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Think pharmacists

Pharmacist Awareness Month 2018 taking place in March

Campus and Community

By Heidi Wicks

From ‘PAM’cake breakfasts, to testing seniors’ blood pressure, to educating high school students on the dangers of prescription drug abuse and beyond, School of Pharmacy students have once again created a jam-packed calendar of activities for the month of March: Pharmacist Awareness Month (PAM).

Dr. Lisa Bishop, interim dean, says she is especially proud of their determination, professionalism and organization.

Dr. Lisa Bishop
Dr. Lisa Bishop
Photo: Chris Hammond

“Our student organizations, Memorial University Pharmacy Students (MUPS) and the Canadian Association of Pharmacy Students and Interns (CAPSI), have fostered a close-knit and fun-loving student community through their passion for the profession and through their leadership skills,” said Dr. Bishop.

“Their enthusiasm and organization for Pharmacist Awareness Month over the years not only reflects positively on the school, but ensures the public understands the important role pharmacists play in the delivery of health care.”

Effective spokespeople

The school will be supporting the full range of activities the students have planned under their five sub-committees, which include social media, communications, school outreach, university outreach and community outreach.

Dr. Bishop also applauds the students’ professionalism when speaking to media in past years.

“As usual, we will be assisting students with promoting their events through our own social media channels, and by connecting them with media outlets, and supporting them in getting their messages out. They’ve always been very articulate as spokespeople for the school, and I know this year’s committee will follow in their predecessor’s footsteps.”

A landmark PAM event is the Public Pill Drop, which runs in partnership with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) and allows members of the public to dispose of their expired medications in a safe manner. The Public Pill Drop takes place at RNC headquarters on Sunday, March 11, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

The Public Pill Drop 2018 takes place on Sunday, March 11, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the RNC Headquarters in St. John’s.
Photo: Heidi Wicks

New in 2018: Continuing education session for pharmacists

Unique to this year’s PAM schedule is an inter-professional panel and continuing education session for pharmacists, co-hosted by pharmacy students in conjunction with the Pharmacists Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL).

Dr. Leslie Phillips, associate dean, undergraduate studies, and professor, School of Pharmacy, will present Smoking Cessation: It’s Your Responsibility, on Monday, March 5 at 5:30 p.m.

A continuing education session preceding the PAM opening reception, pharmacists will learn to ask patients about their smoking status, advise of the need to make a chance in their smoking behaviour and assist in the quit attempt by prescribing appropriate quit medications, monitoring quit medications for adherence, efficacy and tolerability, and by referring quitters to other helpful resources for additional support.

Dr. Phillips is the director of the Smoking Cessation Program, within the School of Pharmacy’s Medication Therapy Services (MTS) Clinic. The program has helped a number of citizens become quitters and gain a new perspective, improving their well-being and quality of life.

Ryan Taylor (left) successfully moved through the School of Pharmacy’s Smoking Cessation Program.
Photo: Chris Hammond

Dr. Bishop adds that the work conducted in the MTS Clinic is representative of the school’s commitment to public engagement and service to the patients.

“Part of our strategic plan is to enable sustained, responsive and co-ordinated public engagement partnerships that result in advancements in pharmacy education, practice and research. Our continued engagement with the public and the pharmacy community is essential for the continued success of our educational programs and research endeavours, with an ultimate goal to positively impact health care.”

Dr. Bishop will present the School of Pharmacy’s new strategic plan, Foundation for the Future, at PANL’s annual PAM opening reception.

The ongoing collaborative nature of the relationship between the Pharmacists Association of Newfoundland and Labrador and the school is emblematic of the close-knit pharmacy community in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Steve Gillingham, president, PANL, sees the partnership with the school and its students as mutually beneficial.

“Pharmacy students are the future of this profession,” he said. “We are always happy to partner with the school and the students. This reciprocal relationship ensures collaboration that focuses on advancing our profession and creating better health care for our province.”

Pharmacy students’ PAM calendar for the month of March is jam-packed.

Follow the School of Pharmacy on Facebook and Twitter for PAM updates throughout March.

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