The UA College of Pharmacy has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Lawrence C. Weaver Transformative Community Service Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). Presented annually to a single college or school of pharmacy, the award serves to recognize programs that demonstrate a major institutional commitment to addressing unmet community needs through education, practice and research.
“I am extremely proud of the faculty, students and staff of the UA College of Pharmacy,” says Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, UA senior vice president for health sciences. “Their passionate dedication to community service and public engagement is a cornerstone of the college’s mission. The Weaver Award is a major accomplishment that recognizes the high quality of our community service programs and the positive impact on the lives of people in our community,” Garcia adds.
The Weaver Award highlights community service as an important element of the academic mission. It singles out institutions that serve as examples of social responsiveness on the part of the academic health professions community. The award consists of a commemorative sculpture honoring the institution’s extraordinary social commitment and a $5,000 honorarium provided to the recognized institution to distribute to community partners to support continuation or expansion of their collaboration.
Elizabeth Hall-Lipsy, assistant professor in the COP Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science and program manager for health disparities initiatives and community outreach, wrote the college’s application for the award.
“We were selected as a finalist and hosted a three member site visit team November 30,” she says. “That site visit team went on a visit to St. Luke’s Home, participated in a mini student health fair, visited the poison center (and got up close with some snakes and spiders) and met numerous community and academic partners who described the COP’s programs and their impact on our students, our college, and our community. It is tremendous to be recognized for the depth and breadth of our community outreach activities and the way these activities work to the mutual benefit of our students, faculty and community.”
Two of the college’s longstanding pipeline programs, PharmCamp and the KEYS internship, provide outstanding examples of initiatives that can be sustained and replicated to serve rural and underserved communities. Other highlights include student outreach and service activities, interprofessional collaborations such as the St. Luke’s Home Project, the Rural Health Professions Program and the Medication Management Center. All these programs blend education and outreach to improve the health and well-being of all Arizonans.
An example of the kind of community outreach that the Weaver Award recognizes is the annual El Rio Health Fair, at which pharmacy students and faculty volunteer. This year, the El Rio Health Fair provided more than 220 free screenings for members of the community. Approximately 500 people turned out for the February event, which was jointly sponsored by the college and Tucson Parks and Recreation and staffed by students in pharmacy and prepharmacy.
Dean John Murphy wrote in a thank-you letter after the site visit but before the announcement of the final award recipient, “We are honored to have been selected as a finalist for the Lawrence C. Weaver Transformative Community Service Award, and this recognition has given us a chance to reflect on our successes, but has also reminded us to never stop improving and innovating.”
“The community engagement programs we recognize this year demonstrate the broad and deep connections between our members and vulnerable communities,” said AACP Executive Vice President and CEO Lucinda L. Maine, Ph.D., R.Ph. “This is consistent with our vision that we will jointly work to create a world of healthy people. The focus on serving vulnerable populations and creating a diverse pipeline of future learners is remarkable.”
Caption for photos: UA College of Pharmacy students volunteer at community outreach events in 2015.
Second photo by Margaret Hartshorn