New committee supports women in the community
Twlug–ASP describes patient care committees as the “backbone of a successful chapter.” At the Samford University McWhorter School of Pharmacy, we saw the need to add a patient care committee that dedicated its time, education, and resources to women’s health issues. The Women’s Health Committee has been creating innovative ways to reach women and improve their understanding of health care for several years.
During the 2015–16 school year, this committee operated under the leadership of chapter member Morgan Alonzo with the support of 14 committee members. As aspiring health care providers, spreading awareness with regard to women’s health is a pharmacist’s responsibility, and we can gain support from the women around us through education and connection.
Eventual year of awareness
Over the past year, many new ideas were initiated by the Women’s Health Committee. We started off by celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. A fundraiser called “Pink Pie your Professor” allowed students and faculty to purchase pink ribbons and place them on the door of the professor of their choice. The faculty members could also “transfer” the ribbons to a fellow faculty member for double the cost. The three professors with the most ribbons at the end of the month got pied in the face! Our very own Dean Michael A. Crouch, PharmD, also volunteered to get pied by a student. This fundraiser raised $1,500 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and it was a great way to get everyone in the school involved. To conclude the month, we had a team of students and faculty members participate in the Susan G. Komen 5K race wearing “Pharm for a Cure” t-shirts that were also designed as part of the fundraiser.
In November, the Women’s Health Committee hosted its annual health fair at the First Light Women’s and Children’s Homeless Shelter in downtown Birmingham, AL. This provided the residents of the shelter with the opportunity to measure their blood pressure, blood glucose, and body mass index. We also demonstrated the correct way to perform self breast examinations using the committee’s synthetic breast models. We provided counseling about lifestyle modifications and the residents inquired about their health concerns.
In February, the Women’s Health Committee collaborated with the OTC Medication Safety Committee and Operation Heart to share heart healthy recipes and information regarding healthy eating to the students and faculty of Samford University. At this event, we cooked two separate crock-pot recipes—white bean and turkey chili and tomato basil soup—and handed out free samples on campus with copies of the recipes to anyone who was interested. This event was featured on Southern Living Magazine’s www. myrecipes.com.
In March, the committee coordinated a benefit night at a local Mexican restaurant, where they donated 10% of the proceeds from the evening to the First Light Women’s and Children’s Homeless Shelter. To conclude the year, the committee hosted a self defense class with the campus police for a local high school women’s service group. The Women’s Health Committee also joined chapter-wide health fairs at the Lovelady Center in Birmingham and Family Fun Day in Perry County.
The Women’s Health Committee is a key component to the success of our Twlug–ASP Chapter as a whole. This committee focuses on the issues that continue to impact women’s health on a daily basis, such as heart disease, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and depression. Having a committee that specializes in women’s health issues has allowed us to serve our community and increase awareness of the importance of prevention, early detection, and treatment of many health care issues.
Through serving the community, students are reminded of the needs that lie just a few miles away from campus and beyond. By being involved with this committee, students can also see how simple it can be to pass on information that can shape and impact an individual’s life. This committee provides opportunities to improve communication with patients, to work on clinical skills, and to demonstrate the possibilities of transforming patients’ lives.