The Washington State University College of Pharmacy is committed to advancing, promoting and protecting human health. Part of this vision means educating outstanding health care professionals through its Doctor of Pharmacy program who are prepared to be the future leaders in the pharmacy profession. This is why, in response to the recent outbreak of mumps in the Spokane area, the WSU College of Pharmacy teamed up with the Spokane Regional Health District and Walgreens to provide a series of emergency response immunization clinics across the Inland Northwest.
WSU student pharmacist Tram Huong Pham, class of 2018, spearheaded the coordination of student volunteers for the clinics. Pham is also a member of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) and at WSU she is the Operation Immunization chair. Operation Immunization is an APhA-ASP educational campaign and service project to increase the public awareness surrounding immunizations and raise the number of adults receiving them.
“The Operation Immunization group at WSU was called upon to participate in these community clinics by the Spokane Regional Health District,” said Pham.
Student pharmacists are taught to give immunizations at the beginning of their second year of pharmacy school. A total of 64 student pharmacists in the WSU Doctor of Pharmacy program volunteered and participated in 17 clinics that Pham helped to coordinate. She worked closely with classmates, and WSU Operation Immunization team members, Natalie Tucker and James Kent. The emergency clinics ran between January 11 and February 13 at Spokane area schools and community organizations.
“During the first clinic at Salvation Army, we served 156 patients and administered 294 vaccines. After that, I was in direct contact with Nick Bruck to help coordinate subsequent clinics around multiple school districts,” said Pham.
Bruck is the district pharmacy supervisor for Walgreens and a 2004 WSU pharmacy alumnus.
“The Walgreens team and the WSU students have done a great job, and their efforts in this emergency response situation have been amazing for the community and residents of the Greater Spokane area,” said Bruck.
“Overall, I’m very proud of the fact that student pharmacists were able to promote immunization services and increase awareness of the important role both pharmacists and student pharmacists can play in public health,” said Pham.
The roles of pharmacists these days have shifted from the traditional dispensing and distributing of medications towards a patient-centered, administrative and public health focus, says Pham.
“Besides the key role that pharmacists play in disease prevention and access to care, the importance of medication distribution and patient care during a disease outbreak is vital,” she said. “I am glad I’m in a profession that prepares and allows me to perform these crucial public health functions.”
Pham is finishing her third year in the WSU Doctor of Pharmacy program and plans to pursue a residency after graduation. As a pharmacist, she is interested in working in an ambulatory care setting that provides pharmacotherapy and prevention services in managing chronic disease states. “I’m excited to see how my fourth-year rotations will help me confirm my professional interest. My goal is to thrive and continue to strengthen my clinical skills and critical thinking needed to be a competent Coug pharmacist of tomorrow,” said Pham.
Thank you to our WSU student pharmacist volunteers!
Mischa Jung Hsiao
[Lori J. Maricle] 2/23/17