Faculty and students are committed to improving the health of individuals in New Mexico. We are proud of our community outreach efforts. Three of our key programs are highlighted below.
About Community Outreach Day
While College of Pharmacy students provide outreach to numerous communities throughout the year, Outreach Day is a community service initiative to bring the entire PharmD student body together in one massive effort to deliver health information and services to the people of New Mexico.
The goals are to:
- Increase access to health information and services to underserved populations throughout New Mexico;
- Expose students to, and encourage them to participate in, community service.
- Increase the public’s awareness of the role of pharmacists in health care.
History of the Community Outreach Day
In 2012, students proposed that the College cancel all classes for one day and support a statewide community service outreach effort involving all PharmD students. The event has grown to include not only the Albuquerque area, but other communities around the state.
|Citizens Reached on Community Outreach Day|
|Community Service Activity||October 19, 2012||October 9, 2013||October 8, 2014|
|Education on the Affordable Care Act||0||207||0|
|Health fairs and health screenings||121||50||80|
|HIV screening and education||0||400||800|
|Poison prevention education||320||641||1400|
|Total number of New Mexicans reached by these activities||3142||4347||5471|
Community Outreach Activities
While community service activities vary slightly from year to year, activities often include:
- Administering flu immunizations
- Health fairs that offer blood pressure measurements, blood glucose and cholesterol testing and assessment of body mass index
- HIV/AIDS testing
- Educating the public on the dangers of misusing and abusing prescription medications (Generation Rx), on the importance of being active and consuming a well-balanced, nutritious diet and avoiding hazardous chemicals.
- Distributing “Vials of Life” that provide decals and give important medical information that can assist paramedics in case of emergency.
About Generation Rx
It’s a disturbing trend in New Mexico and throughout the country: People abusing prescription drugs with often deadly results and frequently turning to drugs like heroin to find cheaper ways to get high. Since 2007, prescription drug overdoses have surpassed those of illicit drugs.
UNM College of Pharmacy students have responded through an educational outreach prevention program called “Generation Rx.” The program began as a grassroots unfunded effort in 2007 by one College of Pharmacy faculty member and a handful of pharmacy students who were passionate about educating people on the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse. Those efforts have grown to reach hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans and are now partially funded through the Cardinal Health Foundation.
Today the program is embedded in the College student culture. Our student chapter of the American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) has expanded Generation Rx to effectively educate middle school, high school and college students as well as parents and senior citizens regarding the dangers of prescription drug misuse.
In addition to presentations to members of the community, students developed billboard campaigns that have received approximately 650,000 weekly impressions and have held several drug disposal (“take-back”) events in our communities.
Generation Rx Recognition and Impact
UNM pharmacy students and UNM and New Mexico State University pre-pharmacy students have worked with UNM College of Pharmacy faculty to spread the important message of the dangers of prescription drug abuse. The students, many who grew up in New Mexico, have made important connections statewide and enjoy returning their hometowns to talk with their former teachers, coaches, principals and counselors about this issue and how we can work together to help educate youth.
Students with support of faculty have also collaborated statewide with the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center, Albuquerque Public Schools, the Heroin Awareness Committee, SafeTeen New Mexico, the Parent-Teacher Association of New Mexico and many more community organizations.
- Pharmacy students have delivered the program to 29 of New Mexico’s 33 counties, covering more than 75,000 square miles. The program has been presented more than 300 times, often to gymnasiums packed with students.
- UNM Generation Rx pharmacy students were honored as guest speakers at the 58th International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation World Congress in Hurghada, Egypt, in 2012.
- Students have been recognized by the APhA-ASP three times over the past three years. In 2012 and 2013, they won the national Generation Rx Award and in 2014 they were second runner-up.
- Former faculty member Megan Thompson was recognized in 2012 for her efforts with the American Pharmacists Association’s Generation Rx Award of Excellence.
Pharmacists in New Mexico can administer vaccinations to people of all ages under a board-approved protocol for pharmacist prescribing of vaccines. In preparing to become pharmacists, UNM pharmacy students learn how to administer vaccines and routinely participate in community outreach efforts aimed at providing influenza immunizations throughout the state.
Each year UNM pharmacy students and faculty partner with state government and health care organizations on the School Kids Immunization Project to administer influenza immunizations throughout the state.
In 2013-2014 UNM pharmacy students administered more than 7,500 influenza immunizations and helped administer an additional 51,000 vaccinations. That year, 48 percent of New Mexicans of all ages received flu vaccinations, compared to the U.S. rate of 46 percent and 67 percent of children 17 and younger were vaccinated in New Mexico, compared to the U.S. rate of 57 percent.
In March 2015, UNM pharmacy students were awarded the National APHA-ASP Immunization Award for their immunization efforts in 2014. In partnership with community organizations throughout the state, students administered or helped to administer more than 79,000 vaccinations.
Read about us:
Students Lining Up for Flu Shots, Albuquerque Journal, Oct. 12, 2013
More NM Children Get Flu Vaccination than in Rest of U.S., Albuquerque Journal, Feb. 27, 2014.