A graphic of a pill with fruits inside and the text Strengthen Immunity, Walaa Faraq, Brittany Mantha, Mirna Portillo, MCPHS Candidates for PharmD 2021 Pharmacy

Various MCPHS Programs Come Together to Serve Retirement Home Residents

A graphic of a pill with fruits inside and the text Strengthen Immunity, Walaa Faraq, Brittany Mantha, Mirna Portillo, MCPHS Candidates for PharmD 2021 Pharmacy

The IPE event saw students from six different MCPHS schools present informative content to Colony Retirement Home residents.

Since 2014, MCPHS has worked with Colony Retirement Homes, a nonprofit corporation with five locations providing independent living apartments to seniors in Central Massachusetts. Through the partnership, MCPHS students interact with Colony residents, helping run health education fairs, presentations, and events. Associate Director of Clinical Education and Associate Professor of Physical Therapy Cheryl Babin, PT, DHS, MHA, C.A.G.S., says that Colony has always been supportive of getting students involved with their community—and recently has been particularly eager to do so because of the increased social isolation residents have endured during the pandemic.

To engage safely, MCPHS students led two virtual fairs for Colony residents this year, each live-streamed at all five Colony properties. Students from six different Schools—Acupuncture, Dental Hygiene, Medical Imaging and Therapeutics, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Physical Therapy—participated in the events. The first took place on February 22 and was called “Staying Healthy During the Pandemic.” The second was titled “What to Expect When Visiting a Clinic” and was held on March 1. The “Staying Healthy” presentations focused on science-backed ways for the Colony residents to strengthen their immune system with vitamins and minerals, especially through food. The second event focused on safety measures and protocols medical facilities have been taking during the pandemic. It gave Colony residents insight as to “what to expect” when visiting the dentist or the hospital or when getting an Ultrasound or Echocardiography exam.

The hour-long, multi-disciplinary events included visually stimulating presentations with vivid slides, student speakers, and even some video. The students had independence in creating their presentations, and MCPHS faculty and Colony personnel alike were impressed. “Every team went off on their own theme and did a really great job,” said Paula Evans, PharmD, MS, BCGP, Director of Pharmacy Outreach & Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice. Added Jennifer Miller, MS, RDMS, RVT, Program Director & Assistant Professor, Diagnostic Medical Sonography‑General, “I was so impressed with how they did it without being scary. They had little jokes, they kept it light while getting good ideas across” about safety measures and protocols.

Marianne Delorey, the Executive Director of Colony homes, said that the MCPHS students’ programming “was very well received.... People really enjoyed it and were very excited to have the opportunity to interact with students again. We’re very appreciative of the efforts to reach out to [our residents].” Delorey says she observed Colony residents during the events: “I remember seeing the smiles on residents’ faces and the recognition of a community looking to keep them healthy.” Of working with MCPHS, she adds that the faculty have “just been so easy to work with, so engaging, and so creative in [their] solutions. . . . Dream partners, really.”

The participating MCPHS students benefitted from working on the presentations as well, says Cheryl Babin. “They got a chance to learn from, with, and about each other."