In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 – October 15, the College of Pharmacy is proud to salute our student chapter of the National Hispanic Pharmacists Association (NHPA).
NHPA has as its mission to highlight pharmacists presence in Hispanic communities by improving cultural competence in the pharmacy arena to foster better health outcomes for Hispanic patients. UGA’s CoP NHPA chapter members are passionate about bringing pharmacists closer to the Hispanic community and bridging the gap between cultures to better serve minority communities.
Last year was the inaugural year of NHPA at UGA. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was extremely difficult for members to be physically involved in the community. As part of an effort to serve in a safe way, students translated COVID and vaccine information into Spanish and compiled information sheets to hand out to local Spanish-speaking communities.
More recently, students regularly visit a local community grocery store, Los Compadres, and provide customers with blood pressure screenings. They also distribute information sheets, addressing a wide variety of topics, at community pharmacies. “As a diverse group of students who are all focused on serving the Hispanic community, we want to support these minority communities in any way we can,” said Nohemi Martinez, NPHA UGA Chapter President. “We want to establish relationships and create a comfortable environment so everyone can have access to basic healthcare.”
The Farm Workers Family Health Program allowed NHPA members the opportunity to expand their services on a state-wide basis this summer. For two weeks, members volunteered with students from other healthcare professions – nursing, psychology, dental, physical therapy, and more – to provide basic care to minority families and farm workers in South Georgia.
In addition, these students visited K12 schools to complete wellness checks on children. Some of the health screenings they provided included hearing, vision, and dental; in addition, they updated immunizations. When parents picked up their children in the afternoon, they participated in wellness checks and had prescriptions filled. Many of these children are in school during the summer, because their parents are farm workers or from minority communities who don’t have access to basic child and healthcare.
“During this experience, I had the opportunity to shadow a physical therapy student who was working with a patient who was injured on the job,” explained Dayana Pimentel-Dominguez, UGA Doctorate of Pharmacy Candidate 2024 and NHPA President-Elect. “While she was stretching out the patient’s legs, she found unusual inflammation. At that point, I recommended a simple over–the–counter pain medication. Being able to provide a simple solution to something that drastically affected that man’s life is one of the reasons why I wanted to become a pharmacist.” NHPA plans to continue to participate in the Farm Workers Family Health Program every summer in the future.
On October 22, 2021, NHPA will host the inaugural Liver Life Walk Coast to Coast to raise awareness to the millions of Americans affected by liver disease. The walk will start and end at Pharmacy South and wind through our beautiful UGA campus. Everyone is invited to walk.
For more information on the CoP’s NHPA chapter or to get involved, contact Dr. William Huang, NHPA faculty advisor, or Martinez or Pimentel-Dominguez.