211177 Stewardship programs: What can work in your community

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:29 AM

Virginia G. Thompson, MA , Sustainable Healthcare Sector Coordinator, US EPA Region 3, US EPA Region 3, Philadelphia, PA
The public has recently become increasingly concerned about scientific studies and news reports indicating the presence of pharmaceuticals in our water. As a result, many communities, states, environmental organizations, and individuals have developed stewardship programs to reduce the amount of unwanted medications being flushed or put in the trash. Public concern and an interest in protecting natural resources have also led to legislative proposals at the federal and state levels that would require more sustainable, environmentally appropriate management of unwanted medications. Healthcare providers and public health professionals are beginning to consider the important role they play in educating the public and each other, as well as developing prescribing and insuring practices that are more protective of the environment. This presentation will review the types of stewardship programs in the US and around the world; proposed federal and state legislation regarding management and disposal of pharmaceuticals; and the successes and challenges of developing and implementing various stewardship programs around unwanted medications. The presentation will also consider the critical role that health providers and public health professionals can play in developing more sustainable source reduction strategies to keep unwanted medications out of the water.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the types of actions individuals can take to reduce the introduction of pharmaceuticals into the environment. 2. Learn how public health professionals can help to reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals getting into the environment. 3. Understand the issues and challenges around developing sustainable stewardship programs.

Keywords: Community Health, Emerging Health Issues

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked for EPA for over 22 years, the past 4 in making healthcare more sustainable. I am a regional & national leader on issues related to pharmaceuticals in the environment, leading workgroups, participating in pilot projects, being quoted in articles and on radio & TV, and co-authoring an article in Environment International. Serve as national resource on issue, providing assistance to EPA regional offices and the public. Involved in developing regulatory & voluntary efforts with many stakeholders, including pharmaceutical manufacturers, medication providers, nonprofits, hospitals, etc.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.