WCU PharmD Students Help Los Angeles ‘Vote and Vax’

Thanks to the efforts of West Coast University’s School of Pharmacy, Hollywood residents could elect to get a flu shot while casting their ballot on Election Day 2016.

More than 20 WCU PharmD students, in partnership with Walgreens and the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles, helped provide free immunizations to community members on Nov. 8. Students organized the event with Vote & Vax, a national community health organization project, and planned the event for more than a year.

WCU pharmacy assistant professor Ettie Rosenberg said news about the no-cost event had begun to spread in the community and many people who walked by earlier in the day, returned later with company. At one point Rep. Adam Schiff, (D-CA 28th District) stopped by the clinic to get his flu shot after voting nearby.

“Some have brought back their family members, mother-in-laws, cousins, in the neighborhood. We’ve had some great patients speaking other languages,” Rosenberg said. “Some of our students speak Spanish, Korean and other languages so it’s been very educational for them as well.”

Third-year PharmD student Afsaneh Lari said she and her classmates regularly participate in immunization outreach events.

“Knowing that we can do more than just the dispensing role, that’s really exciting,” Lari said. “I’m really glad to be graduating and having the title of a provider. That’s really epic and important for us.”

WCU PharmD students undergo immunization training and certification early on, Lari said, and are very comfortable giving vaccinations to patients. But actually organizing the community outreach events, she said, helps develop new skills that cannot be taught in a classroom or clinic.

“We’re actually practicing our mission statement,” she said, “that is, to practice our leadership abilities by organizing and leading these kind of events, by practicing our professionalism and communication skills. Being involved in all of these steps just makes you a better leader and I think prepares you to be future pharmacist. You’re seeing it here today in practice.”

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