SPOKANE – The College of Pharmacy at Washington State University had some tough competition but still earned a national award for partnering with the Spokane Regional Health District against the H1N1 flu in fall 2009.

The College received one of the 12 “Immunization Champion” awards handed out in March 2010 by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) at its annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

The winners were selected from more than 100 nominations.

WSU received the “honorable mention” – or the equivalent of second place – in the Partnership category. WSU was recognized for providing 60 student pharmacists and 11 faculty supervisors to help immunize more than 3,400 Spokane area residents against the H1N1 flu virus.

The WSU students, faculty and staff helped at a public flu clinic at the Spokane Arena as well as at smaller clinics and at two outreaches to the homeless population at the House of Charity and the Union Gospel Mission.

The College of Pharmacy has had a signed agreement with the Spokane Regional Health District since August 2007, agreeing to provide needed help in public health emergencies in any of the seven eastern Washington counties served by the health district.

The College’s partnership with the health district gives student pharmacists exposure to diverse situations and populations.

The first-place honor was awarded to a new college of pharmacy in Harlem, New York. The new pharmacy college in Harlem partnered with public health departments in New York City and the East and Central Harlem districts last fall to provide more than 2,000 flu shots in a state where it only became legal for pharmacists to give flu shots in December 2008.

The Harlem school also partnered with community pharmacists to increase immunization rates in the Bronx and Harlem.

WSU also received the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Region 7  patient care award for its Operation Immunization efforts last fall in Pullman, Spokane and Othello. The award is based on number of people reached.  The WSU student pharmacists reported immunizing 6,315 people at 64 events in the fall of 2009, with 164 student pharmacists participating.