The city of Erie and local legislators have united with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) and LECOM Health in recognizing the impact pharmacists have upon Americans.
Each year, the American Pharmacists Association recognizes October as American Pharmacists Month, a time to acknowledge the contributions these Doctors of Pharmacy make to health care and to their communities. Pharmacists 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. Pharmacists can also now dispense immunizations to children ages 3 and older, thanks to recent policy changes by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 300,000 pharmacists – including over 3,000 LECOM School of Pharmacy alumni – are currently serving patients across the country. An estimated 91% of Americans live within 5 miles of a community pharmacy, making pharmacists among the nation’s most accessible health care professionals.
To recognize pharmacists’ contributions and value to area residents, Erie Mayor Joseph Schember issued an official proclamation today acknowledging the significant impact pharmacists have on the Erie community. Additionally, Erie-area state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Robert Merski and Curtis Sonney co-sponsored a Commonwealth-wide resolution recognizing October as Pennsylvania Pharmacists and Pharmacy Month. The bipartisan resolution thanks the state’s more than 24,000 pharmacists “for the work they do [to] promote medicinal education to the public, especially in a time when health care and prescription drug abuse are major issues facing the Commonwealth and the nation.”
“During these difficult times, pharmacists have been designated along with other health care providers as being front line workers in the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic,” said LECOM School of Pharmacy Dean Rachel Ogden, Pharm.D. “As dean of the LECOM School of Pharmacy, I am proud to see faculty and students at each of LECOM’s campuses and across LECOM’s many academic programs serve in ways that can keep our communities safe.”
LECOM opened its School of Pharmacy in 2002, believing new trends in the Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum complemented the goals of whole-person, patient-centered care already being taught through its College of Osteopathic Medicine program. 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, at the time only the second such program in the U.S.
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, Millcreek Manor Pharmacy and in-patient pharmacies at Millcreek Community Hospital and Corry Memorial Hospital.