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Academic Fellow El-Desoky Awarded PALM Grant to Implement Active-Learning Activities in Over-the-Counter Products Course of Pharm.D. Curriculum

March 10 — UH College of Pharmacy Academic Pharmacy Fellow Rania El-Desoky, Pharm.D., BCPS, has been awarded a $2,000 Promoting Active Learning and Mentoring (PALM) Network grant to implement active-learning activities into a course within the Pharm.D. degree program curriculum. 

The PALM program is funded by a National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network in Undergraduate Biology Education grant, with project support from Professional Societies Alliance for Life Science Education.

As opposed to traditional lecture-based instruction of passive learning, the active-learning model emphasizes hands-on activities, such as discussions and problem-solving exercises, that encourage student interaction, creativity and critical thinking to make the subject matter more relevant, personal and, ideally, meaningful and memorable. With its roots dating back to the early 20th century, the active-learning approach became more formalized in the 1970s-1980s and gaining popularity over the ensuing decades (although not without its detractors).

el-desoky photoActive learning has been especially applicable in the health sciences, partly due to the required proficiency in patient care-focused skills and techniques through such experiences as practice labs as well as case studies that require comprehensive knowledge and critical thinking.

El-Desoky said she plans to utilize a game, patient cases, and a patient counseling opportunity as well as facilitate discussions based on news headlines in presenting the vitamins/minerals section of the Self-Care & Over the Counter Products Pharm.D. course. 

"Active learning is a collaborative process that is extremely valuable in the Pharm.D. curriculum," El-Desoky said. "It allows students an opportunity to engage with one another and apply the information they learn to simulate real-life pharmacy environments while becoming active participants in their education. As Confucius once said, 'I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand.' Active learning gives students an opportunity to understand the relevance of their education and build new knowledge as the next generation of pharmacists."

As part of the PALM program, El-Desoky will work with a mentor – Sabyasachi Moulik, Ph.D., of Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine – to help her reach specific goals and objectives through shared resources, conference calls and network gatherings with workshops in which fellows and mentors learn from each other and present their findings.

In addition to the implementation grant, El-Desoky and Moulik are each eligible for up to $1,000 in reimbursement for travel expenses related to presenting project results at a future professional or academic meeting.