St. John’s University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has fully embraced and is strongly committed to addressing unmet community needs through education, practice, and research, especially to the underserved and indigent urban population. The College continues to take pride in and live out the University’s Catholic and Vincentian mission and values.
As one of the many initiatives offered by the Office of University Mission, Academic Service-Learning (AS-L) has been a staple throughout the University. Academic Service-Learning at St. John’s is a program that involves students engaging in some form of required community service that benefits the public good and uses service as a means of understanding course (i.e., didactic or experiential) concepts. The service activity meets course objectives, and through reflection, students examine issues pertaining to social justice and responsibility.
CPHS demonstrates a long-term commitment to AS-L. Of note, students completing their Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs) are provided with an AS-L opportunity. Twenty-six faculty offered an APPE with an AS-L component, giving more than half of the APPE students an opportunity to participate in AS-L during their experiential training and collectively completing ~27,000 AS-L hours in the 2017–18 academic year. CPHS faculty have also been active in AS-L research initiatives, and have received AS-L internal minigrants at the annual St. John’s Research Month Conference.
With the support of the University’s Office of International Education, AS-L initiatives have expanded with the introduction of global opportunities for student pharmacists on their APPEs. These faculty-directed, short-term programs were initially established in 2016 and have since grown to include multiple countries and sites.
We are currently offering an APPE with an AS-L component where students travel to Guatemala, Jamaica, and Taiwan for 10 to 15 days. Through established local partnerships, pharmacy students take part on a medical mission to provide logistical support to pharmacies abroad, establish pharmacy services within a medical mission, establish cancer screening clinics, and educate the population on preventative care measures with their pharmacy preceptor. Collectively over this past year, more than 2,500 members of the global community were served for a total of 480 volunteer person-hours.