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Debates of Controversial Therapeutic Topics

Level of activity: Advanced

Setting: Classroom or APPE (Patient Care or Academic)


ACPE Standards 2016: 1.1, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.6

EPAs: Patient Care Provider (Collect, Analyze, Care Planning), Information Master (Educate others, Evidence-based care)

PPCP: Assess, Plan, Communicate

Instructors can request access to the Instructor's Guide on AccessPharmacy. Email Customer Success ( for more information.


Timothy Gladwell, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP, is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (ADAA) and an Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). Dr. Gladwell received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. He completed a PGY1 Pharmacy Residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and a PGY2 Pharmacy Residency in Internal Medicine and Cardiology at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. He became a Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist in 2000 and a Board-Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist in 2011. Prior to his current appointment at UMES, he served as a full-time faculty member at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and at Husson University in Bangor, Maine. As a registered pharmacist for over 20 years, Dr. Gladwell has practiced in a variety of capacities including positions as the clinical pharmacy specialist in Cardiology Critical Care at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, the pharmacy manager at Walgreens and CVS, and the ambulatory care clinical pharmacist at Penobscot Community Health Care in Maine and Peninsula Regional Medical Group in Maryland. In his current role as ADAA, Dr. Gladwell oversees the curriculum and assessment for the UMES School of Pharmacy, and he coordinates the Principles of Pharmacotherapy and the Cardiology modules during the SP-2 year.

Brief Overview and Setting

Despite the vast amount of primary literature and evidence-based guidelines available to assist pharmacists in therapeutic decision-making, controversies occasionally arise over the best approach for management of a drug therapy problem due to incomplete or conflicting information. In these situations, pharmacists must be able to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to assess the available data and make an informed decision based on a thorough evaluation of the literature. The purpose of this activity is to provide students with the opportunity to develop these higher-level cognitive skills by debating a controversial therapeutic topic after a comprehensive evaluation of the data supporting or refuting the issue. This activity was originally developed for use in the classroom for an elective course on evidence-based pharmacotherapy with a class size of up to 20 students, but it has recently been modified for use during an APPE rotation in Ambulatory Care with just 2 students. Similar modifications could allow this activity to be adapted for use in larger pharmacotherapy or skills lab courses.

For this activity, a concise statement involving a controversial therapeutic topic is provided to the students. Depending ...

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