Pharmacist Awareness Month educates on pharmacists’ roles in health care

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In Saskatchewan alone, there are over 1,350 pharmacists working in community pharmacy, hospitals, ambulatory care and primary health-care teams, and the number is growing every year. To promote the importance that pharmacists have within the Canadian health-care system, the University of Saskatchewan will host Pharmacist Awareness Month this March.

The month-long event, organized by over 60 student volunteers, will feature famous events such as the Mr. Pharmacy talent pageant. With each event, volunteers hope to engage health-care professionals and benefit not only current pharmacy students on campus, but also provide learning opportunities for all U of S students.

Darren Reithmeier, second-year pharmacy student and co-chair of the PAM promotions committee, encourages students to partake in events throughout the month to learn more about the U of S pharmacy program and what pharmacists can do for their patients.

“We welcome students on campus to approach [us] and our other pharmacy colleagues at the booths that we’ll have set up around campus. PAM is about engaging patient understanding; thus, community members and students can feel comfortable approaching us for questions and concerns,” Reithmeier said, in an email to the Sheaf. “PAM focuses on community outreach and education about what pharmacists are able to do for patients. This year’s slogan, ‘Pharmacists: Doing More. For You,’ portrays the excitement that our colleagues have to promote our profession to others.”

March is Pharmacist Awareness Month at the University of Saskatchewan.

There will be many events for students to partake in throughout the month at the U of S.  Reithmeier commented on some of their main events, including Admissions Night on Mar. 13 and the Mr. Pharmacy pageant on Mar. 24.

“Admissions Night is targeted at prospective university and high school students who are interested in entering the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition. Mr. Pharmacy includes daring men and women in the college, nominated by their classmates, [who] participate in a pageant style event with the hopes of being crowned ‘Mr. Pharmacy 2017,’” Reithmeier said.

According to Reithmeier, the month will also feature a community outreach initiative, taking place on various days throughout the month, and an interprofessional case study on Mar. 30.

“The community outreach is an initiative where we get pharmacy students out into the community to educate and raise awareness about pharmacists to members of the public and campus community, and the interprofessional case study event is intended to be an open-format case study that brings together multiple health professionals. The case study will be on the topic of schizophrenia,” Reithmeier said.

Mr. Pharmacy is one of the largest events that the college will host during PAM. Reithmeier encourages students to attend the event, as all proceeds raised this year will be donated to charity.

“Our Mr. Pharmacy event, one of the biggest events of our college, [is] frequently attended by students from other colleges. Attending Mr. Pharmacy is a great way to get a good first impression on the social and philanthropist side of what the Canadian Association of Pharmacy Students and Interns offers. Segments of the show include runway walk, talent portion, group dance, questions and answers, etc.,” Reithmeier said.

Every year, organizers of PAM choose a different charity to donate to. Reithmeier explains that this year’s charity is Team Naomi-Get Well Now.

“Naomi is an eight-year-old child in Saskatoon with stage four alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma,” Reithmeier said. “Naomi is raising awareness and fundraising money to donate to the Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute.”

Reithmeier notes that U of S students should also attend PAM events because they will provide an opportunity to ask questions and learn from their peers in the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, who will be able to apply knowledge learned in the classroom to educate others about the importance of pharmacists in health care.

“At some point in students’ lives, it will be necessary to utilize a pharmacist for medications, minor ailments and general questions about health concerns,” Reithmeier said. “Anytime is a great opportunity, but especially March, to talk to pharmacists about what they can do for you.”

Natasha Hausermann

Photo: Kathlyn Zales