Celebrate pharmacists’ contributions to health care this month

College of Pharmacy Faculty and Staff

It’s a great time to thank a pharmacist. 

October is designated American Pharmacists Month by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and October 19-23 is National Pharmacy Week, hosted by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP). The events shine a light on the important contributions pharmacists make to health care and the positive impact of their work in our communities. 

It’s truly a time to thank and recognize all those who contribute to the pharmacy profession,” said Dr. S. Suresh Madhavan, Dean of the HSC College of Pharmacy. “That includes pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, scientists, student pharmacists, and our HSC faculty and staff who support the College of Pharmacy’s mission every day.” 

The role of pharmacists goes above and beyond the traditional model of dispensing medication,” Dr. Madhavan added. “Pharmacists are highly accessible to help patients with many health care needs, including medication use and safety advice, chronic disease management, patient health education, preventive care, health screenings, and vaccinations, and much more.  

As the country faced COVID-19 in March, pharmacists were fighting on the front lines. 

Pharmacists are on front lines in multiple types of practice settings – from hospitals to community clinics — where they are seeing patients one-on-one,” said Emanuel George, PharmD and Associate Dean of Student Engagement and Alumni Affairs. 

In early April, the federal government expanded pharmacists’ roles to include ordering and administering FDA-approved COVID-19 tests. And recently, pharmacists were granted authority to order and administer pediatric and COVID19 vaccines.

One in five vaccines are administered by pharmacists, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2018, 42% of all flu vaccines were given by a pharmacistLast yearHSC student pharmacists administered nearly 2,000 flu shots to the HSC and surrounding community. 

Flu shots are more important than ever amidst COVID-19. 

As another respiratory illness, the flu raises concern for patients being more susceptible to other infections, including COVID-19, more severe illness and risk of complications, and increased utilization of healthcare resources,” said Megan WeslingPharmD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacotherapy and Clinical Pharmacist at the HSC Health, Family Medicine Clinic

As we await a viable COVID-19 vaccine, the available flu vaccines are safe and effective and serve to combat the concerns related to a heavily burdened flu season, especially in the midst of a global pandemic, Dr. Wesling added. 

There are nearly 23,000 licensed pharmacists in Texas and nearly 7,000 alone in the DFW Metroplex. Pharmacists work in community pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, academia, pharmaceutical companies, drug discovery and development, and other healthcare environments. 

Here are a number of ways to celebrate pharmacists and the pharmacy community this month:  

  • October 12 – #WomenPharmacistDay celebrating the significant gains that women have made in pursuing careers in pharmacy. 
  • October 1923 – National Pharmacy Week, and HSC pharmacy student organizations are busy planning activities for Pharmacy Week. View the calendar here. #PharmacyWeek
  • October 19, 10-11 am. HSC College of Pharmacy presents a Virtual Conversation with former EVP & CEO of the American Pharmacists Association, Dr. Tom Menighan as he presents “Your Future Through My Rearview Mirror”. Register by October 15. View the flyer.  
  • October 20 – National Pharmacy Technician Day. In 2019, more than 62% of the incoming class at HSC College of Pharmacy had experience as a pharmacy technician. Read about HSC student pharmacists.  
  • October 20, 11 am – Join us for our next Alumni Conversation featuring College of Pharmacy Alumna, Maricar Conson, PharmD. Dr. Conson currently works as a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at Methodist Dallas Medical Center focusing on outpatient care. Register here.
  • October 23, 12-1 pm – HSC Speakers Bureau: Pharmacists During a Crisis: A Dose of Health Advice, Solutions and Wisdom.

Moderated by Dr. Emanuel George, the HSC Speakers Bureau will feature a panel of HSC pharmacists, Drs. Adenike Atanda, Jennifer Fix, Meenakshi Ramanathan and Megan Wesling. Register here.

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