The Community Outreach and Service Learning program was developed in 2004 as an opportunity to meet the expressed charge by the American Associations of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) of exploring ways to instill in professional students the value of action-oriented care for disadvantaged and underserved populations. The program is an initiative to generate interest in and a commitment to providing care to underserved populations and instill an action-oriented concern for the underserved as a core value of professional degree program graduates.
Pharmacy is a profession built around the concept of caring. Like other professional attitudes, caring must first be modeled for learners by faculty and practitioners and then inculcated into their professional psyche. The provision of experiences may best accomplish this through the curriculum, which introduces learners to situations that clearly demonstrate the difference they can make in people’s lives by providing high-quality professional service and sincerely caring about them and their quality of life. Nowhere is the need for caring acuter than in underserved populations, who face obstacles to health due to impoverishment, homelessness, cultural or language barriers to care, or simply a lack of qualified caregivers to see.
What is Service-Learning?
A teaching method that combines community service with academic instruction focuses on critical, reflective thinking and civic responsibility. Service-Learning programs involve learners in organized community service that address local needs while developing their academic skills, civic responsibility, and commitment to the community.