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Keen on care

Pharmacy students determined to advocate

By Heidi Wicks

Students in the School of Pharmacy are so keen to promote their 2019 Pharmacist Awareness Month (PAM) activities, that one of them will take over the school’s brand new Instagram account on March 5.

Joe McGraw will trot through a day in the life of a pharmacy student, telling the world what it’s like to attend Memorial University’s School of Pharmacy.

Joe McGraw
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Lexi Symonds leads the PAM committee, which is comprised of five subcommittees.

Monica White is director of community outreach; Catherine Grandy is chair or university and School of Pharmacy events; Melissa Kieley is managing school outreach; Kaitlyn Dwyer is managing social media; and Amelia Clarke is managing communications.

Ms. Symonds believes it’s a responsibility of a pharmacy student to advocate for the profession.

“We’ve been taught that a career is known as a profession when those who practice are allowed to self-regulate,” she said.

“As future pharmacists, we are responsible for leading the profession, and for continuing to move it forward. By making our voices heard and showing the community what we can really do while we’re in school, we can make a difference and also learn how to advocate for the profession once we begin our own practices.”

From left are Catherine Grandy, Amelia Clarke, Mahima Mishra and Lexi Symonds. Missing from photo: Jennifer Goulding and Monica White
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Busy month

A PAM highlight event is the Public Pill Drop on March 10 at the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Headquarters, Fort Townshend, where members of the public can safely dispose of their expired medications.

Also on the PAM student roster is a Bingo and Blood Pressure Clinic for seniors, making lip gloss with several Girl Guide groups, and a presentation series about medication safety at local primary and secondary schools.

Dr. Shawn Bugden, dean, is keenly aware of the students PAM track record.

“They are historically very proactive during the month,” he said.

“This is obviously a big point of pride for the faculty and staff here at the school, as one of the lessons we try very hard to impart is for the students to become leaders and advocates of the pharmacy profession. They’re keeners, to say the least.”

Dr. Debbie Kelly
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – oh my!

Dr. Bugden elaborated on the school’s own plan for March, which involves various social media takeovers.

“Some of our students, staff and faculty will be taking over our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds throughout the month. This is a way we’ll be able to showcase what’s happening in various areas of the school, in teaching and learning, public engagement and in research. So stay tuned!”

Dr. Cathy Balsom
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

The takeover will begin with undergraduate student Joe McGraw on Instagram on March 5, Dr. Cathy Balsom of the Medication Therapy Services (MTS) Clinic on Facebook on March 12 and Dr. Debbie Kelly of the SaferMedsNL project on Twitter on March 19.

Highlight events

  • Relay for Life: March 2. Sponsor the School of Pharmacy team
  • Research Day: featuring undergraduate poster competition, Snappy Synopsis graduate research, guest speaker Dr. Jeremy Grimshaw, Tuesday, March 7 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Public Pill Drop: Sunday, March 10, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Headquarters, 1 Fort Townsend
  • Elementary school presentations: Kids & Medicine (medication safety) and Operation Butt Out (dangers of smoking): March 25, 28, 29
  • Junior high school presentation: Drug Abuse and Operation Butt Out: March 7, 19, 20, 21
  • Senior high school presentations: School of Pharmacy recruitment: Friday, March 22
  • Blood Pressure Clinic: Kenmount Bingo
  • Lipgloss compounding with Girl Guides and Pathfinders: March 5 and March 18

Follow the School of Pharmacy on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with the #MUNPAM19 hashtag to stay up-to-date on PAM events.


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