VN CARES Offers Free Health Screenings to Sacramento Community

vn cares group photo_resizedVietnamese Cancer Awareness, Research & Education Society (VN CARES) is delighted and honored to announce that the 7th Annual Sacramento Pacific Outreach Health Fair held on November 16, 2014 at the Vietnamese Martyrs Church in Sacramento was an overwhelming success. It was an incredible turnout where roughly 300 members of the local community and underserved population came out to partake in free health focused activities. Because of the collaborative and superb efforts from the sponsors, vendors, preceptors and volunteers, VN CARES was able to provide a total of 634 health screenings and services including blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C), bone mineral density, memory decline, anemia, body mass index, immunizations and smoking cessation counseling. Consistently trying to improve the fair each year, VN CARES added a new screening to the list—Hepatitis B. The service was kindly provided by the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training (AANCART) housed within the University of California, Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Striving to give back to the community, VN CARES was able to touch the lives of various ethnicities including Vietnamese, Chinese, Caucasian, Hispanic and African American. Furthermore, due to the diverse team of pharmacy and undergraduate student volunteers from the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, California Northstate University, Sacramento State University and University of California, Davis, the health fair provided translators to better assist patients of different ethnic backgrounds.

When asked to provide overall feedback on the health fair, many patients were emotional as they expressed their sincere gratitude. One patient, communicating through a translator said, “I am so grateful that [VN CARES] hosted this health fair and invited Vietnamese doctors and pharmacists to provide consultations and answer health-related questions for patients with limited English proficiency like me.” Another patient proclaimed, “I have not visited the doctor’s office for a long time because I don’t have health insurance and can’t afford it. That is why I came to this health fair today. I am so impressed and thankful for everyone’s efforts in setting up this health fair and offering our community so many health screenings and services. I will definitely come again next year.”cholestrol testing_resized

Many volunteers voiced positive responses as well. Quynh Nhu Nguyen ’16, a second-time VN CARES Sacramento Pacific Outreach Health Fair volunteer expressed, “I thought VN CARES did a better job with the screening line this time around and it was a great turn out.” In an interview with KCRA Sacramento News station, Dr. Tuan Tran, event organizer and sponsor, stated, “This [health fair] is a unique opportunity where we can work toward a new mentality of preventative health services.” Naomi Le ’17, first year VN CARES co-chair, commented, “This is my first health fair with VN CARES and it’s been rewarding to work with such compassionate students who share my hopes to improve health care access to the local community.”

Continuing their community involvement next semester, VN CARES will host a speaker event on January 8, 2015 to promote cervical cancer awareness. They will also hold the Pacific Family Health Fair in March 2015 in Stockton, Calif. It marks their second health fair of the academic school year and is expected to be one of the largest health fairs organized by student pharmacists. As the year comes to a close, VN CARES is excited to ring in the New Year with new events that will carry on the committee’s objective to make a positive impact on the health of the community.


Guest Blog – Unsung Heroes: Medicare Part D Preceptors

Rajul PatelI was asked to write a blog for the Dean’s newsletter about our Mobile Medicare Clinics and was thankful for the opportunity. However, shortly after accepting the offer, I realized that there were several different directions in which I could go and so I decided to share a little about our program but spend more time sharing with you who the true stars of our program are…the volunteer pharmacists.

Our Mobile Medicare Clinics have grown since we first began in 2007. That first year we served 72 Medicare beneficiaries and our student pharmacists helped them minimize their out-of-pocket costs through Part D plan optimization. Clinic turnout has steadily increased over the last seven years and to date we have been able to save 2,911 beneficiaries an estimated $2.23 million on their prescription drug costs.

Since the inception of our clinics we have expanded service offerings at each clinic site to include Medication Therapy Management (MTM), immunizations, bone density testing, cholesterol and diabetes testing, blood pressure measurement, anemia screening, asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) testing, depression and anxiety screening, falls risk assessment, memory decline screening, help with pharmaceutical assistance programs, and much more. To date, we have provided over 15,000 such services to clinic attendees at no cost. None of this would be possible without our students or the truly unsung heroes of our program – the volunteer pharmacists who supervise students in the provision of these part d 3 resized

This fall, we have 13 clinic sites in seven different cities across Northern/Central California including our first ever events in San Francisco and Oakland. We expect to serve over 1,400 seniors and community members, many from underserved and underrepresented populations including low-income, racial/ethnic minorities, non-English speaking and those with permanent disabilities. As our program has expanded and word has spread, the interest of others has also been piqued.

I have received e-mails and calls from faculty at several schools of pharmacy across the country who want to find out what we do and how we do it. Time and again they are very excited until they ask the question “How is it that you provide so many services?” Inevitably, when I share with them the number of pharmacists that commit, give so much to our program, and allow students to provide necessary services to our community, you can hear the machinations (some of which they articulate) on the other end. “How do you get so many pharmacists to supervise your students?” And as many answers as I think I may have, that is the one question which always stumps me. I am not sure, but when I do reflect I am astonished at how many pharmacists give so much to the Medicare program and our students.

med part d 1 resizedTo give you an idea, between our 13 Mobile Medicare Clinics this year we will have 115 different pharmacists (total number of pharmacists = 267) that will be precepting our students while they provide the aforementioned services. These pharmacists come on their days off and precept events that range from five to eight hours in duration. They travel on their own dime from Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, and all across the state to lend their expertise and serve as mentors to our students. Aside from donating so much time, many make other significant contributions to the program be it paying for our wireless devices, lunch for 100+ students/volunteers at an event, food for seniors and other clinic attendees, pounding the pavement to help spread the word of what we do, and on and on.

I am humbled and want to thank all the pharmacists who have ever precepted a Mobile Medicare Clinic of ours. None of the recognition that our program has received means as much to me as what all of you have so selflessly given. I am truly humbled by your contribution to the program and feel indebted to you in so many ways. Mother Teresa once said that “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are true endless.” To all the volunteer pharmacists I hope this letter resonates with you in the same way. Thank you.

If you want more information about the program including videos, program statistics, our fun newsletters and so much more please go to our webpage at or feel free to contact me directly at


Rajul A. Patel ’01, ’06, Pharm.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Pharmacy Practice

Student Pharmacists Kick Off American Pharmacists Month with Health Fair

Midtown Health Fair_resizedThe Pacific American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) kicked off American Pharmacists Month with a health fair at Midtown Farmers Market in Sacramento. Student pharmacists from University of the Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences collaborated with students from California Northstate University College of Pharmacy to host the event which served over 120 patients and provided over 90 influenza vaccinations. Overall, the health fair reached approximately 500 people in the community.

In addition to providing screenings and vaccinations, the students promoted the profession of pharmacy by initiating the new patient testimonial program which surveyed patients’ perspectives on whether or not pharmacists served as a integral players on the health care team. The survey produced many positive results. One patient stated, “The only time I ever interact (with a pharmacist) is when I pick up my meds. Now that I’ve been able to talk to some, they are very educated, lovely, helpful people.” The students hope to continue this program to further promote the profession and use the information to improve their services.Midtown Health Fair - educational_resized

Event coordinator and current Vice President of Legislative Affairs, April Nguyen ’16, encouraged other students to implement projects they are passionate about, stating “I am excited to pursue my passion for pharmacy with our first APhA-ASP health fair in collaboration with two schools of pharmacy! I am proud to be a part of this profession, where every pharmacist can make a difference in the community with our dedication to improving patient care.” Overall, it was a very successful and educational health fair, and the students are excited to channel this momentum to host future events. Pacific APhA-ASP also held the Legislative Week at Pacific which included speaker events and immunizing the mayor and legislative members.