February 22-24 marked the 2018 Colorado HOSA State Leadership Conference at the Renaissance Hotel in Stapleton, CO. The annual event attracts high school students interested in healthcare careers and encourages them to participate in a variety of educational sessions to improve their skills regarding the healthcare setting. These sessions range from educational workshops with guest speakers, competitions, team building skills, and practice interviews.

I was able to attend the Pharmacy Poster Competition on Thursday night. The students were given a prompt written by the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences regarding the dangers associated with unused medications and how to dispose of them. The prompt explained the options of how to dispose of medications through community drug take-backs, and at home by mixing in coffee grinds, kitty litter or in some instances flushing some down the toilet. They were provided information about using resources to look up how to dispose of medications using the FDA website and how to find drug take-back events on the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day website. The students had three hours to construct a poster using their own materials. After they had finished, their poster would be evaluated using a rubric with three sections: overall presentation, educational value, and quality of work. The top twenty posters would be posted around the halls of the conference.

Before attending this event, I had no knowledge of the HOSA Organization, and how it provides great insight and opportunity for the youth of the community to explore some career options. Looking back at my high school experience I would have appreciated what HOSA provides. Being exposed to what options are available would have helped shape my career path earlier on in life. This event was very rewarding and is a fantastic opportunity for students to be exposed to the topics in the healthcare profession. I encourage youth to take advantage of these opportunities in hopes of determining a career in the future.

This post contributed by CU Pharmacy student Jhani Williams 

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