Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Pharmacy student Becca McCaughey at the Iowa State Fair.

Students involved with the American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) were at the Iowa State Fair on opening day, August 9, talking with fair-goers about drug safety.

Becca McCaughey, PharmD student and president-elect of the college’s APhA-ASP chapter, organized the event this year with the help of Kelsey Coffman, Raemi Chavez, and Alyssa Riniker.  The university hosts a booth at the fair for the entire twelve days, and different colleges and programs are highlighted each day.

Each year, pharmacy students choose a theme or topic for the fair. Katy’s Kids, a program that visits schools and attends community events to talk with children about medication safety, and GenerationRx, an initiative that organizes drug take-back events, are two of APhA-ASP’s strongest initiatives. It made sense to highlight these programs under a larger drug safety event at the fair. The group partnered with the Iowa Poison Control Center.

A boy learns about drug safety at the Iowa State Fair.

Katy’s Kids uses interactive games and conversations, including someone dressed as a kangaroo, to engage children in age-appropriate discussions about drug safety. At the fair, they played a game to help kids identify the difference between medicine and candy and instruct them on what to do if they find medicine.

A highlight for McCaughey was talking with a grandfather about how to keep his granddaughter safe. The granddaughter has a severe food allergy, and McCaughey was able to teach him how to use an EpiPen correctly and gave him the contact information for the Iowa Poison Control Center.

The group saw a steady stream of people all day, and pharmacy students talked with hundreds of fair visitors. The College of Pharmacy has had a table at the state fair for over ten years, allowing students to show visitors a side of pharmacy they may not often see and giving fair-goers an opportunity to interact with pharmacists and student pharmacists, asking questions in a relaxed environment.