Auburn, Ala. (EETV) - Auburn's stories of future pharmacists bring hope to the world of future healthcare professionals.

Meet Sydney Meadows: a New Site, Alabama resident who is currently attending Auburn University's Harrison School of Pharmacy (HSOP). Meadows, among others in her cohort, can find a variety of opportunities for her in this current health-focused climate.

"Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, public awareness of the role of pharmacists has expanded," said Kimberly Braxton Lloyd, HSOP Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs and Outreach. "People relied on pharmacists and pharmacies for their continuity of care for everything from vaccines to telehealth services and more. It really emphasized how accessible the pharmacy profession is.”

The role of people like Sydney Meadows during COVID-19 include everything from vaccine administration to research. Richard Hanse, HSOP Dean, says, "Community pharmacies are the bedrock of our industry."

To better prepare pharmacy students for the real world, Auburn promotes the importance of teamwork and understanding the need of professionals in every area.

"I think it’s just as important to learn the roles of other health care team members like doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and social workers as it is to learn about those of pharmacists,” Meadows said. 

Along with teamwork, the hands-on experience that outreach programs can provide can give more perspective on health situations around the world.

Harley Moore from Decatur, Alabama, was awarded a prestigious Albert Schweitzer Fellowship in 2020. Schweitzer Fellows develop and implement service projects that address the root causes of health disparities in under-resourced communities, while also fulfilling their academic responsibilities. Moore's outreach projects focused on food insecurity screening and K-12 online tutoring.

“Outreach lets you see the struggles of everyday people,” Moore said. “For example, maybe you are privileged enough not to experience food insecurity, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Outreach puts you in clinics and environments where you can experience situations beyond what you might in your normal life. This helps you not only become a better person, but also a better practitioner.”

So what is the future of pharmacy?

From pharmacogenomics to groundbreaking research and policy changes, today’s pharmacy environment represents new challenges for the HSOP faculty and staff in preparing future pharmacists. With the support of the Auburn Family, it’s a challenge they are more than ready to tackle.

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