Student pharmacists visit local elementary school to pass on training

May 9, 2013

Students from Keaukaha Elementary School in Hilo learned about what pharmacists do and were able to make their own scented lotions at a special visit from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP) on April 11.

Mimi Pezzuto, faculty member at DKICP, took several first-year student pharmacists to the school to talk about pharmacy, Hilo Drug Company’s historical pharmacy collection, and explain about pharmaceutical compounding.

“Not everyone responds to drugs the same way,” Pezzuto said. “With compounding, pharmacists can provide better patient care by customizing a prescription that addresses each individual situation.

“I know of pharmacists who also create compounds for veterinarians and their animal patients,” she added. “We try to prepare our students to be as versatile as possible when they graduate, so this is an important skill for them to learn.”

The 46 elementary students also learned the importance of what goes on a label. They designed and colored their own labels, then made scented lotions.

“This was a very good experience for all the students,” said Lynn Fujii, a teacher at Keaukaha Elementary. “They were engaged and had fun. It was important for them to see that science can have practical applications.”

Pezzuto takes her first-year students from laboratory to local schools at least once a semester. Student pharmacists have given demonstrations at several local schools, and student organizations participate in community events such as Ocean Day and Onizuka Day. The compounding booth is always popular with the crowds, she said.

“This is one way we try to give back to our community, but also a way we try to spark interest in science at a young age,” Pezzuto explained. “I am hoping that some of these budding chemists will be my future pharmacy students.”

See more news from 2013.