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nacds patners with america's promise alliance for youth program
In an effort to help Americas youth, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores is partnering with Americas PromiseThe Alliance for Youth. The Alexandria, Va.-based private, nonprofit groups mission is to bring businesses, communities, and organizations together to help develop programs for Americas youth.
As part of the campaign, the chain pharmacy industry will establish "Pharmacies of Promise" in every state over a three-year period. Participating pharmacies will develop tutoring and mentoring programs, sponsor internships for students, provide healthcare services and information as well as promote health insurance programs for uninsured children.
One component of the Pharmacies of Promise campaign is the Promising Start initiative, which will focus on the needs of children and young families with community outreach programs in health information services. Phil Schneider, NACDS v.p. public affairs, told Drug Topics that young expectant mothers will receive information on topics such as nutrition, first aid, childhood diseases, and immunizations.
"We hope to be able to give parents some general health information relative to immunizations and other childhood health issues as part of our role as a community health resource," said Schneider.
The second component of the campaign is Future Pharmacists of America, an effort which aims to expose students to career opportunities in community pharmacy. The initiative includes mini-internships and may eventually provide scholarships for promising students.
"We are in the planning stage now. In January, some of our pharmacies will have internships for four to six weeks for students in the 10th or 11th grade to come in to a pharmacy one day a week after school. Hopefully, we can expose kids to pharmacy operations to the point where they think this is a great career and will consider going to pharmacy school and eventually into pharmacy practice," said Schneider.
In August, Pharmacies of Promise will launch a national campaign to enroll eligible children in the State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). SCHIP provides health insurance to children in families without insurance who do not qualify for Medicaid or other assistance.
The first six markets involved are Tucson, Ariz.; Hartford, Conn.; the Washington, D.C., metro area; Miami, Fla.; Jackson, Miss.; and Harligen, Texas.
On Aug. 8, a press conference, Covering Kids, will be held in Washington, D.C. NACDS president Craig Fuller will be one of the speakers kicking off the back-to-school enrollment campaign. "The theory is that as parents start thinking about back-to-school supplies for their kids, they should also be thinking about whether their children have the proper health insurance. Thats why they are tying this to back-to-school," said Schneider.
"Pharmacists and community pharmacies have long demonstrated care for the people in the communities in which they operate. Working with Covering Kids to help provide health insurance for children fits perfectly with the role of chain pharmacies in the community as a health resource center, not only for medicines but also for useful health information. The pharmacy is an ideal setting in that the public views it as a place for credible information on health issues. By working with the volunteers from the Covering Kids program, we hope we will be able to extend health coverage to thousands of children who lack such insurance now," said Schneider.
NACDS has pledged $300,000 from its Charitable Foundation over a three-year period in support of Americas Promise. It will expand that commitment through the contributions and volunteer efforts of its member chain pharmacies and their employees. NACDS will seek to develop partnerships with its 1,400 associate member companies, which supply goods and services to the industry.
Sandra Levy. NACDS partners with America's Promise for youth.