PharmCamp Fosters Future Pharmacists

An Arizona pharmacy camp for middle school students provides camp counseling that may someday flourish into patient counseling. Sponsored by the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, PharmCamp educates young adults about the pharmacy profession.

Ah, summer camp-hiking, swimming, campfires, and . . . medication safety? PharmCamp, a summer program for middle school students, is redefining the traditional summer camp experience to teach kids about the pharmacy field. Sponsored by the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, the camp is free to area middle school students and provides a 5-day intensive on everything from sun safety to research into new medications.

"The idea behind pharmacy camp was to put science to work and challenge students to reach their highest potential," said Theodore Tong, associate dean of the College of Pharmacy.

To put this idea into practice, the middle-schoolers take part in hands-on learning activities including interactive exercises, labs, workshops, and projects. In addition, the potential pharmacists-to-be visit a community pharmacy and clinic, a local pharmaceutical manufacturer, and the History of Pharmacy Museum located on the college campus.

The experience culminates with campers making presentations to the faculty and pharmacy students who taught them. Topics include issues of importance to pharmacists, including summer ailments, immunizations, influenza, drug abuse, and tobacco cessation.

Now in its 12th year, PharmCamp expanded its offerings outside the Tucson area this summer, bringing the camp to Yuma, a city farther south, near the Mexican border.

If soon-to-be 8th-grader Jordan Cramer is any indication, the program is a hit with its participants.

"I learned many things at camp," he said. "A pharmacist is a unique job and they are needed around the world, but it is not always work-you can have fun doing your job."

For other articles in this issue, see:

Pharmacy Care Teams Get to the Heart of the Matter

Americans Spending Billions on Nonconventional Medicine

NACDS Urges Involvement in Reform Debate at Conference