Special Populations is commonly composed of raising awareness of geriatric and pediatric patient populations
According to the Administration on Aging, senior citizens represented 13% of the American population in the year 2000. It is estimated that by 2030, seniors will represent 19% of the US population.
Geriatric Awareness is a local care project whose goal is to reach out to the elderly community to make a positive impact on their well-being. Some projects include organizing health fairs and performing heath screenings at local senior centers. This semester our main projects include the Senior Health Fair and volunteering at Al’z Place to interact and help care for Alzheimer’s patients. As future health professionals, it is important for us to understand this population in order to provide the highest standards of care to encourage a longer, better quality of life.
Pediatric Awareness is a local patient care project that focuses on serving our pediatric population. Our mission statement can be summed up by the acronym “PEDS”: providing hope to children that are ill, educating children on a healthy lifestyle, developing relationships with the children of our community, and seeking to touch the lives of children around the world. We have several ongoing projects that take place throughout the year.
The Shands Inpatient Committee of Pediatric Awareness focuses on providing hope to ill children in our community. Our project works with Child Life at UF Shands Hospital here in Gainesville. We plan monthly activities where we visit the children on the pediatric floor and play games, make crafts, and just hang out with the kids. The children appreciate our efforts and our volunteers really enjoy the experience as well! This is a great opportunity to take a break from lectures and spend some time with kids who could use a friend during their stay at the hospital!
The Education Committee reaches out to children in local schools and after-school programs to talk about nutrition. Using an interactive approach to involve students in our presentation, we discuss the importance of being healthy and knowing the food groups. We pass props around the class for children to visualize portion sizes and invite volunteers to the front of the class to place various foods in the correct food group on an oversized plate. We also read a story about a child named Zoe, who needs help deciding what to eat throughout the day. The students follow along with a worksheet and circle the best choice for each meal. This is a very rewarding opportunity because you witness how fast the children learn, all while you are having fun! It is a great way to have a positive impact and empower children to make healthy decisions.
The Community Committee visits schools and after-school programs in an effort to teach children about the pharmacy profession. We share with the kids about who pharmacists are and what we do through a project called “Be a Pharmacist for a Day.” The students even have an opportunity to count “pills” and make their own “compound”. Who knows, we may even inspire them to be a pharmacist when they grow up!
Have a passion for kids? Have ideas about additional ways to be involved with the children in our community? We would love for you to be a part of Pediatric Awareness!
Special Population Chairs:
- Nina Desai
- Justine Bur