On-campus pharmacy opens at UH-Hilo


A new on-campus pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo isn’t expected to give Longs Drugs anything to worry about, says Pharmacist in Charge Mimi Pezzuto.

“It’s like the size of a small room, like the size of a cabinet, and I’ll only be there two afternoons a week … filling 10 prescriptions a week, tops,” she said.

Despite its size, the collaboration between faculty of the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy and Student Medical Services is expected to improve health care options on campus, while also providing hands-on learning opportunities for pharmacy students, Pezzuto said.

“This gives our students the ability to see the rationale behind the prescriptions. Why the nurse practitioner chose the drug she did, and the diagnosis associated with it,” she said. “It’s part of who they are as a professional, with no pressure, no intimidation.”

Having a licensed pharmacist on hand as she has worked with staff to prepare the pharmacy has already proved to be a helpful addition.

Recently, Pezzuto was present when a student arrived in the midst of an asthma attack. She and clinic staff were able to administer medication, according to a UH release. Another student came in complaining of migraines, and “after a discussion with her doctor, it was determined her headaches may not be migraines, and alternate medication regimens are being examined,” the release stated.

“Those are the kinds of opportunities pharmacists should have but often don’t because of demands on their time,” Pezzuto said. “But this is the whole idea of being a clinical pharmacist.”

Pharmacy students will have direct contact with patients on campus. They will also be able to give patients vaccinations under supervision.

The not-for-profit clinic will primarily be available to students, but an affiliated family planning clinic may also provide a training ground for students in the pharmacy program.

Pezzuto is planning an Oct. 13 concert fundraiser, with proceeds to help expand Student Medical Services.

“We help our students plan several health fairs throughout the year on every major island in the state, and that helps remind us of our purpose, which is to help the community in which we live,” she said. “I’m really excited to find opportunities on campus where we can do the same thing.”

Email Colin M. Stewart at cstewart@hawaiitribune-herald.com.