Expert Trainer Insight Series, Part 2:
An Interview with Amanda Kennedy, PharmD, BCPS, Director of the Vermont Academic Detailing Program
NaRCAD: Hi, Amanda! We’re looking forward to chatting with you. You’ve been an academic detailer for about 13 or 14 years—tell us about the Vermont program.
Amanda: The Vermont Academic Detailing Program was started in 1999, by Amy Jaeger, PharmD. I trained with Dr. Jaeger as a pharmacy resident. When she left Vermont in the early 2000s, she wanted to leave the program to someone who would be passionate about evidence-based prescribing in primary care.
So the job was mine! Amy unfortunately passed away unexpectedly in 2005, but her mentoring and passion for patient care has stayed with me, and has forever shaped the way I think about pharmacy and academic detailing.
We’ve evolved over time into a more organized program, with a grassroots focus of serving our state’s primary care providers. This commitment to service is how we succeed in building strong relationships with providers over time, and we infuse the spirit of service into all of our sessions.
NaRCAD: What challenges do you face that are specific to being a rural program?
Amanda: Our program has been stable, but it's been low budget over time. Despite being a small state, we face many challenges balancing the feasibility of delivering sessions to providers with our rural geography.
The evidence-base for academic detailing clearly demonstrates the value of a 1:1 ratio of academic detailer to provider. However, it doesn’t make sense for us to travel 2 hours each way to see one provider only to repeat the process the next day for a second provider within the same practice.
So we mostly deliver small group academic detailing sessions, as a way to serve as many providers as possible within our budget. We‘re mindful that “small group” means about 3 prescribers, which matches the types of practices we serve.
NaRCAD: Along with being a seasoned academic detailer, you also help us here at NaRCAD to train groups of new detailers at our Boston-based techniques trainings. Can you share some highlights?
Amanda: The power of the NaRCAD trainings is in the power of the individuals who attend. Realizing that other people are struggling with the same issues, and trying to address these issues with academic detailing, is so powerful.
NaRCAD: What would you tell someone who’s thinking about coming to a future NaRCAD training?
Amanda: I'd tell them to have fun with it! This training is a special opportunity to focus on how to best communicate with people around behavior change. It allows one to put aside specific topics and come together in a group to think about how best to deliver complex information.
The model applies across topics, allowing people from all types of programs to work towards a common goal. The training is hard work, but so rewarding, and offers the chance to learn and network with other trainees. The best part is that it’s immediately applicable upon returning to your program.
NaRCAD: That’s good advice—we agree that learning opportunities should be both challenging and enjoyable. In other news, we heard you recently presented at a U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Briefing. Tell us about that.
Amanda: I was invited to present at the briefing entitled, “Getting the Medications Right”: An essential ingredient in achieving the goals of H.R. 4878 – the Medicare Better Care, Lower Cost Act. The briefing was presented by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists.
The purpose of the briefing was to highlight pharmacists as members of the primary care team. I specifically presented some of my Vermont research that involved partnering pharmacists within patient-centered medical homes.
It was the perfect opportunity to showcase the innovative work we are doing here in Vermont. I think there was a great response from those who attended and for me personally, it was an absolute honor to be there.
NaRCAD: Thanks so much for taking the time to connect with us, Amanda. We’re delighted to have you as part of our core team of training facilitators, and we’re excited to share what you’re doing in Vermont with our community.
Learn more about Amanda Kennedy, or visit our Team Page to learn more about NaRCAD staff.
Join Us: NaRCAD's next training is open for registration.
Ask the Expert: Questions for Amanda? Ideas for us? Thoughts on detailing? Share your response in the comment section below for community discussion!
Highlighting Best Practices
We highlight what's working in clinical education through interviews, features, event recaps, and guest blogs, offering clinical educators the chance to share successes and lessons learned from around the country & beyond.