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 Shands hospital, 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. Faculty in the Center for Drug Interaction Research and Education educate the health-care community on potential drug interactions providing specific guidelines for dosing recommendations. The center Web site provides a national database for patients and health-care professionals seeking interactions of specific drugs. The UF Infectious Disease Pharmacokinetics Laboratory also serves as a national reference center for the determination of serum concentrations for therapeutic drug treatment of infectious diseases.
Student Service Initiatives
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.
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.
Jacksonville Campus “Operation Diabetes” for Halloween
There’s no trick — kids with diabetes were in for a treat mid-October as the Jacksonville campus of the UF College of Pharmacy teamed up with the American Diabetes Association to host the eighth annual October Bash.
UF members of the American Pharmacy Association’s Academy of Student Pharmacists volunteered to help kids with diabetes enjoy the Halloween holiday fun. Each year, more than 15,000 American children are affected with type 1 diabetes, while the incidence of type 2 diabetes continues to rise with the incidence of childhood obesity.
“Halloween is a difficult time for parents of children with diabetes. Our hope is to try to take the focus away from candy while making the holiday still enjoyable for the children,” said Carol Motycka, Pharm.D., assistant dean and Jacksonville campus director with the UF College of Pharmacy.
The free event each year helps ensure a happy and safe Halloween celebration for children and teens with diabetes and their families. This year’s activities included a Halloween costume contest, roller skating, carnival and arcade games with the UF College of Pharmacy students.