Law and Pharmacy Student Collaboration Recognized by Legal, Medical Fields

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sarah Yates, a second-year law student at The University of Tulsa College of Law, received several recognitions for work from her Fall 2009 Law, Medicine and Ethics seminar taught at TU.


For the seminar, Yates co-authored a paper entitled “Psychiatric Advance Directives: A Compilation of Purpose, Structure, Formation and Enforcement” with Emily Stilwell, a third-year pharmacy student at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa College of Pharmacy.

The Journal of Pharmacy Practice accepted the paper for publication, and the students presented their findings at the 13th annual meeting of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists, held April 18-21 in San Antonio, Texas. The paper also was a finalist for best innovative practices paper, a category that included papers by licensed professionals and academics.

The students presented an abstract of the paper at the University of Oklahoma – Tulsa Research Forum on April 8 and the Mental Health Association of Tulsa also invited them to present at an upcoming meeting.

Yates also won the National Law Review Student Writing Competition on Health Law and Labor Law with a condensed version of the paper. That version was included in the April 2010 issue of the online National Law Review, which focused on Health and Labor Law.

Marguerite Chapman, TU professor of law, and Dr. Nancy Brahm, clinical associate professor at the OU-Tulsa College of Pharmacy, supervised the collaboration. This was the first collaboration by students from the two schools.

“We felt this topic demanded expertise in medicine, pharmacy and law in order to do the topic justice. That was in part due to our initial research which indicated the law was years behind the medical community when it comes to understanding mental disorders,” Yates said.

The paper discussed psychiatric advance directives (PAD) and schizophrenia, specifically trying to identify the fundamental rights of psychiatric patients as it related to the execution and implementation of a PAD. A PAD is a written instrument that expresses the individual's preference and consent to the administration of treatment measures for a specific diagnosis for the care and treatment of the individual's mental illness during subsequent periods of incapacity.

“We found that a communication and information gap existed between the medical and legal communities regarding the different elements of PAD, which in turn complicated the process of implementing and enforcing the PAD for the benefit of the patient,” Yates said. “We firmly believe that without interdisciplinary efforts the fundamental rights of the mentally ill will continue to be unrecognized.”

Jimmy Hart