Professors Jennifer Snyder and Samuel Gurevitz decided in August 2010 that they wanted to write articles with their students in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, so they sent out an e-mail asking for collaborators.
Katie Peterson and Kristin Kelly, both studying to be physician assistants, responded.
And now, a little more than a year later, they’ve been published.
The first result of their work together, “Hypothyroidism and Subclinical Hypothyroidism in the Older Patient,” appears in the latest edition of The Consultant Pharmacist, the journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists.
“We wanted to get the students involved, let them have an opportunity to see what’s involved in publishing,” said Gurevitz, a longtime pharmacist who joined the Butler faculty three years ago.
“We view this as a different way to collaborate with the students so they understand it’s not above them, it’s something they’re capable of doing,” added Snyder, who’s taught at Butler for 12 years. “They just need to carve out time to do it.”
They culled information from 51 separate sources to provide pharmacists with the best, most complete documentation of all the research that has been done on hypothyroidism – an under-diagnosed condition in which the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone. Since the thyroid is the body’s “thermostat,” when it’s not working properly, the result can be a range of symptoms: malaise, fatigue, weight gain, memory loss, hair loss, constipation and more.
Their article shares information on the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism and how to diagnose and treat the condition based on what researchers have discovered. They also provide a list of tips for how pharmacists can assist patients who suffer with hypothyroidism.
Their article concludes that hypothyroidism is most common in females and individuals 60 and older.
“It’s only going to increase in the United States based on our aging population,” Snyder said. “And it’s under-diagnosed.”
Gurevitz said the experience gave the students the opportunity to do research, analyze the quality of that work and pull together disparate bits of information to write a coherent story about where the research now stands.
Peterson said getting to work with her professors was rewarding.
“It not only allowed me a chance to better understand their worlds as professors and healthcare providers but also gave me a broader sense of the potential we, as students, have as future clinicians,” she said. “I truly enjoyed gaining a more in depth understanding of hypothyroidism as well.”
And the professors appreciated having another opportunity to engage with students.
“We play a lot of sports with the students; that’s one way we collaborate,” Snyder said, referring to the “PA Olympics” competition within the PA program. “We want to do scholarly activity with them too. Each student comes with a different background and a different desire. We both highly value that relationship.”