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Pharmacy group SHARING the benefits of recent award

Kristen Cook, Pharm.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice, and the UNMC SHARING Clinic's pharmacy student board members aim to put a recent award to good use at the clinic.

Dr. Cook and her students, including Kyle McCartney, Mary Manning Kechely, Brandon Bohn and Becky Schainost, won an American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Student Community Engaged Service Award. The honor comes with a $20,000 prize to further develop student community service projects.

Improved technology

The group plans to invest in technology to improve the learning experience for students and the patient experience for patients at the UNMC SHARING (Student Health Alliance Reaching Indigent Needy Groups) Clinic, said Dr. Cook, who was also the 2011 recipient of the College of Pharmacy Distinguished Teaching Award.

SHARING is a student run, interprofessional clinic for Omaha's underserved and uninsured populations. It operates Tuesday nights at the UNMC clinic at 50th and Leavenworth streets. The pharmacy students also are involved in once-a-month clinics for diabetes and STDs, respectively, at 50th and Ames.

Students and patients to benefit

The pharmacy group will invest in tablets or mobile devices, Dr. Cook said. Patients at the sharing clinic have lots of waiting time. While they wait they can use interactive modules to learn more about meds and disease states - hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol and depression, for example.

The students would use the devices, too.

"For the student side we want to develop some modules to educate them about the underserved population in Omaha, sort of an introduction on the type of patients they're going to be seeing and the challenges that go along with that," Dr. Cook said.

Building empathy

Pharmacists better serve their patients if there is a level of understanding and empathy, Dr. Cook said.

"I get the most enjoyment in teaching when I see students at a place like the SHARING clinic incorporating the knowledge I have given them in the classroom into a real-life situation to make a difference and build their confidence," she said.

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