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Creighton University Health Sciences Partners with First Place-Phoenix for Flu Shots

Nov 10, 2021
5 min Read
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TIm Ivers Flue Shot

“Hi! Are you here for a flu shot?”

This question was asked by Creighton University School of Pharmacy professor Timothy Ivers, PharmD, to an adult resident at First Place – Phoenix, a supportive community development that serves adults with autism and other neurodiversities. Although this may seem like a typical question, the need for health prevention and vaccines can be a hard concept for those in the autistic community to understand and rationalize.

“We help residents appreciate that caring for health is a part of everyday life, and that includes preventative health,” said Maureen Casey, director of the Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Center for Public Policy and Colonel Harland Sanders Center for Applied Research.

As part of a partnership between First Place AZ and Creighton University Health Sciences Campus – Phoenix, community residents receive their flu shot in a familiar setting and are given additional support to understand the vaccine and the side effects that may occur. They also see how their peers experience the vaccine.

Prior to receiving a vaccine, First Place residents are required to attend a mandatory education event to learn about the shot, potential side effects and how to distinguish if a side effect is “normal” or not. They are then given the opportunity to consent or assent (depending on guardianship) to receiving the flu shot.

Approximately 30 flu vaccines were administered to the residents of First Place by School of Pharmacy and Health Professions faculty and staff. Omaima Al Garaawi, a first-year pharmacy student, volunteered at the clinic to observe the flu shot process and how it can be administered to individuals who have unique needs.

“This is just the beginning of our relationship with First Place and a flu clinic is a great place to start,” said Ivers.

Creighton University will continue making a positive splash in the Phoenix community, especially in the autistic community. Beginning in January 2022, Creighton’s pharmacy and occupational therapy faculty will be working alongside First Place residents to provide pharmacy medication history and occupational therapy support.

“This collaboration helps build a supportive community culture so that health care providers not only understand autism but people with autism through its many forms and expressions,” said Denise D. Resnik, president and CEO of First Place AZ. “Our partnership with Creighton University offers valuable insights into the life of health science students while providing them with experiences that deepen their understanding of neurodiverse populations and appreciation for the challenges inherent in navigating systems of care.”

With a home campus in Omaha, Nebraska, Creighton is the largest Catholic health professions educator in the nation and the only Catholic university with two comprehensive health sciences campuses. Students enrolled in Arizona experience the same rigorous, comprehensive education as their Omaha-based counterparts.

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