University News

WNE-Duggan-BBBS Community Health Leadership Program Creates Lasting Impact with Enriching Day at WNE College of Pharmacy

Published: January 02, 2024 | Categories: All News, Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Duggan Academy students visit the WNE College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Western New England University (WNE) proudly hosted 17 enthusiastic 7th-grade students from the John J. Duggan Academy on Monday, December 4, for a full-day immersion at the College of Pharmacy. This visit marked the culmination of the WNE-Duggan-BBBS Community Health Leadership Program: Golden Bears and Duggan, a semester-long course designed to provide early career exposure and mentorship in the field of Pharmacy and other healthcare careers.

Led by Marissa Ostroff, WNE Clinical Associate Professor of Ambulatory Care, and Arin Whitman-Jemison, WNE Clinical Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, the program incorporated in-person and distance PharmD mentors as part of the Pharmacists as Community Educators elective course. The overarching mission was to provide Duggan Middle School students with insights into the diverse opportunities within the healthcare sector.

The program included two Intensives held at the John J. Duggan Academy, offering a total of 20 hours of exposure to the field of Pharmacy and other health-related disciplines. These 5-week programs, held during the school day, provided real-world authentic instruction, experiential learning, and valuable networking opportunities.

On December 4th, Duggan's 7th-grade students participated in a full-day agenda at the WNE College of Pharmacy. The day kicked off with a warm welcome and snack, followed by the students breaking into four groups for immersive experiences.

Two groups delved into the Pharmacy Lab, donning masks, hats, scrubs, and exploring handwashing protocols, sterile environments, and the intricacies of handling toxins. The other two groups engaged in various activities, including an EMT course led by Ronald Raschilla, a seasoned professional with 30 years of experience, and encountering "Stan the Man," a realistic mannequin that can be programmed to simulate various medical situations. The session covered critical topics such as drug overdoses, and reading prescriptions. Duggan students also participated in a hands-on sanitizer activity, learned how to mix medications, and played a pill counting game with Smarties.

Marissa Ostroff expressed her enthusiasm, stating, "This was a great experience for both our elective students and the 7th graders. We enjoyed introducing the students to different career options in healthcare and pharmacy. We are hopeful to continue this partnership and to offer future enrichments with Duggan Academy."

Director of Partnerships at Duggan Academy, Mary Kay Brown, shared, "The experience at Western New England University's College of Pharmacy was nothing short of transformative for our 7th-grade students. The enthusiasm and joy radiating from our students are palpable; they can't stop talking about how much fun they had and are already asking, 'Are we coming back?' This collaborative initiative not only opened their eyes to the vast possibilities within healthcare and pharmacy but also ignited a spark of curiosity and excitement. We are immensely grateful for the warm welcome and engaging activities provided by the dedicated WNE pharmacy students and professors. The prospect of future enriching experiences is something our students eagerly look forward to. The partnership between Duggan Academy and Western New England University continues to be a beacon of inspiration for our young learners."

As discussions about future events unfold, the program organizers are exploring opportunities to secure funding and support for ongoing enrichment. The sentiment shared among the students and educators is unanimous – they would all like to do this again.