Touro College of Pharmacy Wins 2010 American Pharmacist Association Immunization Champion Award

Date: March 04, 2010
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Barbara Franklin
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New York, N.Y. – Dr. Stuart Feldman, dean of the Touro College of Pharmacy in Harlem, has announced that the college has been named a 2010 American Pharmacist Association (APhA) Immunization Champion Award winner. This award recognizes the value and extraordinary contributions pharmacists make by improving the vaccination rates within their communities. The Touro College of Pharmacy was among more than 100 nominees competing for the Award.

The awards program, supported by Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics, will take place during APhA’s Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., March 12–15.

The Touro College of Pharmacy, founded in 2008 and the first pharmacy school in New York City in 70 years, is currently the only pharmacy program in Manhattan. The school recently was awarded candidate status by Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).

The college earned the APhA award for its partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and New York Academy of Medicine, where faculty, staff and students provided more than 2,000 influenza immunizations in the Harlem community during this past flu season. In addition, pharmacists from the College immunized more than 604 people during Harlem Immunization Week, from October 17th to 23rd. Pharmacists from two Touro College of Pharmacy partner hospitals—Montefiore Medical Center and North Central Bronx Hospital--also participated in the vaccination efforts.

"In December 2009, pharmacists in New York state were approved to provide immunizations to adults 18 and older," Dean Feldman said. "Since then, the College of Pharmacy has been meeting its community’s immunization needs by working with partners to set up neighborhood vaccination sites that are accessible and where people feel comfortable visiting." He added that flu vaccine clinics such as these are a necessity in communities where vaccines are in short supply or where cost is prohibitive. In addition, he said, no appointments were needed, offering even greater accessibility.

Information on the College’s community immunization efforts were submitted to the awards committee by Dr. Ruth Nemire, associate dean for professional education and community engagement and professor of pharmacy and health outcomes at Touro College Pharmacy, along with Dr. Keith Veltri, assistant professor at the College. The team stressed the College’s collaborative efforts and community service outreach.

"We trained more than 60 staff pharmacists at the Montefiore Department of Pharmacy through APhA’s Pharmacy-based Immunization Certificate Training Program," Dr. Veltri said. "This enabled us to vaccinate as many people as possible within the Harlem community for a two-and- a-half month initiative."

Partnerships with other community providers have led to increased immunization rates within Harlem and the Bronx among previously underserved populations as well, the dean noted.