By: Dr. Elaine Nguyen, School of Pharmacy

The AUHS School of Pharmacy (SOP) provides a variety of opportunities for pharmacy students to explore the different aspects of the pharmacy profession. For example, the SOP offers a number of elective courses with experts in the field. One of the courses offered is the Emergency and Disaster Preparedness course where guests are invited to speak about their experience in the field.

On April 20, 2021, Dr. Susana Leung, member of the Disaster Medical Assistant Team (DMAT) shared stories of her deployment since 2002. Among her many deployments include the World Trade Center at ground zero in New York (2001), Super Typhoon Pongosna in Guam (2002), Hurricane Harvey in Houston (2017), National Guard Disaster Medical Workshop in Ukraine (2004), and to alternative care sites in El Centro, California to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020). Her message to the students is “to serve others, then seek the opportunity to learn; to travel to see the world and experience different cultures.”

Photo of Dr. Susana Leung at the World Trade Center at Ground Zero.

On May 18, 2021, Clifford Young, current President of the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) came as a guest speaker to the elective course to provide medical emergency training to the students. Students were taught to perform and prioritize levels of care at a trauma scene, and to develop a mindset and plan of action as a first responder. A student in the course mentioned the session being useful because they learned how to prepare a medical kit in case of a disaster.

Clifford Young, President of CPhA, who provided medical emergency training, and Dr. Nguyen’s class.

Finally, on June 1, 2021, Dr. Shannon Manzi, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and the Director of Clinical Pharmacogenomics Service at Boston Children’s Hospital spoke to the class about her experience as a disaster responder and assisting in medication safety to the public, specifically during the Boston bombing in 2013 and the unaccompanied minor crossing deployment in Nogales, Arizona (2014). The stories she shared had an everlasting impact to the students, and she reminded the students, “No good deed goes unpunished, to always be ready but know what you are getting into, and to always remember the importance of self-care.”

Video of Dr. Shannon Manzi at the Border Patrol Facility.

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