Written By: Ashley Fan, Third-Year Student Pharmacist
As president of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists’ (APhA-ASP) Operation Diabetes at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, I worked alongside my fellow Operation Diabetes members on Oct. 30 to host our chapter’s annual Healthy Halloween event. Over the years, this activity has been a great way for our group to not only raise awareness about diabetes –the seventh largest cause of death in the United States according to the American Diabetes Association (now that’s scary!) – but to also take a break from classes and engage in a meaningful experience that has a direct impact on our local community.
This year, we invited fourth and fifth graders from a Baltimore elementary school to Pharmacy Hall for a variety of interactive learning experiences. We created each experience with the same purpose: to help the children learn about what they and their families can do to prevent this chronic illness from affecting someone they love. We had a blast interacting with the children as they made healthy snacks, learned the differences between medications and candy, and discovered how exercise can help keep their hearts healthy.
We also set up a haunted house, which all of the children loved.
Healthy Halloween gave us the chance to teach kids about healthy habits that they can carry with them throughout their lives. We even added a new activity at the end of this year’s event to help us better connect with the students. We broke up into small groups and asked the children about their favorite parts of the event and the lessons that they had learned. We also talked about pharmacy as a potential career option and explained how pharmacists are an important and accessible health care resource in their community. We wanted students to leave the event inspired not only to lead healthier lives themselves, but to pursue a career in a field that will allow them to help other people live healthier lives as well.