By RUSSELL B. MELCHERT | Dean of UMKC School of Pharmacy
Over the past 4 years, the UMKC students’ efforts have twice been recognized with the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Student Community Engaged Service Award as well as the Transformative Community Service Award and the Crystal Apple Award. Our student pharmacists’ enthusiasm for getting out in the community and helping to deliver care for the underserved is truly remarkable and contagious! Well, we have more great news to share!
First, if you have plugged into the MPA Pharmacy Flash, you heard already that our students and faculty were just awarded the National Consumers League, National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation, and AACP first ever Script Your Future Medication Adherence Challenge for student pharmacists. There were 81 participating colleges and schools of pharmacy that set out to meet the goal of educating student pharmacists to actively engage their patients in medication adherence. Only five schools brought home the gold, so we are extremely proud of our students and faculty for this outstanding accomplishment.
Second, UMKC will be recognized at the APhA meeting in New Orleans this year as Immunization Champions! Our students and faculty collaborated with a large number of local partners to improve immunization rates in Missouri. Through the annual Wellness Fair, Healthy for Life, and other outreach events, interprofessional relationships have been expanded. In addition, partnerships have been developed, community health has benefitted, and students’ patient-centered communication and immunization delivery skills have been developed and utilized.
The impact of our students’ efforts is felt state-wide as well. Through the preparation and training programs of the School, our faculty and students were qualified and able to assist in vaccination relief efforts following the aftermath of the Joplin tornado in late May. I think the name is very fitting as our students have truly become immunization champions!
All of these student awards not only have brought significant recognition and prestige to the UMKC School of Pharmacy, but more importantly, the activities that produced these awards have prepared our students for the future of health care and the profession of pharmacy!
According to the Report to the U.S. Surgeon General from the Office of the Chief Pharmacists  that was acknowledged and commended by Dr. Regina Benjamin, pharmacists are prepared to not only promote health and wellness, but also deliver and sustain value-added patient care services. Pharmacists are increasingly being relied upon to improve health care delivery systems, improve health outcomes, increase access, and decrease health care costs. Our student pharmacists are demonstrating these skills through their efforts in the community. These are exciting times for our profession!
Once again, I extend an invitation to you all to come visit us any time. Just send me an e-mail and let me know when you are coming. We enjoy showing people around the school in Kansas City and in Columbia!
Have a great spring and summer!