/////UAMS College of Pharmacy Students Take Health to the State ‘Hill’
UAMS College of Pharmacy Students Take Health to the State ‘Hill’ 2018-01-05T09:12:48+00:00

FEB. 18, 2005 | Students in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Pharmacy took the pulse of state government – literally – as they joined with the Arkansas Pharmacists Association on Feb. 9 to host free wellness screenings in the Arkansas State Capitol rotunda.

About 55 second- and third-year pharmacy students provided screenings for constitutional officers, state legislators, staff members, lobbyists and anyone else who wanted them that day. The screenings included blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, body mass index, osteoporosis and risk of heart attack. Information on smoking cessation, immunizations, heartburn and the Arkansas Poison Center was available and pharmacists and UAMS faculty were on hand to discuss the results of the screenings and answer any questions the attendees might have.

“This is a wonderful experience for our students and the College of Pharmacy,” said Charles Born, Ph.D., associate dean of the College of Pharmacy, as he looked over the crowded rotunda filled with dark-suited government officials and white-coated students and pharmacists.

“Not only does it demonstrate the array of services pharmacists routinely offer, but it gives the students an opportunity to utilize the information they’ve learned and gives them confidence,” Born said.

Marci Smith, a second-year student from Lake Village, said students started planning the event in November with the Arkansas Pharmacists Association. Smith is vice president of professional projects for the UAMS chapter of the American Pharmacy Association Academy of Student Pharmacists and headed up the college’s participation in the event.

This is the second time the wellness screenings have been provided at the State Capitol. Since the Arkansas Legislature meets every two years, Smith said this was the only opportunity some of the students would have to participate in the function. Smith explained that fourth-year students are in rotation and first-year students don’t have enough experience yet, so the second and third-year students are the most capable to participate.

“We had more students volunteering than we had slots to fill,” Smith said of the enthusiasm. “For many of us, it’s our only chance to participate.”

Smith said the event gives the students not only the chance to network with professional pharmacists, but to meet state legislators from their hometowns and make a connection. She said the students have studied upcoming legislation concerning health care and pharmaceuticals being considered by the state legislators, and many were excited about discussing it with their representatives. Many students plan to go back to their hometowns after graduation, and realize that the name and face recognition could be helpful to their future goals.

Eddie Dunn, Pharm.D., associate professor of pharmacy, said the students did such a great job on the wellness screenings two years ago that they won a national award through the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Students Pharmacists during their annual conference in Seattle. The UAMS chapter also won an award for its participation in Operation Immunization, which helped provide flu vaccinations across the state.

“We could have just three or four tables here, but we wanted to provide the whole gamut to show how much pharmacists can do for their customers and the community,” said Mark Riley, Pharm.D., executive vice president of the Arkansas Pharmacists Association.

The association has enjoyed a unique relationship with the College of Pharmacy, Riley said, because Dean Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D., understands the importance of working together. He said members of the association regularly provide lecturers to the college and clinical rotation staff.

“The cooperation between the College of Pharmacy, the Arkansas Pharmacists Association and the State Board of Pharmacy is something you don’t see in many states,” he said.