The USC School of Pharmacy was awarded four USC Good Neighbors Grants for 2019–20, helping fund a range of innovative community programs. More than 900 local efforts have been supported through Good Neighbors over the past 25 years thanks to donations totaling more than $25 million from USC faculty, staff and friends.

At the awards ceremony on Sept. 3, the USC School of Pharmacy was formally awarded grants for the following projects:

STAR/EHA: A Good Neighbors grant of $43,200 will help the USC Science, Technology and Research (STAR)/Engineering for Health Academy (EHA) program continue to prepare high school students, including underrepresented minorities, for careers in life sciences, biomedical engineering and biotherapeutics.

“The program allows high school students to gain experience in real science,” said USC School of Pharmacy Professor Daryl Davies, PhD, who serves as STAR’s program director. “They’re trained to look at a research question, test different hypotheses and come up with viable ways to address the question.”

Fuente Initiative: A Good Neighbors grant of $6,950 will aid this initiative’s efforts to send pharmacists and pharmacy students to three neighborhood elementary schools to provide education on how to prevent accidental poisonings, appropriate prescription use and other public health topics.

“It’s a mutual educational experience,” said USC clinical pharmacist Carla Blieden, PharmD, who oversees the initiative. “Our student pharmacists get to work with kids — it’s life skills learned from first-graders. And the first-grade students remember our students’ names, and they get so excited when they see us on the playground.”

Los Angeles Albert Schweitzer FellowshipsA Good Neighbors grant of $15,000 will provide funding for Schweitzer Fellows in this competitive program to gain the skills and commitment necessary to address health disparities through development and implementation of yearlong community service projects.

“The Los Angeles Schweitzer program provides fellows an opportunity to build meaningful relationships with community partners and work collaboratively with multidisciplinary team members to improve health in the community,” said Jennifer Kwon, DrPH, MPH, program co-director.

Opioids Fotonovela ProjectA Good Neighbors grant of $27,000 will help produce and distribute a fotonovela, in English and Spanish, to educate local low-literacy populations on the dangers of opioids.

“Health literacy is a public health issue,” said USC School of Pharmacy Professor Melvin Baron, PharmD, MPA, who serves as the program director of the fotonovela project. “To be able to develop these messages for an underserved community and educate patients, that’s part of what pharmacy is all about.”

Other health sciences projects that were awarded 2019 USC Good Neighbors grants include the Medical Counseling, Organizing and Recruiting (Med-COR) program and the USC Anesthesia Technician Training Program, overseen by the Keck School of Medicine of USC; the Dental Screening Initiative for Foster Children and the USC Neighborhood Mobile Dental Van Prevention Program, from the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC; USC PT Fit Families, administered by the USC Division of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy; and Comprando Rico y Sano Buying Nutritious and Delicious, a program of the USC Health Sciences Campus Community Partnerships.

— Susan Wampler