Person's hand scrolling through news article on tablet Image


Erie, Commonwealth Join LECOM In Honoring Pharmacists

The city of Erie and area legislators have united with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) and LECOM Health in recognizing the impact pharmacists have upon Americans and the nation’s communities.

The American Pharmacists Association annually recognizes October as American Pharmacists Month, a time to acknowledge pharmacists’ contributions to health care and to their communities.  This year’s theme, “Easy to Reach, Ready to Help,” emphasizes that 91 percent of Americans live within 5 miles of a community pharmacy while also acknowledging the major role pharmacists play as part of a patient’s health care team.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 314,000 pharmacists – including over 2,600 LECOM School of Pharmacy alumni – are currently serving patients across the country. These Doctors of Pharmacy provide a wide range of services, including optimizing a patient’s medication plan, administering vaccinations, recommending proper over-the-counter medications and supplements, offering tips on smoking cessation resources and much more.

To recognize pharmacists’ contributions and value to area residents, Erie Mayor Joseph Schember issued an official proclamation today declaring October as American Pharmacists Month in Erie. Schember sited pharmacists’ focus and level of expertise on medication therapy that exceeds that of other health care providers as well as pharmacists’ ability to work collaboratively with other health care providers and patients to improve medication use and outcomes.

Additionally, Erie-area state Reps. Patrick Harkins, Robert Merski, Ryan Bizzarro and Curtis Sonney will be sponsoring a Commonwealth-wide resolution recognizing American Pharmacists Month across Pennsylvania. The bipartisan proposal will be presented before the Pennsylvania House for a vote later this month.

“Doctors of Pharmacy are the nation’s most accessible health care professionals, and each day they are working with patients and their families on the front lines of health care,” said LECOM Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the LECOM School of Pharmacy Hershey Bell, M.D. “From giving immunizations and monitoring clinical outcomes of chronic disease to ensuring that patients take their medications correctly, Doctors of Pharmacy are making a difference in the lives of almost every patient in America.

“Physicians, nurses, physician assistants and other allied health care professionals rely on the expertise of Doctors of Pharmacy daily,” Bell added. “As medication experts, Doctors of Pharmacy probably have a greater impact on the overall quality of health care in this nation than any other health care professional.”

LECOM opened its School of Pharmacy in 2002, believing new trends in the Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum complemented the goals of total-person, patient-centered care already being taught in its College of Osteopathic Medicine. The school expanded its pharmacy program to its Bradenton, Florida, campus in 2007 and launched an online Doctor of Pharmacy Distance Education Pathway in 2014.

The LECOM School of Pharmacy prepares future pharmacists to be strong patient advocates and leaders in their communities, in their professional associations and in their research activities by using an integration of the sciences, critical thinking skills and effective communication. Students also have the opportunity to dig deeper into their field through the LECOM School of Pharmacy Center for Drug Information and Research.

In addition to completing rotations at local pharmacies, LECOM pharmacy students actively participate in community outreach, educational and wellness activities, including health fairs, flu clinics, safety programs and school visits.

Within Erie County, LECOM Health operates five pharmacies – Colonial Family Pharmacy, LECOM Health Outpatient Pharmacy and Millcreek Manor Pharmacy as well as in-patient pharmacies at Millcreek Community Hospital and Corry Memorial Hospital – which employ more than 50 individuals, including 20 pharmacists.