Pharmacy Students Become Advocates in Austin

TTUHSC School of Pharmacy in AustinFifty students representing all four School of Pharmacy classes and campuses travelled to Austin Feb. 26 for Pharmacy Day at the Texas Capitol to advocate for more accessible health care for Texas residents and to champion advances in the pharmacy profession.

The TTUHSC contingent began the day by joining approximately 350 students from other Texas pharmacy schools and more than 200 practicing pharmacists from across the state for a briefing about the bills related to pharmacy and how to effectively and efficiently meet with legislators.

After the briefing, the pharmacy delegation attended a legislative panel that included state Senator Charles Schwertner and state Representatives John Raney and Richard Raymond. The panel discussed the importance of advocacy and how advocates can help legislators by explaining the impact these bills can make upon the lives of their constituents. 

Following the panel discussion and a group photo session, pharmacy students and pharmacists were divided into small teams to meet legislators throughout the day. During these meetings, the pharmacy delegation discussed with legislators the many ways in which contsituents would benefit by expanding the pharmacists’ role on the health care team.

TTUHSC School of Pharmacy in AustinOne bill under serious consideration is Senate Bill 835/House Bill 1827, also known as the “Test and Treat” bill. If passed, the bill would allow a patient to get tested for the flu or strep throat at their local pharmacy. If the test yields a positive result, then the pharmacist can provide the patient with an antibiotic or anti-viral medication. To demonstrate how these strep and flu tests are performed, TTUHSC pharmacy students participated in a health fair and helped screen Texas legislators and their staffers.

Lucas Cannon, a third-year pharmacy student from the TTUHSC campus in Abilene, said Pharmacy Day at the Texas Capitol was a beneficial experience for students because it helped them understand how advocacy impacts policymaking at the state level. 

“Throughout a long day of advocating for our amazing profession, we were able to experience firsthand the importance of being a bigger part of the legislative process,” Cannon said. 

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