Pacific has partnered with the Stockton Unified School District to offer an after-school program for elementary school students. During the spring and summer academic semesters pharmacy students have the opportunity to give presentations on a wide range of health-related topics. The groundwork for this program was laid by Sian Carr-Lopez ’85, PharmD and currently the program is coordinated by Cynthia S. Valle-Oseguera ’12, PharmD, BCACP Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice.
“The schools within the Stockton Unified School District host the educational sessions while pharmacy students from various professional fraternities and committees deliver interactive presentations,” explains Dr. Valle-Oseguera. “The number of attendees varies per event and per school, but all of the school sites are kindergarten to eighth grade and have about 100 students. The presentation topics also vary by date depending on the pharmacy group responsible for that particular date, but may include: bone health, exercise, eye health, smoking cessation, germs, nutrition and sun-safety.”
This program gives pharmacy students the opportunity to work with a young, underserved population. “This school district is composed of mostly minority groups with financial difficulties, which is reflected by its free and reduced lunch rate of 90 percent, [which] is considered to be extremely high,” explains Dr. Valle-Oseguera. “The program helps them learn, in fun ways, topics that perhaps they may not have learned.” She adds, “Our students really help make it interactive and fun.”
Partnering with the school district opens up additional sites for pharmacy students to engage with the community, which allows them to gain valuable hands-on experience. Dr. Valle-Oseguera believes that one of the greatest benefits for pharmacy students is the opportunity to practice their presentation skills. Dr. Valle-Oseguera elaborates, “[Pharmacy students learn] how to teach a topic depending on their audience and how to interact with different audiences.”
Dr. Valle-Oseguera views the program as being mutually beneficial. She shares, “This program has been very well-received by pharmacy students, as well as by the District’s schools. Students enjoy having the opportunity to work with this younger population and possibly even mentoring them into a career in healthcare, while the schools enjoy hosting beneficial educational sessions for their students.” She adds, “Overall our students have been very professional, they do an outstanding job. Both sets of students are very happy with the program.”
By Anne Marie H. Bergthold