The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy announced in November that the UW School of Pharmacy is the winner of the 2010-11 Transformative Community Service Award. This award recognizes the School for its dedication to addressing unmet community needs and for being an example of social responsiveness.
“I am consistently impressed by our student’s and faculty’s commitment to organizing and engaging in community service projects,” said Dean Thomas Baillie. “For our School to receive an award recognizing the transformative nature of those projects is quite an honor.”
Two of the School of Pharmacy projects highlighted in the award application were an outreach service to medically underserved addicted or recovering patients and a pharmacy care partnership with a tribal clinic.
As part of the first project, students administer seasonal flu vaccines at two local addiction-treatment centers — the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) and Evergreen Treatment Services — each fall. Students also participate in an ARC Health Advisory Board with their faculty course master, Clinical Professor of Pharmacy Michaelene Kedzierski, and some beneficiaries of the program. This board determines health topics that are presented throughout the quarter at the site. Students and faculty also organize a health fair annually for the Salvation Army ARC.
The collaboration with the tribal clinic takes place at the Nisqually Tribal Clinic near Olympia. Students and Clinical Professor of Pharmacy Don Downing have helped to remodel the tribal clinic pharmacy and to design the services to be offered by the incoming staff pharmacist. They have also helped establish medication-therapy-management (MTM) services at the clinic. MTM is a service in which pharmacists review patient medication regimens, provide education about medication use, and identify potential safety concerns. In addition, students routinely staff health fairs and immunization clinics for the tribe.
The other two projects noted in the AACP award application were a program working to improve health outcomes for young children (in partnership with the Washington State Coalition for Safety and Health in Early Learning and the Community Pediatric Foundation of Washington) and an outreach program for refugee and immigrant women and their families. Associate Dean of Academic and Student Programs Nanci Murphy was also involved in precepting and mentoring students in these projects.
“The opportunity to help others, particularly those who might not have ready access to health care, reinforces the reason why so many of us chose pharmacy as a career,” said Murphy. “Michaelene, Don and I feel that collaborating with community partners in programs such as these leads to rewarding experiences for us all.”
This is the second national award that the UW School of Pharmacy has received from the AACP for community outreach. In 2008, a group of pharmacy students received one of the AACP’s first ever Student Community Engaged Service Awards.
Murphy and Downing will travel to San Antonio in July 2011 to receive the Transformative Community Service Award on behalf of the School at the AACP Annual Meeting. The award includes a travel stipend to the meeting and $5,000 to support the School’s continuation or expansion of its community collaborations.
One such program expansion is already in the works — a proposed diabetes care center at the Nisqually Tribal Clinic. The AACP award will help buy essential diabetes care supplies for the clinic.