POSTED: Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 4:31pm
UPDATED: Monday, November 14, 2011 - 9:29am
Students from The University of Texas-Pan American/University of Texas at Austin Cooperative Pharmacy Program observed American Pharmacists Month by holding a free health fair in the Alamo area.
As Sandra Quintanilla reports the event not only provided free services for local residents, it also served as a training ground for the future pharmacists and raised awareness of their profession.
Students from The University of Texas-Pan American/University of Texas at Austin Cooperative Pharmacy Program came together recently to celebrate the pharmacy profession and give back to their neighbors. The event called the American Pharmacists Month Community Health Fair took place at Alamo Drugs and served as an opportunity for the future pharmacists to put their skills to the test. They performed blood pressure checks, medical reviews and those certified in immunizations administered flu shots. Cancer screenings and information on poison prevention and nutritional facts were also provided in partnership with other groups. What was even more important about the day was their involvement in the community.
"Part of the learning process is to teach students that our job is to care about the community, take care of the community so this is a good chance for them to meet the community and they’ll meet patients here that they probably wouldn’t have seen on rotations or through their education unless they came here to help. Some of these patients don’t have insurance they don’t have money to pay for a flu shot but here they are," said Lydia Aguilera, Program Interim Director.
Students appreciated the opportunity to work with patients in a real-life setting.
"It’s important for us to participate in fairs like this because we’re in school, we’re learning all these different abilities and techniques and coming to these kind of fairs we’re able to utilize them and put them into practice," said UTPA pharmacy student, Jose Barrera II.
This fair not only gave students a chance to work with and meet future patients, it also provided them an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of the pharmacists role in the community.
"I was really excited about what the profession entails and basically it's stimulating, it's challenging, it's like a puzzle you have to constantly be thinking. We hold a lot of responsibility. The profession, we have people's lives you know in our hands and you know people are not aware of it. Growing up I wasn't aware that pharmacy was a profession. Yes we do go to the pharmacy, yes we do get medications as a child but I did not know my pharmacists and I want my future patients to know me and that's something that we're trying to change," said UTPA pharmacy student, Graciela Cuellar.
The families who took advantage of the health fair couldn't have been more grateful for the services and thanked the UTPA students for making them available at no cost to them.
" I enjoy doing it, it makes me feel good and I feel a sense of accomplishment after giving a vaccine or even just counseling a patient on," said Barrera.