A modest public service idea has grown into an important tool for improving health awareness for thousands of Texans. Project Collaborate began as a way for College of Pharmacy student organizations to combine their varied outreach efforts to populations with limited resources, lack of insurance, or language barriers. Students hone their clinical skills through such efforts while helping others.
Coordinated by pharmacy students along with counterparts in the Schools of Nursing and Social Work, the initiative provides free screenings and patient counseling in a variety of environments, as well as immunizations in some instances. It proved so successful in Austin that it was expanded to El Paso, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley, where the college has cooperative programs. Today all professional degree students participate in Project Collaborate.
Under the supervision of pharmacist preceptors, students screen for such things as glucose and cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and body fat. While most individuals see results within healthy norms, others are counseled on diet and lifestyle changes to help bring their readings closer to healthy ranges. Some are advised to seek follow-up care.
“The passion the College of Pharmacy has for this initiative is astounding and can explain the tremendous success the program has experienced,” said student leader Kristin Welsh. “Everything has been accomplished through the hard work and dedication of faculty, staff, students, and our partners in the community working together with the common goal of having a positive impact.”