MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Paige Miller, a member of the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy’s Class of 2015, chose to pursue a career in pharmacy in order to give back to the community.
“I decided to go into the field of pharmacy because I felt that it was a great way to combine my love for medicine and my desire to help others,” Miller, a resident of Martinsburg, W.Va., said.
American Pharmacists Month recognizes pharmacists for their many contributions to the healthcare community, including improving medication use and advancing patient care. The “Know Your Medicine, Know Your Pharmacist” campaign during the month of October is used as a way to inform community members about the many advances today’s pharmaceutical world is providing to healthcare and how the role of a pharmacist is changing to meet these healthcare needs.
“American Pharmacists Month truly showcases the profession of pharmacy’s contributions to the community, as well as the role of a pharmacist as a patient care provider and health advocate,” Betsy Elswick, Pharm.D., clinical associate professor in the WVU School of Pharmacy Department of Clinical Pharmacy, said. “Community members may not know everything a pharmacist does and all the health services their pharmacist can provide.”
Pharmacists are the community’s most accessible healthcare professionals and are an important part of a patient’s healthcare team. Local community pharmacists can answer medication questions; provide healthcare screenings such as blood pressure, cholesterol tests, and blood glucose screenings; and, in some locations, can also give flu, pneumonia, shingles and hepatitis B vaccinations. Clinical hospital pharmacists are part of a patient’s healthcare team by working with physicians to determine the best course of treatment for a patient’s healthcare condition. 
“I encourage all patients to take the opportunity during American Pharmacists Month to ask their pharmacist one question about the medication that they are taking,” Dr. Elswick added. “Questions to consider asking your pharmacist might include how to take your medicine correctly, including what to do if you miss a dose. Patients should also know what each of their medications is being used to treat and common side effects or drug interactions that their medicines may have.” 
Viewers of “Doctors On Call” on West Virginia Public Television will have a chance to ask questions of two WVU pharmacists during the program this Thursday, Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. WVU School of Pharmacy faculty members Charles Ponte, Pharm.D., and Gretchen Garofoli, Pharm. D., will appear on the show.
WVU School of Pharmacy faculty and student pharmacists are taking part in the WVU Healthcare Expo from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5 at the Morgantown Mall to perform free health screenings such as blood glucose tests, blood pressure screenings, body fat analyses and bone density tests, as well as to provide health information on vaccinations, diabetes, heartburn and more. Cholesterol tests are available for a $10 fee.
“The WVU School of Pharmacy provides many opportunities to serve the members of the community through various patient care projects,” Miller said. “In the past, I have participated in health fairs providing information about the importance of vaccines, healthy eating and dietary choices, heartburn awareness, poison control and diabetes management. From small children to elderly patients in nursing homes, these service projects have given me the opportunity to connect with every age level in our community, which I feel is very important.”
The WVU School of Pharmacy student chapter of the American Pharmacists Association is also observing American Pharmacists Month by hosting several guest speakers to present information to student pharmacists. Topics include veterinary medicine, breast cancer and pediatric pharmacy.
For more information about the WVU School of Pharmacy, visit

For more information: Amy Newton, School of Pharmacy, 304-293-7192