Activities & Organizations

UH pharmacy clinic honored for helping homeless

HOMES is the only student-run clinic in Houston, and for the past fourteen years it has given medical assistance to those who might otherwise go without. | Courtesy of Chip Lambert

The College of Pharmacy received national recognition from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy this summer for their work at the Houston Outreach Medicine, Education and Social Services Clinic, a student-run operation that aided thousands of homeless people in downtown Houston.

Pharmacy faculty member and HOMES preceptor David Wallace, director Kim Anh Pham, senior representative Henrietta Abodakpi and Pharmacy Dean F. Lamar Pritchard received a grant worth of $16,000 at the AACP Annual Meeting in Chicago, where they got to present the work they are doing and share the impact it having on the community.

The level of commitment and continuity is amazing, Wallace said. The award represents recognition of all the dedication and hard work the students have done in collaboration with medical students from the Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston since 2000, when the clinic was founded by BCM physician David Buck.

The application process was often a daunting task, but Abodakpi said it compelled her to take a larger look at the approach to care she has been advocating and practicing and whether it does enough to ensure the well-being of the homeless population.

“It is my hope that the clinic will continue to educate my peer student pharmacists on the predominant social, economic and personal challenges that afflict the homeless in our community,” Abodakpi said.

Buck also founded the clinic’s sponsor, Healthcare for the Homeless — Houston, a nonprofit organization and federally-qualified health center that provides healthcare services to the local homeless population. HHH has helped sustain the efforts of the HOMES Clinic by providing medications, supplies and funding since its founding, which has helped the student volunteers to see more than 3,000 patients.

Pham said helping those in need keeps her grounded through her studies and serves as a constant reminder of why she pursues a career in pharmacy.

“It is because of the many experiences at (the) HOMES Clinic that compelled me to be the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves and be the person of change to guide others out of the vicious cycle that homelessness creates,” Pham said.

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