Sharon Shannon, the Office of Online Learning Student Support Services and State Authorization Coordinator, was selected to participate in the Women’s Staff Leadership Institute (WSLI).
There are a number of substances that are abused today: alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, food, etc. Each of these substances affects the body in different ways, but what they have in common is that each substance alters the normal brain response. Some of these mechanisms are not fully understood, but are the focus of current research. Being able to recognize substance abuse is important, but insufficient. There are a number of preventative education models that we can use to inhibit the use of these substances during the elementary and middle school years when children are most likely to begin using drugs and other addictive substances.
As pharmacists, it is our duty to understand the mechanism of action of each medication, but it should also be our responsibility to understand the mechanism of action of substance abuse, to be able to recognize the warning signs of substance abuse and the knowledge to share with patients that display these warning signs.
In addition to my interest in substance abuse, the mechanism of action of this abuse and substance abuse preventative programs, I am interested in the gender and ethnic biases present in pharmacotherapy and cardiovascular disease manifestation. If cardiovascular disease presented itself in the same way in each individual it would be much easier to treat. One therapy would be optimal for all individuals that present with the same condition. However, there are differences in the way cardiovascular diseases manifest in different ethnic groups as well as between genders. For this reason, it is important for doctors and pharmacists to acknowledge these nuanced differences in order to prescribe the most appropriate treatment for each individual. Finally, as the graduate coordinator for the College of Pharmacy at the University of Georgia and a distinguished professor, I am passionate about education and the contributions I can make to the field of pharmacology through the development of my students.