Student-led pharmacy project aims to destigmatize depression

At the start of 2023, Wayne State University American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) student leaders Shannon Habba (P3) and Lorden Kassab (P4) received the NABP/AACP District IV Future Pharmacists grant for their project #ATimeToTalk: A Strategy to Destigmatize Depression in a Community Pharmacy Setting.

PharmD students
Above: Doctor of Pharmacy candidates Shannon Habba (left) and Lorden Kassab. 
Top, from left: Student pharmacists Samantha Jaboro and Rosemary Hermiz, Dr. Brittany Stewart, student pharmacist Shannon Habba, Dr. Susan Davis and Dr. Joy Fakhouri, Meijer pharmacy manager.

With the support of their faculty mentor, Assistant Clinical Professor Brittany Stewart, and biostatistician, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice Kyle Burghardt, Habba and Kassab developed a program to offer student pharmacist-led depression screenings in partnership with Meijer Pharmacy in Livonia.

APhA-ASP partnered with WSU Counseling and Psychological Services Associate Director Patricia Dixon, who provided Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to equip student pharmacists with the necessary skills to provide mental health services and education to patients in the community.

A total of 25 APhA-ASP student pharmacists, seven Meijer pharmacists and three WSU Applebaum pharmacy faculty members became certified in MHFA.

PharmD student
Doctor of Pharmacy candidate Obioma Opara.

In June and July 2023, APhA-ASP student pharmacists conducted 12 depression screening events at Meijer Pharmacy and successfully provided screenings, counseling, mental health education and referral resources to positively impact 70 patients in the community. 

Habba and Kassab presented the project findings at the District IV NABP/AACP Annual Meeting in Chicago in September 2023 and at WSU Applebaum College Research Day in October 2023, where they were presented with an Outstanding Research Award.

Community pharmacy practice is evolving to provide more patient-centered clinical services. Through hard work, this initiative serves an example of how a pharmacist-led service can promote positive mental health outcomes in the community.

“This project stands as an exceptional testament to the profound impact our students wield within our community when they pursue their passions,” said Pharmacy Practice Chair and Associate Clinical Professor Lynette Moser. “Their dedication embodies Wayne State’s core values and has significantly expanded our university’s influence in the community, a feat unattainable solely through the efforts of our faculty.”

PharmD students
Kassab and Habba during WSU Applebaum College Research Day.

The Doctor of Pharmacy program at Wayne State University is a four-year curriculum in the heart of Detroit. Approximately 100 students are enrolled in each year of the program. WSU Applebaum information meetings for prospective students take place at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month. The application process for the Doctor of Pharmacy program begins each July.

An anchor in urban health care

The Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is built on more than 100 years of tradition and innovation in the heart of Detroit. We have grown deep roots in our city, harnessing its powerhouse hospital systems and community service organizations as vibrant, real-world training grounds for students, with an ongoing focus on social justice in health care. And our research at all levels – from undergraduates to veteran faculty members – translates into creative solutions for healthier communities.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering approximately 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 24,000 students.

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