Specialized P4 Clerkship

Specialized P4 Clerkship in Patient Education – Patient Adherence – Patient Advocacy

Consumer Health Information Corporation 8000 Westpark Drive, Suite 120 McLean, VA 22102

“The uniqueness of this rotation was the best. This company is

one-of-a-kind and likely the only one in the world

to provide the types of services that it does.”

– Student Testimonial


Our goal is to help pharmacy students understand the needs of patients and how to develop a wide variety of patient education programs that will help patients take control of their prescription drugs and other prescribed treatments so they will receive the most benefit from their treatments.  We work with each P4 student individually to try to help them develop skills in areas they will be able to use after graduation and become leaders in pharmacy practice. Upon successful completion of our rotation, students are given the opportunity to post their bio and a short quote on our website.  It is our hope that this will help them in their job and residency searches after graduation.

Here are previous student testimonials about their rotation at Consumer Health Information Corporation.



Pharmacy p4 Clerkship

Consumer Health Information Corporation offers a specialized P4 clerkship for senior Doctor of Pharmacy candidates who are keenly interested in patient education, patient adherence and consumer awareness

This is a rotation that focuses on how to meet the needs of patients and consumers.  It is truly a “patient-centric” rotation.  Everything you do will help you better understand the patient’s perspective and how you can integrate your patient counseling skills, writing skills, creative skills and computer skills to meet their needs.

Students in this P4 rotation will learn how to integrate their knowledge from several areas of practice including clinical pharmacology, therapeutics, drug information, health literacy, publishing and patient adherence strategies to the development of evidence-based patient education programs that will increase patient adherence and treatment outcomes.  Students will also be introduced to ways that pharmacists can become involved in patient advocacy including the social media.

The student will conduct a wide range of literature searches in areas relating to patient adherence as it applies to prescription drugs, new advances in clinical pharmacy practice and medical research, clinical trials, how to use medical devices required to administer a medication, home monitoring devices, side effect management, Rx-to-OTC and marketing. The student will learn how to maintain documentation so that it is easy to use by the rest of the project team. The student will be involved in any ongoing research projects, preparation of articles for publication, and development of whitepapers on specific topics that are important to current pharmacy practice. All of these projects require a high level of attention to detail and ensuring that everything stated is evidence-based and accurately referenced.

The student will learn how to translate medical terminology into language the average patient can understand (Grade 6 to Grade 8 level).  Every student will write a short patient-directed article at the beginning of the rotation and then rewrite it at the end of the rotation so that they can monitor their own progress. Depending on the current activities of the company, the student may be involved in translating an Informed Consent document for a clinical trial into language the patient can understand.  Other types of activities could be development of patient medication instructions on a new product that will be submitted by the client to FDA for approval;  development of patient education materials for a patient starter kit for a new medication; development of patient instructions for a pre-filled injectable syringe or transdermal patch or development of the patient education materials for REMS.

The importance of graphic design to patient education will be taught.  Students will have experience in thinking “outside the box” and learning how important graphic design is to reinforcement of the content.  The goal is to help patients and consumers remember the information they read.  This could include working with graphic designers to determine the best way to show how a medication works; how to use a new type of nasal spray delivery system; how to incorporate patient education on patient adherence packaging; how to

The student will be actively involved in searching the morning news and developing daily patient education messages for our corporate Twitter and Facebook accounts. Some students will heave the opportunity to learn about pet health and develop health information for pet owners about medications and treatments for their pets. Students will also learn how to use social media in a corporate setting and the value of it to consumer awareness and patient advocacy. There is a possibility the student may be involved in e-publishing including books and patient education materials, smart phone apps and working with our graphic designers on the corporate website. This will give the student an opportunity to learn how content and design must both meet patient education guidelines in order for the success of the final product.

