Promoting Student Learning through Community Service
Published on 17 July 2018
Jason Wang, Pharm.D. ’11, is dedicated to making the world a better place one project and person at a time. Through his commitment to community service, he impacts the lives of patients and students with each interaction.
“I remember staring down and reading the first line of the oath of a pharmacist during graduation,” Wang recounted. “It read, ‘I promise to devote myself to a lifetime of service to others through the profession of pharmacy.’ That is what I strive to do each day whether inside my pharmacy or out in the community.”
From assisting patients at his pharmacy to presenting at local school health fairs to planning and executing initiatives around town, Wang, co-owner of Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in Pevely, Missouri, has devoted his life to improving the community around him.
Over the years, many of his efforts have also been focused on helping to instill a commitment to patient and community service in future pharmacists at St. Louis College of Pharmacy.
“Upon their acceptance into pharmacy school, student pharmacists become part of our profession and have the ability to make a difference here and now,” Wang explained. “If we give them the opportunity, we can empower students to take action in becoming valuable resources and pillars of their communities.”
To help students hone their skills while still in school, Wang coordinates a variety of community events which place students in real life pharmacy situations. These events offer students direct exposure to the pharmacy profession, while also providing them with opportunities to get involved in the community.
In recent years, students from the College have accompanied Wang to health fairs at Dunklin R-5 District schools in Herculaneum and Pevely, Missouri. During the events, student pharmacists assist in providing health screenings and vaccines to faculty and staff and help to offer consultations on ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They also educate students on bullying, diabetes, drug abuse, and other health related topics through games and group discussion.
“When I was a student, I learned new things every time I attended events like these,” Wang said. “As alumni, we create a win-win situation in providing students opportunities to participate and use their skills. I want to give my student employees and volunteers great learning experiences like my mentoring pharmacists gave me.”
Amy Wong, P4 student, began volunteering for Wang in 2017. Her participation provided opportunities for her to gain experience and confidence in working with patients.
“When I volunteer for Dr. Wang, I am able to communicate and work directly with patients,” Wong explains. “It builds my confidence in what I can do and reinforces that this is what I want to do for my career.”
Beyond his involvement in area health fairs and other annual events, Wang orchestrates numerous additional projects designed to make a positive impact around the globe. He has worked with student organizations at the College to collect new, used and expired medicine to send to a hospital in Catacamas, Honduras.
Wang has also worked with the Lambda Chi Alpha chapter at the College to collect empty prescription vials to send to third world countries where patients often have to carry their prescriptions home in their hands or wrapped in paper.
“One after another, these small projects accumulate over time and add up to make a big difference for those around us,” Wang explained. “It gives the next generation something better than what we had.”
Wong, and other students who have had the opportunity to work with Wang, look to him as an example and a mentor both professionally and personally.
“He is someone that reminds me there is always more to do,” Wong said. “I look up to him because he is young, has a family and has his own pharmacy. Seeing that someone can accomplish all that, and still be heavily involved in the community, inspires me because it is my dream to achieve those things too.”
“Everything starts with one person,” Wang noted. “The power of one person making a difference can set into motion something bigger and greater than themselves. We can each do our part to make the world a better place.”