As of March 2016, students in the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition are bringing back a national initiative to the University of Saskatchewan and finding unique ways to involve all students in the annual event.
Pharmacist Awareness Month takes place nationwide and is aimed at informing the public about the many different streams of pharmacy. At the U of S, members of the Canadian Association of Pharmacy Students and Interns are hosting a number of events geared at engaging the campus community and encouraging prospective students to apply to the college.
Kaitlynn Tress, second-year pharmacy student, and Kelsey Joorisity, a third-year pharmacy student, have taken the lead in organizing this year’s slate of events for PAM. Along with other CAPSI members, they look forward to the month ahead and express excitement about their chosen field.
“We want to get students in our college pumped up about the profession, and we want to really be in eyesight of other students in the health sciences,” Joorisity said.
CAPSI members organize a number of workshops and events throughout the year, including speaking at elementary schools and seniors’ centres, but Tress and Joorisity say that PAM remains the greatest effort. While it is a national initiative spanning throughout the profession of pharmacy and event organizers are motivated to involve students, faculty and staff across the campus community, PAM maintains a distinct student focus.
“Our campaign at the U of S is entirely run by students, for students. We strive to get the students out into the community and out and about around campus to spread the word,” Joorisity said.
This year, information booths will be set up throughout the month in the Arts Tunnel, Health Sciences Building and even at Market Mall. There, pharmacy students will be available to answer questions about the profession and everything that pharmacists do, as well as offer up prizes.
“Our community outreach co-ordinators have been super awesome and have made photo booth props involving fun pharmacy stuff. Anyone who takes a picture at our booths will be entered to win a big gift basket from the Medicine Shoppe pharmacy,” Tress said.
A different kind of photo booth will be available on Mar. 21, when the Saskatchewan branch of the Canadian Cancer Society will be showing off some shocking selfies. Students can stop by the E-wing in health sciences to have their picture taken with a special UV camera that will show the sun damage their skin has incurred over the years.
“We are very fortunate to have paired up with the Cancer Society of Saskatchewan this year, they’ll be coming to do a presentation for our college as well as anybody else who’s interested, in regards to sun health and some of the damage that can occur when not properly taking care of your skin,” Tress said.
PAM offers a number of opportunities for prospective pharmacy and nutrition students, including a chance to have a conversation with alumni and individuals now working in the respective fields. On Mar. 16, there will be a mentorship night — partnering with the nutrition students, CAPSI will be bringing in pharmacist mentors and dietitian mentors to speak and offer advice.
“We have pharmacists from the community, academia, hospitals, specialty and some newly graduated alumni so that students can get a different perspective and learn more about what they can do with their degrees,” Joorisity said.
The jewel in PAM’s crown at the U of S is a pageant-style event known as Mr. Pharmacy, which will take place on Mar. 18 at Louis’ Pub. Students can purchase tickets to watch male and female participants strut their stuff and compete in formal wear, question and answer, runway walk and talent categories.
“Mr. Pharmacy has been done for the past four or five years, and we’re actually the frontrunners of this event across Canada; the other 10 schools do it now but we actually started it,” Tress said.
About 100 volunteers have been involved in co-ordinating PAM at U of S. A priority for them is to get people talking and to share what they are passionate about.
“If anyone needs anything pharmacy related, they can come to our booths and ask us. Our students really want to talk to people.”