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October 5, 2007

ULM pharmacy students reach out to community with Service Learning projects

The ULM College of Pharmacy recently added a Service Learning component to its program requirements, enabling COP students to participate in one community outreach assignment each semester during their first three years of pharmacy school.

The Service Learning project provides opportunities for students to use their compassion and skill sets to positively impact patients and communities around them.

On Wednesday, Sept. 19, COP students used their "thinking caps" to stress the importance of healthy nutrition to fifth-graders at Kiroli Elementary. Chase Ament and Toni Lorino, both first-year students, decided that role-play might do the trick. Ament dressed as a banana, and Lorino as a carrot. "Banana" competed with the children in a push-up contest while "Carrot" distributed nutrition facts.

"It was fun for me to tap into my creative side for a change,” said Lorino. “I could tell the students were really interested because toward the end they kept asking, 'Carrot, what's your favorite vegetable?' They were so cute."

Each semester the Service Learning activities are coordinated under the ULM COP Office of Experiential Education through Laurel Rodden and Connie Smith.

Each project contains objectives each student must meet to complete their assignment for the given semester. Smith said, "The primary goal is to allow students to use their knowledge obtained in the classroom setting and apply it to promote the health and well-being of others."

Other recent examples include: diabetes testing and education; cholesterol testing and education; cardiovascular risk assessment; blood pressure screenings; and nutrition and health education.

ULM pharmacy students accomplish the Service Learning projects as well as complete a detailed, yet broad curriculum each year with instruction in courses such as pharmaceutics, pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, therapeutics, and others.

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