Pharmacy students provide a helping hand at Haven for Hope

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by Wendy Rigby / KENS 5

kens5.com

Posted on November 17, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 3:01 PM

SAN ANTONIO -- Students at San Antonio’s pharmacy school are bringing a little more hope to the Haven for Hope for the homeless. The Feik School of Pharmacy at the University of the Incarnate Word is lending its expertise to some of the city’s neediest people.

The future pharmacists are learning a lot more than just biochemistry and physiology. At the Haven for Hope shelter downtown, they’re helping screen the city’s homeless for health problems. This week, the focus is on blood pressure.
 
“Being in the school, you get to do the didactic training and you can see the cases on paper,” explained Vanessa Phillips, an associate professor at the Feik School of Pharmacy. “But until you’re out in the actual real world and you’re working with patients, then all those skills need to come into play.”
 
For the past year, these fourth-year students getting ready to graduate have helped up to 70 patients a day, performing screenings and giving medication advice.
 
The people living at Haven for Hope are grateful for the professional help, help that is given with respect and compassion.
 
“I think it’s great, them helping out people” said 35-year-old Veronica Garcia, who is staying at the Haven for Hope with her three children. “I do appreciate people like that because there are not a lot of people like that to help out others like us. You can call us street people. But we’re trying to better ourselves. We’re just like everybody else.”
 
Communicating with all kinds of people is a skill these future pharmacists will need when they’re behind the counter, or wherever they end up.
 
“To be able to help them and see that they appreciate it has been very rewarding,” commented pharmacy student Michelle Huizar.
 
There’s a plan in the works to create a central dispensary for medication at Haven for Hope. But the pharmacy school will probably need another partner before they can take that step.

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