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Let’s talk health: Heart Health & Medication Management

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the entire world. In the United States, 1 in every 3 deaths is due to heart disease. Luckily heart disease is something you can help prevent.

Many forms of heart disease are caused by poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and even too much stress. Research has shown that watching out for these things can decrease your chance of heart disease. Add vegetables to your diet, eat less red meat, and exercise for 150 minutes a week. If you smoke, quitting will also help you avoid heart disease.

There are also medication options for those at risk of heart disease. Doctors often prescribe statins to patients with high cholesterol. If you are at risk for a heart attack or stroke, or if you have had one before, your doctor may suggest a low-dose aspirin every day.

 Medication Management

Medications like aspirin and statins can save lives. That being said, medications can be difficult to remember to take. Many patients have concerns over side-effects. Some have trouble keeping track of different medications. It’s easy to forget something as small as a pill!

Here are a few suggestions to help you deal with your medications.

  • Talk to your provider about the medication you have been prescribed. Ask about the benefits, side effects, and the best time to take it.
  • If you are on multiple medications, organize them and make a schedule to not confuse what you are taking and when. Taking medications is easiest when you stick to taking them at the same time every day.
  • Set reminders for yourself. Place your medication somewhere visible. Use smartphone apps that will send a reminder notification or text message. Make use of pillboxes!
  • If you have a lot of concerns, talk to one of our pharmacists. Your provider can help you connect with Sarah or Gretchen.


Meet our pharmacists!

Gretchen and Sarah are Clinical Pharmacist Practitioners (CPP’s) at the Family Medicine Center.  They are able to meet one-on-one to help patients manage their medications. They can also work with your provider to help manage chronic disease. They help to ensure patients are on the most-effective, affordable, and safest medications.  They can also help to ensure a medication list is up to date (especially after a hospital visit), and discuss cost and access to medications. And they help you find ways to remember and take medications! This service is typically covered by insurance, and may have a copay similar to visits to your primary care provider.

Talk with your doctor if you are interested in meeting with a pharmacist.

Sarah Weddle, PharmD
Gretchen Tong, PharmD


Living Life Well Mindfulness Classes

Living Life Well is a free 6-week class for individuals who are interested in learning mindfulness strategies. There is strong evidence that mindfulness practice can help people with stress reduction, chronic pain, sleep problems, and more.


Upcoming Class at the UNC Family Medicine Center:

Wednesdays: 12:00-1:30pm

March 6th-April 10th, 2019


Additional classes will be added soon! Interested individuals may also indicate their interest in being contacted for a future class by registering and selecting “interested in a future class” as their preferred “class.” Participants will receive a free program workbook and CD with mindfulness practice recordings. To register, please call 984-974-4975 or register online here. To learn more click here.




Behavioral Health Care Management Program at Family Medicine

Behavioral health care management is an outreach program designed to help people improve overall emotional well-being. It is a team-based approach that involves you, your primary care provider, a Behavioral Health Care Manager, and sometimes a consulting psychiatrist. Your care manager will work with you by phone and may also see you when you are at the Family Medicine Center for other appointments. Your behavioral health care manager will work with you to develop a care plan and provide brief mental health counseling. Your care manager will also assist in coordinating your care team and connect you with community resources.

 Who is it for?

Behavioral health care management is for individuals who are experiencing depression, anxiety, or stressful life situations.  It provides additional support and mental health care for individuals who may not have to access traditional mental health services.

How often?

How often you have contact with your behavioral health care manager will be decided by you and your care manager. Typically, you will have at least 20-60 minutes of contact per month. This may be over the phone as well as face-to-face depending on your preferences. You can also meet with your care manager when you are at the Family Medicine Center for another appointment.

 How to enroll:

Your primary care provider can enroll you in behavioral health care management.  You will need to schedule a visit with your provider to discuss more details about the program.  Please schedule an appointment through My Chart or by calling the clinic office at 984-974-0210.


Family Medicine hosts refugee clinic

For the last year, UNC School of Medicine (UNC SOM) Chapter of Physicians for Human Rights student leaders have held free clinics for refugees. Each clinic is run by UNC SOM student volunteers and staffed by local volunteer doctors, including UNC Family Medicine providers. UNC Family Medicine hosted the most recent refugee clinic, which was on January 12th. We are so proud to join with community partners — such as the Elon Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic in Greensboro and Church World Services in Durham — to make this clinic possible. Pictured below: Medical student volunteers at UNC Family Medicine.