Faculty in the UF College of Pharmacy provide a variety of clinical services in the Gainesville community in areas such as asthma, diabetes, anticoagulation, and cardiovascular disease. Patients are served at clinical sites in UF Health Shands hospital, UF Health Family Medicine at Main, the Community Health Center at Eastside and also in rural county communities. The college’s clinical faculty serves on national committees and as consultants to the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health. They collaborate with other UF Health Science clinicians as members of UF Centers and Institutes, including the Genetics and Emerging Pathogens Institutes.
Student pharmacist organizations at each Florida campus within the UF College of Pharmacy are active in a variety of community health efforts year-round from immunization, patient safety and health advocacy, to raising awareness about drug abuse. These are some of the areas in which our students are making a difference.
In 2014, the American Pharmacists Association presented the National Chapter Professionalism award to UF student pharmacists. The award recognizes superior programming among chapters that envision the future of pharmacy by creating opportunities for student participation. The awards program embraces the core ideas of APhA-ASP’s mission to create new standards of leadership, professionalism, membership, patient care, and legislative advocacy among student pharmacists nationwide.
Organized by the Class of 2010, pharmacy students have visited area high schools since 2008, where they spoke to more than 2,000 students about the dangers and illegality of prescription drug abuse. The UF students developed a novel way to present the dangers of prescription drug abuse to the high school students using colored candies. In 2014, the American Pharmacists Association recognized the UF College of Pharmacy student chapter of APhA-ASP with a regional award for their outreach to area schools in the community.
UF student pharmacists were also recognized in 2014 by the APhA for their efforts to identify individuals in the community with previously undiagnosed diabetes, or who are at risk for developing the disease. The students’ activities increase overall awareness of diabetes and the role pharmacists play in prevention and managing the effects of diabetes.
Through public awareness, community outreach, and patient-specific education on cardiovascular risk factors, student pharmacists plan community outreach events to empower patients to take control of their health and prevent cardiovascular disease before it starts. The UF students received a 2014 APhA regional award for their activities in this area.
Great Gator Health Fest
The annual November health fair offers football fans an easy way to get valuable health information and screenings as they trek across UF campus to the stadium.
Tables at the J. Wayne Reitz Union Colonnade, staffed by pharmacy students working together with healthcare professionals, will provide free cholesterol testing, diabetes screening and bone density testing for osteoporosis. This year’s event will also include new health resources for smoking cessation, and exercise and fitness.
Beginning four hours before Gators kick-off, the annual event is sponsored by the Florida chapter of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists. Information from the APhA national projects Operation Diabetes, Operation Immunization, Heartburn Awareness and Poison Prevention will be available.
International Health Outreach
Mala D. Desai, a UF Pharm.D. candidate, traveled 10 days over spring break to rural communities in Ecuador. Three College of Pharmacy students, including Desai, joined UF College of Medicine students through Project HEAL to provide desperately needed basic health services in South America. Desai said that Project HEAL was the only source of healthcare each year to many of the communities they visited and that she hopes to return again next spring. Other pharmacy classmates traveled to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and to the Yucatan.
Advocacy of Pharmacy Healthcare Issues
In April 2007, a sea of white pharmacy coats filled more than half of the gallery in the Florida House of Representatives committee hearing room when UF pharmacy students from the college’s four Florida campuses traveled to Tallahassee to support a House bill that would authorize pharmacists to administer flu shots. Today, Florida is among states that allow pharmacists to immunize patients.
University of Florida graduating senior pharmacy students Todd Rosen and Suzy Ray, testified to the House Healthcare Council. Several students from Nova Southeastern and Palm Beach Atlantic universities also attended the hearing.
Michael Jackson, R.Ph., executive vice president for the Florida Pharmacy Association, crediting the leadership of Florida pharmacy school deans, praised the students in providing house committee members with relevant information while addressing concerns raised by opponents.
In 10 years of advocacy, I have never seen such cohesion of the profession and interest by our young future practitioners, Jackson said. Their skills at parrying very tough questions demonstrated their complete knowledge of the issue.
The Florida Pharmacy Association supported the bill, pointing to the needs of Florida’s growing senior citizen and indigent populations. Allowing pharmacists to immunize Florida patients may save lives, increase wellness and lower Medicaid and health insurance costs by reducing hospitalizations, Jackson said.
In 2014, UF student pharmacists in Jacksonville, Florida volunteered for these community events.
At the 3rd annual ‘Es Mi Vida’ Hispanic Expo, members of APhA-ASP Operation Diabetes and Operation Heart provided more than 200 patient blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure screenings. Other community service groups and health care teams also participated in this event, which attracted about 1,000 attendees.
The American Diabetes Association October Bash is a Halloween event planned for kids with diabetes at the Jacksonville Zoo. About 15 volunteers from the UF College of Pharmacy help plan and implement games and dinner for the kids. At 6:30, the group enjoys the Jacksonville Zoo Spooktacular event.