The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, or AACP, has awarded the University of Florida College of Pharmacy with one of four national Student Community Engaged Service Awards for student volunteer efforts at the Equal Access Clinic Network, or EACN. The award will be presented at the AACP Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California, in July.
EACN is a system of student-run free health care clinics that provide physical and mental health services to medically underserved residents of Gainesville and Alachua County. UF pharmacy students volunteer four nights a week and play an important role in the interdisciplinary health care team that includes medical students and other health professionals. Patients receive many pharmacy-related services at EACN, including point-of-care testing, hemoglobin A1c and blood glucose tests, as well as pharmacotherapy recommendations and medication counseling. Student volunteers identify generic alternatives and discount drug programs so patients can have access to medications.
“We are grateful that AACP has recognized the outstanding services UF pharmacy students provide through volunteer efforts at the EACN,” said Melissa Berman, a fourth-year UF pharmacy student and past co-director for pharmacy services at EACN. “The award will have a long-lasting impact on our community, as it will allow us to expand our pharmacy-led patient care programs to more people in need.”
A $5,000 prize that accompanies the award will be reinvested in the EACN to purchase prescription drugs for needy patients and provide diabetes testing supplies and nicotine replacement therapy.
“The community engagement programs we recognized this year demonstrate the broad and deep connections between our members and vulnerable communities,” said AACP Executive Vice President and CEO Lucinda L. Maine, Ph.D., R.Ph. “This is consistent with our vision that we will jointly work to create a world of healthy people. The focus on serving vulnerable populations and creating a diverse pipeline of future learners is remarkable.”
AACP recognizes that it is imperative to engage students in meaningful activities to serve communities as part of their development to lifetimes of service in pharmacy. Each year since 2009 AACP has recognized four student teams whose work extends the reach of healthcare and pharmacists’ services to populations that are typically uninsured and very much in need of health services and education.