November 5, 2018
By Whitney Tarpy
JACKSON, Miss. – Good health is no joke, but University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy students planned fun activities for children in the Jackson area last month to teach them about the importance of health safety.
Student pharmacist organization PediaRebs, which focuses on pediatric pharmacy education and service, sent volunteers to two community events in Jackson, BAPS Charities Children’s Health and Safety Day as well as Mississippi Science Fest hosted by the Mississippi Children’s Museum. At both events, student pharmacists taught children and their parents about medication and health safety.
“Events like these let us educate local youth, parents and caregivers about the importance of health-related subjects, particularly vaccinations, safe medication practices and how to correctly find information on an over-the-counter medication label,” said Hayley Davis, third-year student pharmacist from Santa Maria, California. “It also gives us an opportunity to inspire young children to one day work in a health care setting, especially as a pharmacist.”
PediaRebs members, along with other student volunteers, set up numerous hands-on stations for the kids. Activities included learning the parts of a prescription label, giving a pretend vaccine to a teddy bear, compounding with a mortar and pestle and separating beads on a counting tray.
Davis and fourth-year student pharmacist Karmen McMinn from Ridgeland, Mississippi, each said their favorite activity was “Medication vs. Candy,” where participants tried to determine which of two different pictures was medicine and which was candy.
“The game made it easy to talk about medication safety, especially when they guessed incorrectly,” McMinn said. “We could then have a conversation about the importance of asking before you eat something.
“Games like this also make children feel included when you can direct your attention to them and make sure they understand what you are saying, instead of only addressing their parents.”
The kids weren’t the only ones learning new things at these events. Amanda Capino, PediaRebs co-advisor and clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice on the school’s Jackson campus, pointed out the positive benefits the students received as well.
“These events are great opportunities for student pharmacists to be involved in community outreach that teaches children about important health, safety and science concepts,” Capino said. “Student pharmacists are then able to gain more experience communicating with children and teaching them about the different roles of a pharmacist.”
Members of PediaRebs also participated in a “Reverse-Trick-or-Treating” event at Batson Children’s Hospital in October, dressing up in costumes and passing out toys to hospital patients. Other plans for the year include cooking dinner at the Ronald McDonald House in Jackson in November.