Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Pharmacy School Students Volunteer to Dispense Free Health Advice

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Pharmacy School Students Volunteer to Dispense Free Health Advice

Article excerpt

LECOM: Outreach efforts garner national award in February competition

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy students dispense advice to whoever will listen about the proper ways to take medications.

There is no extra academic incentive for students like Bryan Davidson, Mohammed Abdulwahhab, Revika Matuknauth and Kenneth Gordon to volunteer their time in booths at the Bradenton Farmers Market, Music on Main in Lakewood Ranch, the De Soto Heritage Festival and the Red Barn Flea Market.

"It's our chance to give back to the people who support us," Davidson, a third-year student, said.

Their community outreach efforts were recognized by the National Consumers League; LECOM was one of two pharmacy schools of 129 nationwide to win the Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge competition. The school was the only one to receive the Creative Interprofessional Team Event Award for involving LECOM's medical and dental students in the effort.

For the February competition alone, the students volunteered 900 hours at 47 events and reached 2,000 people, said Davidson, who as first vice president of the Student Government Association was LECOM's student coordinator for the event.

The award brought recognition, but the students are busy year- round spreading their message to as many people as they can. They especially want to reach people who have chronic conditions.

First-year pharmacy students are charged with visiting elementary schools to talk to children about ways to stay healthy.

"I am extremely impressed and proud of the compassion and commitment shown by these students," Dr. Julie Wilkinson, a professor and associate dean, said.

In addition to educating people about how to follow instructions to take medication, students also do blood pressure checks and offer tests for cholesterol and blood glucose levels, said Dr. …

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