University’s College of Pharmacy
helps Southeastern New Englanders

KINGSTON, R.I. -- January 23, 2006 -- The University of Rhode Island and Providence television station ABC 6 have launched a new segment called “Ask the Pharmacist” to provide viewers in Southeastern New England with accurate and timely answers to their medication questions.

Featuring registered pharmacist Dr. Kristina Ward, clinical assistant professor at the URI College of Pharmacy and director of its Drug Information Services, the segments run each Tuesday and Thursday on the 6 a.m. and noon newscasts. The format is designed so that Ward can respond to pressing questions on such topics as prescription drug interactions, Medicare Part D, over-the-counter treatments, herbal remedies and even issues raised by TV ads touting prescription medication for everything from depression to arthritis.

Viewers may go to the ABC 6 web site to enter their questions for Ward, and she will answer as many as time permits. The segment is a project of the URI Department of Communications/News Bureau, the URI College of Pharmacy and ABC 6 television.

“Through our Pharmacy Outreach Program, we provide services to thousands of residents in Rhode Island each year,” said URI Pharmacy Dean Donald Letendre. “This partnership with Channel 6 is another way for us to reach even more people on critical medication issues, especially those relating to drug interactions, pain management and chronic and acute illnesses. We are grateful to Channel 6 for providing this great forum to the University and to its viewers.”

Channel 6 News Director Edwin Hart said the new segment gives the station a new way to present health care information to its viewers. “What better way is there than to tap the extensive resources and knowledge of URI’s College of Pharmacy? Because of its outreach, research and professional and graduate degree programs, we know the information we provide on Ask the Pharmacist will be accurate, timely and understandable.”

Letendre and Hart agreed that they chose Ward as host of the segment with the wide variety of viewer interests’ in mind. “She is knowledgeable, personable and someone with whom viewers will feel comfortable,” Hart said.

As the head of Drug Information Services at URI, Ward heads a unit that provides health care professionals with timely, evidence-based drug information to promote the safe, rational use of medications and that serves as an education site for doctor of pharmacy students.

She also coordinates an interactive learning class that focuses on developing basic drug information and literature retrieval skills, offers an introduction to drug information elective and lectures on women’s health in the endocrine/metabolic portion of the curriculum.

Ward earned her bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of Rhode Island in 1994, her doctor of pharmacy from the University of Pittsburgh in 1996, and completed two years of postdoctoral residency training at University Medical Center in Jacksonville, Fla.