MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – According to the American Liver Foundation, liver disease is the ninth leading disease-related cause of death in the United States, killing approximately 42,000 people every year. In addition, about 15,000 children are hospitalized each year with pediatric liver diseases or disorders. For these reasons, second-year pharmacy students at West Virginia University educated local elementary school students about the importance of liver health.

The pharmacy students, in partnership with the Allegheny Division of the American Liver Foundation (ALF), organized the educational events and provided presentations and educational games on liver functions and health.

“We chose to educate elementary school children because they are eager to learn and very impressionable at this age,” second-year pharmacy student Amanda Hawse said. “By providing children with the knowledge and understanding of liver health and functions, this can help encourage them to make better choices and prevent them from damaging their health.”

Children were also provided with a brochure outlining instructions on reading nonprescription drug labels, including what each section on the label indicates, to take home to their parents or guardians.

“Many over-the-counter medications contain similar active ingredients, such as acetaminophen, which is used in many cold and allergy products,” Hawse said. “Because of this, accidental overdoses can be very common in both children and adults. We hope that the children took this information home and shared it with their parents or guardians so they know what to look for when reading a medication label.”

“We also wanted to stress to the students that they should only be taking medication under the supervision of an adult,” Hawse said.

The pharmacy students partnered with the American Liver Foundation as part of their Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) curriculum, which promotes service to the community.

West Virginia University School of Pharmacy student Amanda Hawse

Second-year West Virginia University School of Pharmacy student Amanda Hawse shows a model of the liver to Friendship Hill Elementary second-grade students.

-WVU-

For more information: Amy Newton, School of Pharmacy, 304-293-7192