Two pharmacists at a table talking to someone
By El Gibson

Academic Altruism

UNM College of Pharmacy to Host Community Outreach Day

Ten years ago this month, University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy students convinced administration that, for one day, all classes should be canceled – for a good cause.

Every October since, pharmacy students have taken one day to fan out across the Albuquerque metro area to provide a variety of health and education services to underserved populations. The free services range from flu shots and health screenings to diabetes education and financial assistance information sessions.

Organizers call it Community Outreach Day and say it’s a big hit every year.

“That first day, in 2012, we served 3,142 individuals,” said College of Pharmacy Dean Donald A. Godwin, PhD. “In the intervening 10 years, we have grown the day to 10 to 12 programs per year and regularly reach between 5,000 and 6,000 people.”

Community Outreach Day is not only a good opportunity for the public to take advantage of free and accessible services – it’s also an invaluable real-life education opportunity for pharmacy students, Godwin said.

“For the community, it is important for them to receive the health care services and education provided,” he said. “For the students, it’s important for them to give back to the communities they came from and to show the people of New Mexico what pharmacists and student pharmacists are capable of in the provision of education and health care.”

The event will take place Friday, Oct. 21, in various locations around the Albuquerque metro area (see table below) and is almost entirely student driven with faculty and volunteer preceptor oversight.

Four student organizers – Annajita Rubio, David McChesney, Helen Ngo and Sara Roach – have been preparing for Community Outreach Day for months. These students’ first Outreach Day experience came in October 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That day, we provided thousands of vaccines, and had direct involvement in delivering resources for testing, treatment and education,” McChesney said. “Since then, I have seen my cohort become increasingly involved in the community and public health and am honored to be working alongside these future pharmacists.”

Community Outreach Day takes place each October during American Pharmacists Month, an observance recognizing pharmacists’ contributions to health care.

“Outreach Day provides us with an avenue to advocate for our profession during American Pharmacists Month by showing our community that pharmacists can serve as a resource in many different areas of health and wellness,” Rubio said.

Cherry Hills Library 6901 Barstow St. NE, Albuquerque 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Medical Finance Access Operation
  • Diabetes/Operation Heart
  • Immunizations
  • Diabetes Family Education Initiative
  • International Pharmacy Service Federation
Roadrunner Food Bank 5840 Office Blvd. NE, Albuquerque 8 a.m. to noon
  • Community Service

Jewish Community Center

5520 Wyoming Blvd. NE, Albuquerque 9 a.m. to noon
  • Operation Diabetes/Operation Heart
  • Immunizations

Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center

501 Elizabeth St. SE, Albuquerque 9 a.m. to noon
  • Operation Diabetes/Operation Heart
  • Immunizations

Palo Duro Senior Center

5221 Palo Duro Ave. NE, Albuquerque 9 a.m. to noon
  • Operation Diabetes/Operation Heart
  • Immunizations
  • Vials of Life

North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center

7521 Carmel Ave. NE, Albuquerque, NM 9 a.m. to noon
  • Medical Finance Access
  • Operation Diabetes/Operation Heart
  • Immunizations
  • 13000 Indian School Road NE, Albuquerque
  • 5850 Eubank Blvd. NE, Albuquerque
  • 8400 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuquerque
  • 9700 Menaul Blvd. NE, Albuquerque
  • 8011 Ventura St. SE, Albuquerque
  • 9500 Golf Course Rd., Albuquerque
  • 3400 Coors Blvd. NW, Albuquerque
  • 4051 Southern Blvd. SE, Rio Rancho
  • 1941 Southern Blvd. SE, Rio Rancho
9 a.m. to noon
  • Immunizations
Albertsons 10131 Coors Bypass NW, Albuquerque 9 a.m. to noon
  • Immunizations
Costco 9955 Coors Bypass NW, Albuquerque 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Immunizations
The Storehouse 106 Broadway Blvd. SE, Albuquerque 8 to 11 a.m.
  • Community Service
Islamic Center of New Mexico Yale Blvd. SE, Albuquerque Noon to 3 p.m.
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Services Provided:

  • Medication Financial Access – Providing educational resources on different insurance options and ways to obtain needed medications.
  • Operation Diabetes/Operation Heart – Providing free health screenings that involve blood pressure, blood glucose, BMI and atrial fibrillation testing.
  • Immunizations – Providing flu shots to the community.
  • Community Service – General community service and outreach.
  • Diabetes Family Education Initiative – Educating the community on diabetes.
  • Vials Of Life – Distributing and educating on Vials of Life, which are like medical alert bracelets or ID tags that speak for you when you can’t speak for yourself.
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine – Educating the community on the safe use of natural remedies on their own and alongside prescription medications.
Categories: College of Pharmacy, Community Engagement, Health, News You Can Use, Top Stories