OXFORD, Miss. – Reaching out to provide service and assistance to the Jackson community, University of Mississippi pharmacy students recently organized a health awareness event at Parham Bridges Park.
During “Pharm at the Parham,” about 30 students provided a number of services to the public, including measuring blood glucose, blood pressure and body mass index, and medication use counseling.
“We as a student body are always eager to put what we learn in the classroom to good use for our community, while bringing public attention to services that our profession offers in addition to drug expertise,” said Thomas Webb, a Philadelphia, Miss., native in the fourth professional year of pharmacy school at Ole Miss. “With this in mind, it just made sense to pursue holding an event of this nature in a setting as inviting as Parham Bridges.”
Webb, a community service co-chair for the pharmacy school’s student body, directed organization of the Oct. 5 event.
“In the beginning, I brainstormed with several of my pharmacy student classmates who were interested in figuring out how we could provide services at the park,” Webb said. “As the summer came to an end, student event leaders and I finalized key topics that would provide meaningful interaction with park attendees.”
They settled on topics including diabetes management, aerobic exercise, flu vaccinations and general medication therapy management.
Other event leaders were Ashley Hicks of Essex, Mo., Emily Higdon and Courtney Peacock of Madison, Katie Langley of Mandeville, La., Dylan Lindsey of Richland, Stephen Lirette of Waynesboro and Adrian Turner of Tupelo, all of whom are in the fourth professional year, aka PY4, of pharmacy school.
“It is exciting to see our students work so hard to give back to their community,” said Lauren Bloodworth, assistant dean for student services and clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice. “It is even more impressive that this successful event was led by students from beginning to end.”
Another PY4 student, Matthew Smith of Meridian, had a memorable conversation about the pharmacy profession with a man at the park that day.
“I educated him on how advanced pharmacy practice has come, and what new and exciting roles pharmacists can play,” Smith said. “He was astonished about how much pharmacy has changed and was very thankful for the event.”
Leigh Ann Ross, associate dean for clinical affairs and chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, applauds the students’ efforts.
“Pharm at the Parham demonstrated a care and concern for fellow citizens, and I hope it will provide the foundation for even more School of Pharmacy projects in this Jackson community,” Ross said.
Smith believes it is important to host events like Pharm at the Parham.
“Events like this one give us a chance to tell the community about services that pharmacists can provide,” he said. “Communicating with the public like we did at Parham Bridges helps to build our patients’ faith in the pharmacy profession, ultimately leading to better and bigger chances for both pharmacists’ privileges and patient outcomes.”
Webb praises fellow students and pharmacy faculty members for their involvement in the successful event.
“I look back on Pharm at the Parham and absolutely believe that we made a positive impact for those present,” he said. “People who stopped to speak to us told us that they appreciated what we were doing in the park and that the topics we were talking about were important to their health.”