School of Pharmacy Holds Annual Service Day
The St. John Fisher College Wegmans School of Pharmacy held its annual service day on Tuesday, April 17, which kicked off with a health fair focused on educating local youth about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Representatives from Senator Charles Schumer’s office were at the event, supporting the Senator’s ongoing campaign about drug education among youths.
Over 100 students from the School of Imaging and Information Technology at Edison, the Young Mother’s Program at Edison, East High School, and School Without Walls attended the fair. Dr. Jennifer Mathews, Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences in the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, presented, “Teens and Rx Drug Abuse,” focused on prescription drug abuse and the dangers that come along with it.
“Prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic among our teens,” said Mathews. “The pharmacy students are in a unique position to help in this type of outreach because they are seen as more approachable when working with high school students, but also have a significant knowledge base when it comes to prescription medications based on their training at Fisher.”
Following Mathews’ talk, students attended poster sessions hosted by current pharmacy students. The sessions covered both illicit and prescription drug abuse topics. Representatives from the Rochester Police Department, Huther-Doyle Addiction Services, Strong Recovery Addiction Psychiatry Program, and DePaul’s National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence were on hand with additional educational information.
“Educating today’s youth about substance abuse and the dangers of misusing prescription drugs is an initiative that the Wegmans School of Pharmacy fully supports. Our faculty spends a lot of time working with current students on this topic through specific coursework, as we know this issue will not go away and, in fact, may only grow as young people find more ways to access these drugs,” said Dr. Scott Swigart, Dean, Wegmans School of Pharmacy.
After the health fair, over 200 pharmacy students dispersed throughout the Rochester community to perform a multitude of tasks from painting to cleaning to stocking food shelves. Some of the locations where they volunteered included the Ronald McDonald House, Second Thought Consignment, CP Rochester, Sisters of St. Joseph, FoodLink, The Friendly Home, EquiCenter, Seneca Park Zoo, and Gilda’s Club, among others.
Student Elizabeth Fey volunteered at Saint’s Place at St. John’s Parish in Fairport. The group helped two refugee families from Bhutan find clothes, shoes, coats, toys, and household necessities for their family. In addition, they helped the staff to organize donations that they keep on hand for the families.
“It was a humbling experience to see how little this family had and how grateful they were for our help,” said Fey. “It felt good to know we were helping those less fortunate than ourselves. Even though we are all extremely busy with school, it was important for us to give something back to the community, to gain perspective and understanding about the world around us.”