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The first graduating class from the School of Pharmacy, Duluth.
Laura Palomi presented puppet shows for preschool and school-aged children at childcare centers and educational events in Hibbing, Virginia and Hermantown. The puppets exposed young children to careers in healthcare. They also talked to children about healthy behaviors and explained how drugs aren't candy.
Duluth pharmacy students have gone beyond the classroom and made community awareness of health issues and research one of their top priorities.
Since the Duluth campus opened in 2003, students have volunteered at the Health of People Everywhere (HOPE) free clinic, provided disease screening at community health fairs, and offered many other services to the community. According to senior associate dean for the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy Duluth, Randall Seifert, Pharm.D., the students have excelled at outreach. "They have held nearly 100 events, and almost 2,400 patients have received more than 4,150 screening tests for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and osteoporosis, all free of charge." said Seifert.
The students also strive to increase public awareness in stroke prevention and in gastro-esophageal reflux disease, and have provided medication safety programs for elementary schools in the area. In the last four years alone, they have registered more than 2,000 potential bone marrow donors and one individual donor has been matched to a recipient.
In addition to community involvement, the college offers exceptional research and services, emphasizing rural health care issues and the provision of pharmaceutical care in rural and tribal communities. Five graduate programs and several post-doctoral fellowships are available to students. Cutting-edge research is performed by nationally and internationally recognized faculty with expertise in many areas including drug design, drug delivery, medication therapy management, healthcare policies and economics, neuroscience, cancer, cardiovascular, and more.
The record is impressive for a school just passing its 10-year mark. "The goal of the college's expansion to Duluth was to provide more pharmacists to serve Minnesotans, especially in rural areas," said Marilyn Speedie, Ph.D., dean of the College of Pharmacy. "We have, in fact, doubled the number of students taking positions in the Duluth area and Greater Minnesota." The state once had a shortage of pharmacists, which lead to the Duluth expansion. Partnerships with the University of Minnesota Duluth, the Duluth community, and the health systems and pharmacies in Duluth and throughout the state of Minnesota helped make the Duluth campus a reality.
The college, which is located in the Life Sciences Building on the UMD campus, has approximately 240 enrolled students. It is a four-year program, and is ranked third in the most recent U.S News and World Report's ranking of all U.S pharmacy programs.
Story by Ellie Neigebauer, October, 2013.
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