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College of Pharmacy Helps During COVID-19 Pandemic

Pharmacy students assist in COVID-19 testing at ZüpMed, an on-demand medical clinic in Memphis.

Members of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy are assisting at COVID-19 testing sites and call centers and finding other ways to help Tennessee communities.

“Pharmacists are a vital part of the health care system,” said College of Pharmacy Dean Marie Chisholm-Burns. “Our alumni are on the front lines, many with our students, doing the work and being accessible to people in their communities. We are so proud of the way our students, faculty, and alumni are serving during this challenging time.”

Student pharmacists are participating in COVID-19 call centers with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and the Tennessee Department of Health. Anyone can call with questions about the virus, and student pharmacists give up-to-date information and direct patients to their closest testing center. The students also assist with contact tracing to notify patients if they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Under the supervision of College of Pharmacy faculty members, student pharmacists are staffing the dispensary at the Shade Tree Clinic, a clinic in Nashville that provides care to uninsured individuals, to ensure patients continue to get their medications. They are also assisting in COVID-19 testing at ZüpMed, an on-demand medical clinic in Memphis.

Like many volunteers, College of Pharmacy faculty, staff, and student organizations have been making face coverings for hospitals and clinics to protect individuals from contracting the COVID-19 virus. The group has already constructed more than 500 face masks for donation and has donated masks to institutions in the cities where the college has campuses: Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville. The college is also using the 3D printers on the Memphis campus to print personal protection equipment.

UTHSC has placed a “Heroes Train Here” sign outside the College of Pharmacy building on the Memphis campus to honor pharmacy heroes who are graduates working on the front lines.

“Our students have really showed their resilience,” Dean Chisholm-Burns said. “They are our heroes of today and tomorrow.”

Editor’s note: This is another in a series of stories looking at how UTHSC students, faculty, and staff across the campus are contributing to the battle against the coronavirus. We are seeking stories about students, faculty, staff, and alumni contributing to this effort. Please contact communications@uthsc.edu if you have ideas for future stories. For up-to-date information and resources about the coronavirus, go to https://uthsc.edu/coronavirus/.