UGA College of Pharmacy

UGA Students Partnering for Better Health Outcomes in the Hispanic Community

June 19, 2023

Key Takeaways:

  1. Partnerships for Health: The Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia (HHCGA) and the National Hispanic Pharmacist Association, UGA Chapter, are collaborating to uplift the Hispanic Latino population and improve their health outcomes.
  2. Role of UGA Pharmacy Students: University of Georgia (UGA) Pharmacy students are not just learners but active participants in the state's health sector, reaching out to underserved populations all throughout Georgia.
  3. Addressing Health Disparities: Pharmacy students are helping address health disparities, with efforts targeted towards improving the health of the Hispanic community, 15% of which the CDC reports to be in poor or fair health.
  4. Field Experience is Crucial: Hands-on experience within the community provides pharmacy students with valuable insights into the real-world health challenges and needs, facilitating a more holistic understanding that goes beyond textbook knowledge.
  5. Community Outreach and Networking: Active community outreach and forming partnerships have proven to be effective strategies for distributing resources to communities that need them.
  6. The Power of Active Listening: Understanding and filling gaps in community health services require active listening. Taking the time to hear community needs directly leads to more effective resource allocation and improved health outcomes.
  7. Importance of Stakeholder Roles: Recognizing the roles and contributions of different stakeholders is imperative for the overall mission. Their combined expertise and efforts are key to building better health outcomes for future generations.
  8. Promising Future: The partnership between UGA pharmacy students and the HHCGA exemplifies how academic institutions can actively contribute to better health outcomes in the community. This collaboration paves the way for a healthier future for the Hispanic community.

The Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia (HHCGA) and the National Hispanic Pharmacist Association, UGA Chapter, are working together towards a common goal: to uplift and improve the health of the Hispanic community in Georgia. Shirley E. “Bella” Borghi, Executive Director & Vice Chairman of HHCGA, laid out the vision clearly:

“Our mission is to be on the forefront of anything in chronic diseases, education, policy, advocacy, and how we can better uplift our Hispanic Latino population and partner with other populations so that we have better health outcomes.”

As the future of the health sector, pharmacy students at the University of Georgia (UGA) have a pivotal role in this journey. As Dayana Pimentel, President of the National Hispanic Pharmacist Association, UGA Chapter, explains, “The University of Georgia College of Pharmacy offers many opportunities to their students to engage with underserved populations throughout the state of Georgia… We are all throughout Georgia, from Columbus to Savannah, everywhere all year.”

These aspiring pharmacists are not just preparing for their careers; they're addressing health disparities head-on. “The CDC recently found that about 15% of the Hispanic community tends to be in poor or fair health. So pharmacists are really at the forefront to help correct that,” points out Brian Jimenez, a representative from the UGA Chapter. His words underscore the university's commitment to reaching out and promoting healthier choices in all areas of Georgia with Hispanic communities.

Understanding the needs of the community goes beyond classroom learning. Borghi stresses the importance of students being "embedded into the field" with the Hispanic Health Coalition and other partners, as it offers a "horizontal perspective of what really does happen in the community." This hands-on experience fosters a nuanced understanding of community needs and future necessities for sustainable health outcomes.

Jimenez echoes this sentiment:

“So Georgia makes sure to send out their student pharmacists to teach these patients. And also it helps us as a school, learn about the community and the subtle nuances that wouldn't otherwise be picked up if you hadn't worked with them otherwise in the past.”

A significant part of this outreach work is making resources known and available to communities in need. Elia Wiggins, N. Georgia Community Outreach Coordinator for HHCGA, reflects on the increasing demand for resources and the power of networking: “If we get to meet someone and we become partners with them, they tell somebody about us… we get to get some resources to them.”

Effective communication goes both ways. Daniela Ramirez, Metro Atlanta Community Outreach Coordinator for HHCGA, advocates for a strategy of active listening.

“First of all, I believe that what has worked for us is listening to the people, and listening to the community so we can reach out and fill in those existing gaps and connect them with the information and the resources we have,” she said.

Borghi emphasizes the need for diverse stakeholders to understand their unique roles and contributions to this multifaceted mission. “It is imperative for stakeholders to know their role in the position because we're multi-generational and need to build better health outcomes for future generations,” she explains.

In conclusion, the UGA pharmacy students' partnership with the HHCGA not only serves as an enriching learning platform but also exemplifies how academic institutions can actively contribute to better health outcomes in the community. The work being done today promises a healthier future for the Hispanic community and, ultimately, generations to come.

1. What is the mission of the Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia (HHCGA)?

The HHCGA works throughout the state of Georgia, the region, and in certain circumstances throughout the United States. Their mission is to be at the forefront of anything in chronic diseases, education, policy, and advocacy to uplift the Hispanic Latino population and partner with other populations for better health outcomes.

2. How are pharmacy students from the University of Georgia (UGA) contributing to community health?

The UGA College of Pharmacy offers many opportunities to its students to engage with underserved populations throughout the state of Georgia. They are active all over Georgia, teaching patients and promoting healthier choices, especially within the Hispanic community.

3. What role does the National Hispanic Pharmacist Association, UGA Chapter play in Georgia's health sector?

The UGA Chapter of the National Hispanic Pharmacist Association is at the forefront of improving the health of the Hispanic community, which CDC reports to be 15% in poor or fair health. They extend their reach to different areas of Georgia, promoting health and making healthier choices.

4. How is the Hispanic community's health being improved in Georgia?

The Hispanic community's health is being improved through active outreach, promotion of healthier choices, resource availability, and active listening to identify and bridge gaps in services. Pharmacy students from UGA are playing a significant role in these efforts.

5. What strategies are being used to address health disparities in the Hispanic community in Georgia?

The strategies include active community outreach, direct engagement with patients, promotion of healthier lifestyle choices, networking to distribute resources, and listening to the community to understand and address their specific needs.

6. What is the importance of field experience for pharmacy students at UGA?

Field experience allows pharmacy students to gain a hands-on understanding of the real-world health challenges and needs in the community. This offers them a more holistic perspective that they may not get from a curriculum environment, helping them better understand and address health disparities.

7. How does active community outreach and networking benefit underserved populations?

Active community outreach helps identify the specific needs and challenges of the community. Networking ensures resources are distributed effectively. Together, they improve the availability and delivery of healthcare services to underserved populations.

8. What is the significance of active listening in community health outreach?

Active listening allows health advocates to understand the unique challenges and needs of the community, helping to identify and fill gaps in community health services. It leads to more effective resource allocation and improved health outcomes.

9. Why is understanding stakeholder roles crucial in health advocacy?

Understanding stakeholder roles is crucial as it allows for a more coordinated and effective approach to health advocacy. Each stakeholder has unique contributions to make, and their combined efforts can lead to better health outcomes, especially for future generations.

10. How are academic institutions like UGA contributing to better health outcomes in the Hispanic community?

UGA, through its College of Pharmacy, is actively engaging with the Hispanic community. They send out student pharmacists to teach patients and learn about the community, fostering better health outcomes.

11. What initiatives are in place for improving future health outcomes in the Hispanic community in Georgia?

The initiatives include active outreach, promotion of healthier choices, making resources more available, active listening to understand and address community needs, and understanding stakeholder roles for effective advocacy.

12. What are the key takeaways from the collaboration between UGA pharmacy students and the HHCGA?

The key takeaways include the importance of partnerships for health, the vital role of UGA Pharmacy students in community health, addressing health disparities, the significance of field experience, effective community outreach and networking

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