Penobscot Student, Jillian Kerr, Receives National Award for Work with the Wabanaki People

Jillian Kerr (Penboscot) receives national award

Jillian Kerr (Penobscot) receives national award

Published April 26, 2916

BANGOR, MAINE — Jillian Kerr, a tribal citizen of the Penobscot Nation and student at Husson University’s School of Pharmacy, will be presented with the United States Public Health Service’s Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Award at the school’s annual Scholarship Luncheon on Thursday, April 28, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. at the Richard E. Dyke Center for Family Business.

Assistant Surgeon General and Rear Admiral Pamela Schweitzer, Pharm.D., BCACP, with the U.S. Public Health Service commended Kerr in a letter for her work and leadership on the Diabetes Care Project for the Wabanaki people.

Schweitzer said that Kerr’s work demonstrated, “your passion and dedication to the profession of pharmacy and public health.” She also said that ‘through these endeavors, you [Kerr] illustrated the importance of incorporating core public health principles into today’s pharmacy practice.”

Diabetes among Native Americans is a significant problem. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Indian Health Service, the likelihood of American Indians and Alaska Natives to have diabetes is 2.2 times higher than non-Hispanic whites.[1] In addition, it is a growing issue for young people. From 1994 to 2004, there was a 68 percent increase in diabetes in American Indian and Alaska Native for 15-19 year olds.

The Diabetes Care Project was made possible through a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grant. Dr. Sarah L. Martin of the Husson University School of Pharmacy was a member of the team that secured the funding on behalf of the Wabanaki.

Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grants are designed to improve outreach and service delivery in local and regional rural communities. They also seek to expand the delivery of health care along with new and enhanced services in exclusively in rural communities. In doing this, these grants are helping to support improved health in rural populations.

“In rural communities, pharmacists are on the front lines of delivering healthcare. In fact, they may be the only healthcare providers close to where rural citizens live. Today’s pharmacists administer inoculations, help manage medications, and promote healthy lifestyles. We’re very proud of Jillian and the work she did with this rural community. She’s a great example of the kind of pharmacist we look to produce here at Husson University,” says Rodney Larson, Ph.D., R.Ph., founding dean of the Husson University School of Pharmacy.

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