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UHCOP Returns to Back 2 School Fest

Pharm.D. Students Provide Vaccine Assessments, Blood Pressure Screenings and Wellness Education at City of Houston-hosted Event

August 31 — Nearly 50 University of Houston College of Pharmacy Pharm.D. students participated in the 12th Annual Mayor's Back 2 School Fest Aug. 13 at Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center by conducting immunization and prediabetic assessments, blood pressure screenings, and a range of wellness education and activities.

Students reviewed the immunization cards or records for 80 children to determine if they were missing any required vaccines for their specific ages/grades and communicate the recommendations to nurses on-site for administration of the authorized vaccines.

Pharm.D. students conducted more than 200 blood pressure screenings, with over one-half of those screened showing elevated readings and subsequently provided patient counseling. Students also performed nearly 50 prediabetic assessments, with more than a dozen attendees identified at-risk for developing diabetes and who were counseled on the benefits of lifestyle and diet changes and other preventive measures to avoid or delay onset of the disease.

Among the educational outreach activities were:

  • The "Candy vs. Medicine" game teaching medication safety by testing the ability to distinguish between candy and medications and increasing awareness of how similar they can appear;
  • Demonstrating healthy plate portions and food choices and their relationship to heart health;
  • Tobacco cessation; and
  • How continuous blood glucose monitoring can help diabetic patients monitor their glucose levels over time and without the pain and inconvenience of frequent finger-stick blood draws.

In addition, children were invited to try on a white coat and listen to their heartbeat with a stethoscope to help reduce anxiety and fear during interactions with health care professionals.

Organized by the City of Houston Mayor's Office, the event provided 25,000 free backpacks loaded with school supplies as well as access and information on public and private services and resources to thousands of children and adult parents and guardians. UHCOP students and faculty preceptors have participated in the event every year since 2013, with the exception of the past two years due to the shift to a drive-through, no-contact format for the past two years due to pandemic safety precautions.