Touro College of Pharmacy students recently participated in the school's third annual Operation Immunization.
Touro College of Pharmacy (TCOP) students recently participated in the school’s third annual Operation Immunization, a public health initiative organized by the approximately 70-member student chapter of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP).
Operating out of the Gaylord White Senior Center on E. 104th Street in East Harlem, the 10 TCOP student volunteers screened the seniors about their health histories and assessed their current health to make sure there were no issues impairing their ability to receive live flu or other vaccines important to the elderly.
Operation Immunization was one of 4 activities hosted by the college in support of American Pharmacists Month and Flu Awareness Month. Other events included a flu clinic for the TCOP community; the screening of a documentary on the Spanish flu pandemic in the United States in 1918; and a guest lecture from flu vaccine developer, Dr. Doris Bucher of New York Medical College, an affiliate of the Touro College and University System.
Interim Dean Dr. Zvi Loewy said the students, who receive the highest level of training in all aspects of pharmacy including therapeutics, diagnostics and preventative medicine, have historically taken an active role in immunization programs in keeping with the college’s mission.
“We are very committed to contributing our expertise in preventive medicine within the Harlem community and are proud of the contributions our students make to this significant public health initiative,” Dr. Loewy said.
Because student pharmacists are not permitted to administer shots until after they graduate, the vaccines were injected by a licensed pharmacist from Rite Aid while the students observed the procedures. Fifteen vaccinations were administered, including vaccines for pneumococcus.
“The students organized the event from beginning to end and secured the participation of Rite Aid as a community partner,” explained Dr. Dipan Ray, director of practice experience at TCOP and the students’ faculty advisor.
Event organizer Christine Nguyen, a third-year student and president of the APhA-ASP chapter at TCOP, said she and her fellow students learned a great deal about patient interaction and meeting the needs of seniors and community service.
"It's vitally important for seniors to receive vaccinations because adults over 65 years of age are more susceptible to the flu and also prone to other preventable diseases as well,” Nguyen said. “As student pharmacists, it was our goal to administer as many immunizations as possible in order to do our part in protecting our senior population.”