Celebrate pharmacists in October

Column by Amory Cox. E-mail

Most of us have visited a local pharmacy, and with a pharmacy on nearly every street corner, the pharmacy profession is not an unfamiliar one.

In fact, about 250 million Americans walk into a pharmacy weekly.

You may be aware that UK boasts one of the top 10 colleges of pharmacy in the country and the largest academic pharmacy building in the world.

But have you ever wondered what goes on inside the walls of the UK College of Pharmacy or how pharmacists are involved in the health care team?

If you didn’t know, then you should know this: Student pharmacists at UK are not waiting until graduation to make an impact on the pharmacy profession.

Our current students represent nearly 100 counties across Kentucky and will one day serve as front-line practitioners.

Students lead committees that target certain disease states or interests, such as Operation Diabetes, Operation Heart, Breast Cancer Awareness, Legislative Affairs and Asthma Awareness. These groups plan numerous patient care and community service events in and around Lexington.

Every Tuesday, student pharmacists volunteer at the downtown Salvation Army clinic to provide free medication counseling and medication therapy management. Students then volunteer at Faith Pharmacy on Saturdays, a federally recognized entity sponsored by a downtown church that last year provided more than 6,000 patients with 35,000 prescriptions.

When the H1N1 flu pandemic swept the country last fall, the Fayette County Health Department specifically requested student pharmacist volunteers from UK to assist in providing H1N1 vaccines to the Lexington community.

The campaign allowed more than 13,500 patients to be immunized. In fact, since 1997, student pharmacists across the nation have helped vaccinate more than 720,600 patients.

During the 2009-2010 school year, College of Pharmacy committees held 96 patient care events in addition to those previously described and provided health and wellness services to 29,895 patients.

Student pharmacists at the UK College of Pharmacy have embraced the role of the pharmacist as a health care provider and are truly expanding awareness of the importance of pharmacists in the health care team.

How well do you know your pharmacist?

Developing good communication between the pharmacist and the patient can lead to better health outcomes. Take some time during the month of October to speak with your pharmacist about your medications and watch for information regarding upcoming College of Pharmacy events on campus this fall.

Know your medicine. Know your pharmacist. American Pharmacists Month.