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Students tout pharmacy profession at the Capitol

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A record-breaking number of students attend Pharmacist Day at the Capitol.


tudents at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy recently visited the Mississippi State Capitol to raise awareness of their chosen profession.

"Pharmacist Day at the Capitol is a chance to meet with legislators and speak about pharmacy, serve the community through health screenings and to see our beautiful Capitol building," said Katie McClendon, the pharmacy school's interim assistant dean of student services. "It's also an opportunity to bring together several pharmacy organizations, as well as a chance to catch up with pharmacists from around the state."

At the Jan. 30 event, faculty and students provided blood pressure and glucose screenings, body fat analysis, and flu shots to legislators and guests on the first floor of the Capitol building. Covenant Pharmacy in Ridgeland donated the influenza vaccines.

More than 60 students participated, a record for the event.

"I think we had great attendance with more interest from students than ever before," McClendon said. "We also had students from all four years of the program participate, which was the first time that's happened."

In addition to the School of Pharmacy, the Mississippi Pharmacists Association, Mississippi Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Mississippi Independent Pharmacies Association and the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy set up informational booths. Courtney Peacock, a fourth-year professional student from Madison, said participation in Capitol Day helped her learn about the "hard work that many of our state pharmacy organizations put into our relationships with legislators and senators."

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Student Jennifer Hockings (right) monitors blood pressure at Pharmacist Day at the Capitol.

Cody Clifton, a second-year professional student from Walnut, worked with faculty to organize the attendance of 30 students from the school's Oxford campus.

"Capitol Day is a way that we, as student pharmacists, can actively express our concern for the future of our profession," Clifton said. "I believe it is very important to become an advocate early on in one's career. As students, we may not realize it, but just making our presence known on Capitol Day is a great way to advocate for pharmacy."

Emily Higdon, a fourth-year professional student from Madison, worked at the table that offered health screenings. She said she appreciated the opportunity to discuss participants' goals related to blood pressure, blood-sugar levels and body-mass index.

"If pharmacists and the state work together, we can continue to promote pharmacy progress in Mississippi, ultimately allowing for better patient care," Higdon said.

McClendon said the event was special in a number of ways.

"Not only did we have the opportunity to talk with legislators and others in the Capitol, we also were able to reach out to people touring the Capitol," she said. "It's also a wonderful occasion to see so many pharmacy organizations working together for a common cause. We were recognized in the House, which was also an exciting moment."


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