UNM pharmacy students, community mutually benefit on Outreach Day

Eddie Garcia
October 19, 2017 07:30 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Dawn Anderson, a third-year pharmacy student at UNM, is excited, and for good reason.


She and more than 200 other pharmacy students are preparing to branch out across the state for their sixth annual Community Outreach Day. In total their effort will cover 35 sites in ten communities.

"We learn how to communicate with patients in a way that we obviously can't learn just reading from a textbook," Anderson said.

As part of the initiative, the students will provide free immunizations, diabetes and heart disease screenings. They will also be working to educate the public about prescription drug use, opioid abuse and poison prevention.

Associate Professor of Pharmacy Emeritus Michel Disco said the outreach was initially the students’ idea back in 2012. Each year since it's been so successful that it's now part of the curriculum.

"As far as student growth, it's amazing," Disco said.

He said Outreach Day goes beyond benefitting students; it helps New Mexico as a whole.

"We have a huge poverty rate, we have one of the worst poverty rates for children in the nation,” he said. “So what we want to do is be able to reach those people and these patients and to help them.”

Anderson said the communities they venture out to is home to residents who may not have insurance that allows them to see a medical provider on a regular basis. She said she hopes the outreach is just as much a learning experience for the public as it is for the students.

"We want to make sure that people know that we are one of the most accessible health care providers,” she said, “and that we do reach out to the community.”


Eddie Garcia

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