Department of Pharmacy Practice

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Earl Bennett and the Department of Pharmacy Practice Tackle the Flu

Earl Bennett and the Department of Pharmacy Practice Tackle the Flu

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Missing a few days of work may not upset most, but two weeks full of fever, headaches, extreme tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches proves more upsetting for the 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population infected with influenza yearly, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

This year, the Department of Pharmacy Practice teamed up with Chicago Bear Earl Bennett to reach out and educate the UIC and Chicago community about the importance of vaccinations. Bennett considers thriving on the field a must, making the flu shot as essential to his performance as his helmet and shoulder pads. “Maintaining your health can be as much about taking necessary preventative steps. The same goes for preventing the flu. A simple vaccination can keep you healthy and productive. That’s why I get my flu shot every year,” Bennett said.

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Bennet’s participation in the event and endorsement of the flu shot sparked community interest, resulting in a multitude of vaccinations administered. A miniature football signed by Bennett provided an added incentive for those willing to receive a shot.  Janet Engle, the event coordinator, noted that approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized annually due to the flu complications making community outreach regarding flu vaccinations a priority during the flu season. The event enabled UIC pharmacists to educate consumers regarding the necessity of flu vaccinations and provided an opportune moment to receive a vaccination. 

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Community outreach and student education were successfully paired in the event. While many Department of Pharmacy Practice faculty supported the event by attending, fourth-year pharmacy students provided the vaccinations. “I was able to put into practice the skills that I have learned via my immunization training. In addition, I was able to see the various ways in which other professionals communicated healthcare information to the community using games, trivia, and more. It was a fabulous learning opportunity for the community as well as participants,” said Merrideth Gilly, a fourth-year pharmacy student.

The Earl Bennett event kicked-off the 2011 Flu Vaccine Campaign headed by UIC pharmacies. As a part of this push, flu vaccines were distributed to university employees at Student Center East and Student Center West in early October. Throughout the flu season, interested individuals could stop at the University Village Pharmacy and Wood Street Pharmacy to receive their vaccination. This active community outreach would lead to approximately 1500 people vaccinated against the flu. 

Credits:

Article - Michelle Skinner

Photos - Barry Donald


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