Touro Dental and Pharmacy Students Collaborate on First Annual Flu Clinic

Ongoing Partnership Provides Students with Opportunities for Interprofessional Practice and Education

December 02, 2019
Touro Pharmacy students administered 150 flu vaccinations to TCDM students, faculty, and staff.

Touro College of Pharmacy (TCOP) students administered 150 free flu vaccines to Touro College of Dental Medicine (TCDM) students, faculty and staff on Thursday, November 14, at the first annual flu clinic involving the two schools. The event was part of a broader Interprofessional Education Initiative to encourage collaboration between dental students and other medical professionals. 

“In addition to encouraging vital flu vaccinations, the day allowed for a broader scope of practice between dental and pharmacy students, who gained an understanding of how important interprofessional relationships are, and also helped them learn how to communicate with each other as future practitioners," said TCDM’s Director of Interprofessional Education Dr. Katrin Tamari. 

TCOP Dean Dr. Henry Cohen said, “Pharmacists are medication experts and play a significant role in public health as primary care immunizers. The clinic allowed pharmacy students to gain practice experience as immunizers. Students from both schools learned about the important roles they play in immunization review and education for their patients, their practice settings and expertise, and developed patient care and medication-related collaborations.”

Kamal Godiwala, a fourth-year pharmacy student, said that she and her colleagues benefited from the experience. "The opportunity to showcase our role as future pharmacists helped me gain insight to one of the several responsibilities that we have to better the health of society. Being able to demonstrate on our peers was a reward in and of itself and it helped boost our self confidence in providing care."

Dental students at TCDM also appreciated that the clinic provided an opportunity to relate to pharmacy students. “It gave us a more comprehensive perspective of each other’s worlds. Also, the more people immunized the better,” said third-year student Alden Calantog.

TCDM and TCOP students have participated in two other interprofessional events and plans are underway for pharmacy students to participate in rotations in the dental clinic, where they will review patient charts to address possible drug interactions, provide drug information and patient discharge counseling. TCDM is working similarly with other health-related schools within the Touro College and University system, including New York Medical College and Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. Social work students are expected to join the collaboration soon, and Dr. Tamari hopes to expand the program to students in other Touro schools, including nursing, occupational and physical therapy, and speech and language pathology.

“Everything in the body is connected,” says Dr. Tamari. “There cannot be a gap between dentistry and the other health professions. We need better communication for the benefit of our patients.”