Arlington, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, today announced plans for a national tour this fall to advance the Test2LearnTM Community-Based Pharmacogenomics Certificate Program.

Pharmacogenomics is considered a new frontier in patient care, with great promise for patient outcomes and public health.

NACDS and the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy adapted Test2LearnTM from an innovative University platform that enables students to learn by using real genetic data in highly-interactive exercises. The certificate program will include online home study and in-person live components, including an optional activity for learners to undergo personal genomic testing. At each stop on the national tour, pharmacist participants will engage in the in-person aspect of the program, as well as receive the instruction necessary to administer the training to others.

“NACDS is excited to announce the availability of University of Pittsburgh content through the NACDS educational platform, Learner Community, for the benefit of practicing pharmacists, students, and schools and colleges of pharmacy,” said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE. “Pharmacogenomics is considered a new frontier in patient care, with great promise for patient outcomes and public health, and the ‘train-the-trainer’ focus of the fall 2016 national tour will expand the knowledge of it exponentially.”

Philip Empey, PharmD, PhD, BCPS, Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, noted, “Participants who have learned using this model tell us it makes a meaningful impact in their education. Our published outcome data shows students are highly-engaged and achieved better learning outcomes.  We are excited about offering this innovative certificate.”

Pharmacogenomics is a subset of the overarching concept of personalized medicine, which refers to ensuring that each patient receives the right medication and the right dose. Pharmacogenomics seeks to achieve that by predicting a response to a drug based on the individual’s genetic makeup.

Test2LearnTM teaches the principles of pharmacogenomics as well as its practical implications in disease states such as cardiology, oncology, neurology and infectious diseases, among others. It trains pharmacists to decipher genetic tests, translate that information, and make appropriate recommendations for the patient, including clinical decision making, interpretation of patient results, and counseling and collaboration with prescribers to help optimize patient medication regimens.

The program will be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a Practice-based Continuing Pharmacy Education activity, as defined by ACPE. The online home study module and the one-day live in-person module total approximately 20 credit hours of pharmacogenomics educational content. Program participants have the unique opportunity to use an anonymous genomic data set, or their own personal data, for the in-person educational module.

The first two-day event will occur on September 26 and 27, 2016 at the University of Pittsburgh. NACDS encourages those interested in participating to complete a pre-registration form, in anticipation of the formal opening of the registration process. Additional fall tour dates and locations will be announced by summer’s end, and more tour stops will be announced in 2017. Faculty will include representatives of the University of Pittsburgh. Voluntary genetic testing is being supported by the company 23andMe.

The announcement builds on NACDS’ recent extension of a national tour for another training program of tremendous promise for public health: a train-the-trainer program for administering point-of-care testing in community pharmacies. Point-of-care testing improves the treatment of flu, strep throat and other acute and chronic conditions.