LECOM pharmacy students help community groups

Pharmacy students from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy have been out in the community spreading holiday cheer and sharing their health knowledge with others. On Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010, second year students from the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) and the Mentoring Club visited the Impact Afterschool Program at the Urban Erie Quality of Life Learning Center on East 19th Street.

LECOM pharmacy student Katheryne Hassman explains the food pyramid to children at the Urban Erie Quality of Life Learning Center on East 19th Street.


LECOM pharmacy students worked with 18 elementary school-aged children from the neighborhood, teaching them about the importance of immunizations that will keep them healthy. Students explained how vaccines help the body fight off diseases.

The children also learned about the importance of eating right. The future pharmacists brought in a large food pyramid poster and laminated pictures of food for the lesson. Each child picked a food cut-out and then tried to place the food in the proper region of the food pyramid. The children had fun taking part in the interactive educational exercise.

SNPhA President Denise Traficante said working with the children is a rewarding experience. “It gives us a sense of accomplishment that we cannot get in the classroom,” Traficante said. “The children are always very happy to see us there and eagerly participate in the programs we present.”

Following the afterschool presentation, the LECOM SNPhA leaders made a timely and practical donation to the Learning Center. LECOM students collected hats, gloves, scarves, socks and fleece sweatshirts in December and presented their donation to Glenn Duck, Job Developer for the Urban Erie Community Development Corporation. Many of the children do not have proper warm weather gear, so these items will surely help keep them warm.

Second-year pharmacy students from LECOM’s Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) donated hats, gloves, scarves, socks and fleece sweatshirts to the Urban Erie Quality of Life Learning Center. Pictured in photo (L-R): Harrison Sarpong, Arthur Malahimov, Abdul Issa, Riley Williams II, Katheryne Hassman, Glenn Duck, Urban Erie Community Development Corporation, Denise Traficante.

In planning the fundraiser, Traficante said she talked to representatives from the center about things the children often go without because of their families’ financial difficulties. “We decided it would be a great way of showing the children that our students care, providing them with things family members often have to share or go without,” Traficante said. “It’s a huge boost to the children’s self-esteem, being able to keep warm in the winter elements.”

LECOM students continued their giving the following Friday. They presented a $154 check to Community Health Net (CHN) C.E.O. John Schultz for the organization’s Ryan White Program, which helps fund health care services for HIV/AIDS patients.

Second-year pharmacy students Traficante and Abdul Issa, SNPhA treasurer, made the donation to Shultz on behalf of the efforts of SNPhA and the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) club. Both organizations raised the funds during a red ribbon sale that commemorated World AIDS Day earlier this month.

“SNPhA has organization initiatives on the national level, which includes AIDS/HIV Awareness/Education,” said Traficante. “During a planning meeting held by Dr. Richard Ortoski for World AIDS Awareness Day, SOMA and SNPhA agreed to sell the red ribbons.”

Currently, the Community Health Net Ryan White Program serves 116 active Erie-area patients between the ages of 19 and 69 by helping individuals who are infected with HIV/AIDS access affordable vision and dental care, as well as medications.

Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) President Denise Traficante, P2, second from right, presents a check to Community Health Net (CHN) CEO John Schultz. The donation will benefit the Ryan White Program, which is designed to fund HIV/AIDS patients with treatment and services. SNPhA advisor Randall Heemer, Pharm.D., from left; Mary Fetzner, CHN nurse case manager of the Ryan White Program; and SNPhA Treasurer Abdul Issa, P2, where also in attendance at the check presentation event.

“Unfortunately the population continues to grow, so we also offer free testing, prevention counseling and risk assessments,” said Mary Fetzner, CHN nurse case manager of the Ryan White Program. She added the program assists HIV/AIDS patients who struggle to find a steady home, and also offers counseling to family members affected by a relative’s HIV/AIDS status.

With LECOM’s first donation to CHN’s Ryan White Program, Fetzner said the organization was excited to receive the funds. “This was extremely nice. We don’t get donations like this on a regular basis,” said Fetzner. “Thank you so much — it was wonderful.”

The Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) is an education and public service association of pharmacy students and high school affiliate members, concerned about pharmacy, health care issues and the need for greater minority representation in pharmacy and other health professions. The LECOM School of Pharmacy Chapter is dedicated to extending the realm of pharmacy practice into the community of Erie.

The Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) is the largest osteopathic medical student organization in the world, with more than 6,000 members, and serves as the student branch of the AOA. At LECOM, members can benefit from education/lecture series presentations, social opportunities and national representation.


The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and LECOM School of Pharmacy offer innovative and affordable education in osteopathic medicine and pharmacy. From campuses in Erie, Pennsylvania, Greensburg, Pennsylvania and Bradenton, Florida, LECOM provides student-centered pathways to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals. Prepare yourself for medicine as your life’s profession.

December 20, 2010
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