The School of Pharmacy student group provides outreach to a diverse range of people through educational events and clinics.
This is the latest in a series from the University of Maryland, Baltimore's Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) highlighting a student, faculty, or staff member. Read previous DAC Spotlights.
The American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) chapter at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP) has a long history of providing innovative patient care outreach through educational events and clinics in communities all over the state of Maryland.
The chapter’s patient care activities focus on conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease; important issues such as immunizations, mental health and women’s health; prescription drug abuse and misuse; and over-the-counter medication safety. UMSOP’s APhA-ASP chapter reaches a broad base of patients and, because of its diverse student membership, serves a variety of communities.
One example is an outreach event held annually by the Over the Counter Medicine Safety group at a Vietnamese Sunday school. Student pharmacists provided information in Vietnamese and English to educate fifth- and sixth-graders and played a game with them to teach the safe use of medications.
Another example is the Operation Immunization initiative, which recognized that various cultural backgrounds have been represented at the flu clinics they’ve supported this year. Spanish-speaking patients are often at these clinics, so the group ensured that materials were presented in Spanish for better communication and service. One of Operation Immunization’s clinics serves patients who are underserved or uninsured by providing free flu shots. One student member recounted an attendee who was an immigrant with three children whose insurance benefits were not yet active. The person found out about the clinic and received flu shots for the entire family.
Through these experiences, student pharmacists in the APhA-ASP chapter at UMSOP are learning about the diverse needs of the populations around them. While attendees are gaining much-needed services at events held by APhA-ASP, the student pharmacists also are benefiting by engaging with the community, shaping their cultural awareness, and learning how to support the community’s needs.