Students will also be involved in developing corporate press releases related to patient education and targeted to different types of audiences e.g. consumer/media/business/health professional audiences. Students will learn how e-mass mailings can be distributed in modern public relations and marketing programs. Students will learn how to follow daily advances being made in pharmacy and health care and how to comment on articles being posted by national business magazines, corporations and consumer audiences in order to promote the role of the pharmacist in health care and Medication Therapy Management (MTM).

Students will be encouraged to develop their leadership skills. We will try to arrange a visit to a national pharmacy or  consumer organizations in the Metro Washington DC area. Students will be involved in attending corporate meetings with clients when possible.

The student will be involved in the current projects of the company and the day-to-day activities of the company. This will give the student experience in office management.  The student must be a team player and be ready to help file documentation, make a filing label, help answer the phones. In return, you will gain experience in the business world.

Most importantly, students will learn that we need to develop programs and materials that meet the needs of patients because the patients make critical decisions after the prescription is dispensed and decide whether or not they will follow the treatment instructions.

By the end of the rotation, it is our hope that the student will leave with a strong understanding and commitment to always consider a problem a patient is having with a medication from the “patient’s point of view”.  This is the key to increasing patient adherence and a future rewarding career in pharmacy practice.


This is a special rotation for students in a Pharm.D./MBA program. Students will be involved in all of the activities of the Patient Education & Patient Adherence Rotation but will also develop a research project that applies to patient education, patient adherence or consumer awareness. Students will be encouraged to publish their research results. The student will gain experience in the business and marketing areas.


Consumer Health Information Corporation is internationally recognized for its patient adherence programs. Consumer Health Information Corporation is a teaching site for several schools of pharmacy across the United States and is involved with major national medical, pharmacy, and consumer organizations.

The company develops a wide range of evidence-based patient adherence programs that health professionals use in their patient counseling. The goal is to help patients better understand how to take their medications safely and wisely and reduce medication errors made by patients and consumers.

Strong emphasis on the integration of behavior modification techniques, patient counseling techniques, patient comprehension/ health literacy and graphic design. Many of these programs have won national and international awards for excellence.

Dr Dorothy Smith will be your primary preceptor.  She is the President of Consumer Health Information Corporation and dedicated her career to promoting the role of the pharmacist in patient counseling and patient education.  She has published many peer-reviewed articles and 23 best-selling books for and consumers on how to take medications safely and is an expert in patient adherence. She was formerly Director of Clinical Affairs of the American Pharmacists Association prior to founding Consumer Health Information Corporation.   She has held many faculty positions in Pharmacy and Medicine and sits on several national advisory boards for universities, nonprofit organizations and consumer organizations.  She is the recipient of many awards including the Pinnacle Award from the APhA Foundation.  Dr. Smith hopes that every student completing this rotation will leave understanding the viewpoint of the patient and how pharmacists can better communicate with both patients and consumers.  Every patient education project focuses on how to effectively meet the needs of patients.

The corporate office is located in McLean, Virginia (a suburb of Washington, DC) and approximately 25 minutes from downtown Washington, DC. Professional business dress is required. Clerkship hours are 10AM – 7PM Monday through Friday. The office building has a gym facility to which the student will be given free access. Parking is free.


The company will assist students in finding housing. Several families who live near the corporate office are willing to take students into their homes at minimal cost. The company is affiliated with many schools of pharmacy and there is the possibility that the student may be able to share housing with another student.


Apply early! Because this clerkship is offered to more than 40 Schools of Pharmacy, please try to apply early in the application process while rotation openings are still available. We can only take 3 students for each rotation.

Students require computer skills, excellent spelling and grammar…and a strong desire to help patients learn about their medications. Students must be team players and willing to help with day-to-day activities that occur.

Students who are interested in this clerkship should inform their Experiential Director and send a resume, transcript of marks, and letter outlining interest areas in patient education to:

Dorothy L. Smith, Pharm.D. President and CEO Consumer Health Information Corporation 8000 Westpark Drive, Suite 120 McLean, VA 22102 Phone: 703-734-0650 Fax: 703-734-1459 Email: clerkship@consumer-health.com