Touro Students Run “Immunization,” Program In Harlem

Operation Immunization program in harlemTouro College of Pharmacy students recently participated in the school’s third annual “Operation Immunization,” a public health initiative organized by the approximately 70-member student chapter of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP).

Operating out of the Gaylord White Senior Center on E. 104th Street in East Harlem, the ten TCOP student volunteers screened the seniors about their health histories and assessed their current health to make sure there were no issues impairing their ability to receive live flu or other vaccines important to the elderly.

“Operation Immunization” was one of four activities hosted by the College in support of American Pharmacists Month and Flu Awareness Month. Other events included a flu clinic for the TCOP community; the screening of a documentary on the Spanish Flu Pandemic in the United States in 1918; and a guest lecture from flu vaccine developer, Dr. Doris Bucher of New York Medical College, an affiliate of the Touro College and University System.

Interim Dean Dr. Zvi Loewy said the students, who receive the highest level of training in all aspects of pharmacy including therapeutics, diagnostics and preventative medicine, have historically taken an active role in immunization programs in keeping with the College’s mission.

“We are very committed to contributing our expertise in preventative medicine within the Harlem community and are proud of the contributions our students make to this significant public health initiative.” 

Because student pharmacists are not permitted to administer shots until after they graduate, the vaccines were injected by a licensed pharmacist from Rite Aid while the students observed the procedures. Fifteen vaccinations were administered, including vaccines for pneumococcus.

“The students organized the event from beginning to end and secured the participation of Rite Aid as a community partner,”

explained Dr. Dipan Ray, director of practice experience at TCOP and the students’ faculty advisor.

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Event organizer Christine Nguyen, a third year student and president of the APhA-ASP chapter at TCOP, said she and her fellow students learned a great deal about patient interaction, meeting the needs of seniors and community service.

“It’s vitality important for seniors to receive vaccinations because adults over 65 years of age are more susceptible to the flu and also prone to other preventable diseases as well,”

Ms. Nguyen said.

“As student pharmacists, it was our goal to administer as many immunizations as possible in order to do our part in protecting our senior population.”

TCOP is committed to offering increased educational opportunities through programs in pharmacy education, research and scholarship, and through service to the community and the profession. The school’s unique “2+2” educational model provides two years of didactic instruction followed by two years of full-time experiential education.

The College has established significant practice experience affiliations for students including with retail pharmacies, hospitals, community-based organizations, public agencies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and health insurance organizations. Additionally, the school and its students have won significant awards and recognition, including from the U.S. Public Health Service, the New York State Council of Health-System Pharmacists, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and The New York City Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

For further information on Touro College, please go to: http://www.touro.edu/news/

Photo credit: Touro College of Pharmacy students participating in Operation Immunization, left to right: Rachel Jakobov; Tinnie Liao-Ng Yan; Christine Nguyen, TCOP’s chapter president of American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP); and Angela Pantanawong, chapter vice-president. 


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