Dr. Kathy DeRose
Mylan School of Pharmacy
DEROSE IS EXCITED TO SEE HER STUDENTS GROW BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY FROM THEIR SERVICE-LEARNING EXPERIENCES.
Overseeing nearly 200 students in pharmacy’s service-learning program, Dr. DeRose is proud that her students are doing their part to exemplify the university’s mission of serving God by serving others. “Our students are part of the overall vocation of the university. Our mission is ‘serving God by serving students’, and I feel that we are providing practical experience for our future pharmacists.”
Pharmacy students are required to take a one-credit course while in their fourth year of the program. By this time, students have been well versed in classroom activity and are ready for real-world experience. According to Dr. DeRose, many students are reluctant to do service-learning in the beginning, but then change once they actually get into the community. “I just want to ask them, how did you transform from looking at me like ‘you’re crazy’ to hands-on digging in and doing it!” Many students are even sad to see their service projects end. As Dr. DeRose says, “I’ve had students say that the experience was so rewarding that they would like to continue volunteering after their required service-learning is finished.”
REFLECTING ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
At the end of their experience, students must identify a social issue related to the program they worked for and then write a final paper that connects the social issue to their service work. For example, students have written about the need for afterschool programs in urban communities, childhood obesity, and the stigmas attached to people suffering from mental health problems.
“Service-learning exposes students to the diversity in the community––it’s important for them to know these people; they are who they will be serving during their careers.”
Ultimately, Dr. DeRose believes service-learning is invaluable to Duquesne’s students, as well as the community. “Who would do it [service] if we didn’t have these student volunteers? Our students are learning by serving.
Dr. DeRose’s pharmacy students are working with area organizations that include Wireless Neighborhoods, an afterschool program for low-income African American children; a high rise for low-income and/or physically-challenged seniors; and Peoples Oakland, a local nonprofit mental health facility where students visit with patients and talk to them about the importance of taking their medications. Dr. DeRose believes service-learning gives her students the opportunity to get out in their community and serve people that may not have access to the care they need. “The role of the pharmacist is ever changing––they are not just behind the counter dispensing medications anymore. The pharmacist is very much in a consultation role with patients.”