(July 11, 2019)
Every summer since 1997, the UA College of Pharmacy has hosted PharmCamp, a weeklong outreach program aimed at introducing middle-school students to the pharmacy profession. Full of hands-on learning opportunities, PharmCamp is held in six different locations across Arizona: Tucson, Phoenix, Sierra Vista, Casa Grande, Nogales and Yuma.
Over the years, more than 900 students have participated in PharmCamp, some of whom went on to become pharmacists, nurses, doctors or allied health professionals. The program began in Tucson, but over the last decade, it expanded to reach rural communities. In coordination with school districts and the UA’s Office of Early Academic Outreach, students are chosen from an extensive applicant pool. PharmCamp is free to participants, thanks to sponsors like Walgreens and the R. Ken Coit Endowment.
This year, students had the opportunity to visit a local pharmacy and perform several laboratory activities. Learning from various health science professionals, their projects included making lip balm, hand sanitizer, and anti-itch cream. They learned about concepts like the scientific method, safe use and disposal of medications, and poison prevention.
By providing experiential learning opportunities, the goal of PharmCamp is to engage students early in their academic careers. According to organizer Theodore Tong, PharmD, “PharmCamp helps to raise students’ awareness and interest for the exciting aspects of careers in pharmacy and the health sciences.”