Wegmans School of Pharmacy to Develop Interpreter Training for Student-Pharmacists

May 2, 2022

The Wegmans School of Pharmacy at St. John Fisher College was awarded a $20,000 grant from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation to train students on how to work with interpreters when providing patient care.

Two representatives from NACDS present a jumbo-sized check to Dean Christine Birnie.

Fisher was one of six institutions to receive funding through the grant program, which aims to fund patient-centered, community-based programs or other curricular innovations. Dean Christine Birnie (pictured above, center) accepted the award on behalf of the School during the NACDS Annual Meeting, held on Monday, April 25. This is the third NACDS grant the School has been awarded in five years.

Faculty members Dr. Sha-Phawn Williams and Dr. Gabriela Cipriano will lead the development of the training program that will educate student pharmacists on how to work with interpreters during patient care. The training will detail the importance of appropriately working with interpreters in the health care setting, sharing the perspectives of field and community experts, as well as patients and family members.

After completion of the training, students will apply what they’ve learned during a mock patient encounter and have the opportunity to experience the benefits of having interpreters assist in patient care when volunteering at health clinics at Mary’s Place Refugee Outreach, which will require interpreters during most encounters.

“Research has shown that working with interpreters in the health care setting leads to better patient outcomes, and yet, to our knowledge, there is no formalized training program to educate student pharmacists on how to work with interpreters,” said Williams. “This program will fill that knowledge gap for our students and further prepare them to deliver a high standard of care to any patient they encounter.”

The program will be developed during summer 2022, and piloted with second-year pharmacy students in the fall.