Today’s episode is an interview with Dr. DeLon Canterbury. DeLon is a Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist. He founded GeriatRx, a telehealth-based senior care consulting company. GeriatRx combines Pharmacogenomic testing and Comprehensive Medication Management, and addresses the social determinants of health, such as food, shelter, financial stability, and health literacy. He helps patients who are struggling to achieve their healthcare goals and lowers their healthcare expenses. By reducing medication errors and advocating for deprescribing, consultant pharmacists like DeLon improve patient safety and save patients, their families, and the healthcare system money. DeLon manages patients across the state of North Carolina and demonstrates the value pharmacists add to healthcare delivery.
DeLon embodies servant-leadership and places it at the forefront of GeriatRx. He is an active Executive Board Member for the African-American Minority COVID Task Force in Durham, North Carolina, a Formulary Committee member of Senior PharmAssist at the Durham Senior Center for Life, and served as Community Health Coalition’s Telehealth Director, helping older African-American patients with wellness and reassurance check-ups during COVID.
ABC11- Durham Pharmacist believes local pharmacies are key to expediting COVID-19 vaccine rollout
WRAL – Dispelling COVI19 Myths within the African-American Community
Spectrum News- St. Joseph’s COVID19 Panel
CBS17 – St. Joseph’s COVID19 Panel
Shoutout Atlanta Magazine
St. Joseph’s AME COVID Panel
The Melanin MD
Joy Revolution with Marc Cordon
RxRounds: Medications Use in the Elderly
RxRounds: Fighting Flu Season
Highlights from the interview
After serving as a pharmacy manager for 7 years, DeLon didn’t feel he was helping patients like he wanted to. Advocacy work helped DeLon get his fire back.
GeriatRx is a pharmacist-led company that focuses on MTM. DeLon has a home office. His patients have concerns and issues managing medication (not just elderly). He has saved 20 patients more than $150,000 in healthcare costs.
DeLon shared a story about helping an elderly female patient who was taking 36 medications. She was like a walking zombie, and her family wanted to institutionalize her. GeriatRx served as a medical expert in court, identified medications that were on the Beers list, and attested that the patient was overmedicated. Using a team-based approach over time, DeLon helped deprescribe the medication list from 36 to 8. The patient’s quality of life improved, and she remained out of an institution. DeLon communicated well with the team, educated the patient and prescribers, earned trust from the patient and prescribers, and followed up in order to get the results the patient needed. This experience made DeLon want to help more people!
Incomplete comprehensive medication reviews (CMR’s) lead to problems. When products are not listed on the CMR, no one knows the patient is on them. As a result, additional meds are prescribed to counteract side effects from products that are not on the CMR.
DeLon experienced a gradual shift from full-time community practice to full-time consultant. He wanted to have his own consulting practice for years. 2 years ago (~2019), he started planning.
DeLon worked as a poison center pharmacist briefly after leaving full-time community practice. He helped with the COVID helpline in North Carolina, worked long hours, trained students and staff, and answered a large volume of calls.
Working at the poison information center sparked DeLon’s interest in advocating for minority communities to get the COVID vaccination. DeLon felt called to help. He has opportunities to volunteer whereas full-time pharmacists working in traditional settings do not [have opportunities to volunteer].
DeLon talked about myths and skepticism surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine. Some think they are immune because they are young or healthy. Some do not believe that the vaccine is the same for all people regardless of color or job title.
Some refuse vaccination due to a lack of trust. DeLon referenced historical events that led to mistrust among minority communities, including population control and the Tuskegee Experiment involving African Americans in Alabama who had untreated syphilis.
Misinformation is out there, and it needs to be addressed. DeLon participates in panels as a speaker in North Carolina Communities. He likes to meet the audience where they are, and have a conversation. DeLon asks the audience,
“What’s holding you back from getting the vaccine?”
“How many people know someone who got COVID?”
“How many people know someone who died from COVID?”
“How many people have died from getting the vaccine?”
He is empathetic, but he also states the facts. DeLon recommends meeting people where they are, being empathetic, addressing fears and questions, using everyday language, and making points clear. Furthermore, DeLon recommends making no assumptions about what people know; start from scratch. DeLon has been on news to share how the vaccination will help.
DeLon joined a Toastmasters Club to improve his communication skills. Although he is already an excellent communicator, he struggles with the voice in the back of his head that tells him he is not a good communicator. Toastmasters helped DeLon with networking, building relationships, being aware of saying “crutch words” (such as, “Um, like, and so”), and getting immediate feedback through evaluations. He is working on his Dynamic Speaker Pathway.
DeLon’s Facebook LIVE broadcasts have helped him improve his communication skills too.
DeLon recommends pharmacists volunteer [doing something different] to gain experience, join organizations, and network. In his parting comments, he said, “Do something that makes you uncomfortable until you love it!”