Fulbright Reflections: Expanding Collaborations in Finland to Improve Medication Use and Safety for Older Adults

Written By: Nicole Brandt, PharmD, MBA, BCGP, FASCP, executive director of the Peter Lamy Center for Drug Therapy and Aging and professor of practice, sciences, and health outcomes research

This is the first post in a three-part weekly series focused on Dr. Brandt’s work in Finland. Read part two on “Oppia ikä kaikki – The Finnish Version of ‘Live and Learn.’” and part three on “Together Shaping the Future (#FulbrightFinland75).”

Featured image: (L-R) Nicole Brandt, Anni Wartiainen, and Marja Airaksinen

The Program further aims to make the benefits of American culture and technology available to the world and to enrich American life by exposing it to the science and art of many societies.

— J. William Fulbright

Last year, I was fortunate enough to receive funding from the Fulbright Finland Foundation to continue my aging work as part of my role as executive director of the Peter Lamy Center for Drug Therapy and Aging at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. Throughout January, I will be sharing weekly updates on this blog of my work at the University of Helsinki.

I must admit that when awarded this amazing opportunity, I was not fully aware of the rich history and connections that it would afford me. I am only in the first week of my three-week visit here and have been so impressed by the hospitality of so many, but especially Prof. Marja Airaksinen, Clinical Pharmacy Group, Division of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, faculty of pharmacy, University of Helsinki.

Nicole Brandt and Marja Airaksinen, University of Helsinki

The primary objectives of this Fulbright specialist program are:

  1. Create new strategies that foster competencies in interprofessional collaboration in geriatric care, particularly in managing older adults’ medications.
  2. In partnership with key stakeholders, develop an actionable co-designed demonstration that uses the framework/model to increase the knowledge, skills, and integration within the interprofessional team to contribute to person-centered medication use management across care settings.

This occurred Tuesday during a brainstorming meeting and workshop series, where seminars and active engagement occurred to develop strategic goals and research areas between HUS and the University of Helsinki.

Nicole Brandt meeting with stakeholders and partners during her Fulbright in Finland.

  1. Increase patients’, clinicians’, and other stakeholders’ awareness of pharmacists’ competencies and potential role(s) to improve medication use and safety in older adults.

During a visit to Lahti, we met with Anni Wartiainen at the Päijät-Häme Hos (see the featured image). We learned about efforts across the care settings to improve medication reconciliation and reviews in home care, assisted living, and nursing homes.

A map in Lahti

I would also like to personally invite you to participate in a collaborative seminar on Tuesday January 16 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. local time in Helsinki. These seminars will focus on age friendly care and deprescribing.


Leave a comment
  • Thank you for sharing this outstanding work, and bringing the professional & personal collegiality of your Finnish colleagues to a global audience.

    I hope that your work, and this blog, will encourage others to seek the opportunities a Fulbright specialist grant offers for making a difference in the world.

    • Dr. Lyles,
      Thank you for your mentorship to make this opportunity come to fruition. I am grateful and here to help pay it forward for others interested in the Fulbright experience.

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