You Make a Difference
For students at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, learning occurs both in the classroom and beyond. Putting what you learn to work in the real world, you’ll become an important part of the St. Louis health care community through service learning opportunities and community outreach programs. We place an emphasis on service and outreach because we know that pharmacists are trusted health professionals, providing leadership and sharing knowledge to strengthen the communities in which they practice. Besides gaining educational benefits through service, our students enjoy connecting with local causes and nonprofit organizations that are important to them. Making a difference is one of the most satisfying aspects of a career in pharmacy. Take a look at a few of the many opportunities available:
- STLCOP C.A.R.E.S. (Community Awareness Reaching Everyone in St. Louis) is a student-organized day of community service held during the fall semester. Students and faculty provide health screenings at local pharmacies, clean up the lush green space of Forest Park and participate at other locations throughout the metro area.
- St. Louis College of Pharmacy has enjoyed a great relationship with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for years. Student volunteers hold numerous diabetes screenings every year at pharmacies and other venues across St. Louis and host Boo Fest on the STLCOP campus every October. STLCOP students provide educational information to kids with diabetes and their parents while presenting fun activities in a carnival-like atmosphere.
- Working with the St. Louis Regional Asthma Consortium, STLCOP faculty created the Asthma Friendly Pharmacies program. Seven pharmacies in the St. Louis region provide advanced pharmaceutical care to patients with asthma through the program, which is integrated in STLCOP’s experiential curriculum.
- Health literacy affects everyone, and pharmacists are key to helping people become educated about their medications. Working with Health Literacy Missouri, STLCOP students help patients understand health and disease, drugs, interactions, and how lifestyle affects health.
- Ready Readers is a St. Louis-based nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring preschool children from low-income communities to become readers. Trained student volunteers read aloud to young children.
- The BESt Pharmacy Summer Institute is a collaborative effort of the College, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Express Scripts. This program is designed to expose and prepare local high school students from under-represented groups for future careers in health care, with a particular emphasis in pharmacy. The BESt model combines academics, exposure to pharmacy, and professional development. Since its inception in 2008, the program boasts a 100 percent college acceptance for BESt participants with 93 percent of students choosing to pursue a health care career and 65 percent choosing pharmacy as a career.
- Local high school students accepted into the Walgreens/STLCOP Career Explorers Program learn about the history of pharmacy, how to read prescription abbreviations, calculate dosages for prescriptions, and dispense prescriptions. They also take hospital tours and participate in laboratory compounding exercises. Additionally, students spend 10 days working in a St. Louis-area Walgreen’s pharmacy, performing the duties of a pharmacy technician. Upon successful completion of the program, each participant receives a certificate of completion and a stipend. Since its inception, more than 200 students have participated in the program and more than 50 percent of all participants have enrolled in pharmacy schools throughout the nation (including STLCOP).
- Pharmacy Phun, a collaboration between STLCOP and the Saint Louis Science Center, features STLCOP students who lead visitors–adults and children–through a variety of hands-on, pharmacy-related activities such as compounding medications or ointments with a mortar and pestle, “punching” medicine capsules and translating medicine labels from Latin to English. Visitors will also learn about safety through activities that focus on the safe disposal of medicine and poison prevention.
More Opportunities to Serve
STLCOP partners with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the city of St. Louis to coordinate the St. Louis Medication Disposal Initiative. Instead of disposing of expired or unused drugs in hazardous locations, such as the trash (where children or pets can access them) or the toilet (where medications can leach into the water supply), the initiative provides locations throughout the region for the safe disposal of prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Similarly, we partner with the St. Louis County Police Department, Missouri American Water, the city of Florissant Police Department, the city of Sunset Hills Police Department and the Metropolitan Sewer District to sponsor P2D2: Missouri Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal.
STLCOP students have many other opportunities throughout the year to support causes and organizations they believe in. From joining the STLCOP team for the annual Alzheimer’s Walk to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association St. Louis Chapter to donating items for the Ronald McDonald House in conjunction with Homecoming Week to tutoring area students in math and science, our students make a difference throughout the St. Louis area.