Health care is improving for students at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo.
For the first time at the UH Hilo clinic, a pharmacist will fill prescriptions for patients. The development is a collaboration between Student Medical Services and faculty from the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.
Mimi Pezzuto, an instructor at the College of Pharmacy, has volunteered to work at the new pharmacy. The University appointed her as Pharmacist in Charge in March. An official agreement is projected to take effect on Oct. 2 that will allow pharmacy students to take part in patient care.
“This is a grassroots movement, but the goal is to operate as a fully functioning pharmacy,” said Heather Hirata, a board-certified nurse practitioner who has supervised students from nursing programs at UH Hilo and UH Manoa. “Pharmacy students will be able to work alongside nursing students. We’re all in the same field so there are opportunities for everyone to learn something new.”
Pharmacy students have been able to contribute to the clinic in the past by labeling and stocking the medicine cabinets. Now with faculty supervision, they will be able to have direct contact with patients from the beginning of their care.
The not-for-profit clinic is open primarily to students, but the family planning clinic is open to the general public. It functions in four small rooms on the third floor of the Campus Center.
Pezzuto also is planning a fundraiser concert featuring local students studying under a world-renowned pianist on Oct. 13, with proceeds to benefit expanded student services with the Student Medical Services.