Creighton University Partners with First Place-Phoenix to Serve Autistic Community

The Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions has launched a partnership to support and serve adult residents at First Place-Phoenix, a supportive community development designed to serve autistic and neurodiverse adults.

Creighton University’s Health Sciences Campus Phoenix is committed to helping First Place fulfill its mission of supporting residents as they move toward more lifestyle independence.

“Independence – that’s the key word,” says Sarah White, a first-year occupational therapy student.

The Creighton students are working with First Place residents to review their medications as well as learn more about their daily activities. Throughout the conversations, they set goals and recommendations and build meaningful relationships.

In one particular instance, an occupational therapy student realized after reviewing medications that a resident was having trouble opening a pill case. A pharmacy student also noticed the medication was being filled and mailed from another state. Together, they recommended a local physician in Arizona to support medication needs and introduced a larger pill case with different mechanisms for opening it.

“I’ve learned so much by focusing on specific details – such as how I can maximize the effects of medications a patient is taking while my peers in occupational therapy help the patient figure out the best ways to perform tasks, like opening the bottle of medication,” says first-year pharmacy student Amy Aboalam. “It has given me perspective, and it’s humbling to see the thought processes of other professionals.”

Aboalam describes her experience as multifaceted. She says health professional students have the opportunity to support individuals with neurological diversities and to empower residents to be more independent. In addition, students are able to refine interviewing skills and build rapport with patients.

As the nation’s largest Catholic health professions educator in the country, Creighton University offers a distinctive approach within its various degree programs across the Health Sciences Campus in Phoenix, recognizing the role of faith in healing and the importance of seeing patients as individuals first. The partnership with First Place also allows for interprofessional education where students can collaborate with each other and learn from the interactions with the individuals they serve.
Creighton University last year opened the 195,000-square-foot Phoenix campus at Park Central in midtown Phoenix. The campus will be home to nearly 900 students by 2025.

Creighton University, founded in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1878, is one of 27 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S. The Omaha campus has more than 8,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students among nine schools and colleges. No other university its size offers students such a comprehensive academic environment with personal attention from faculty-mentors. The new health sciences campus in Phoenix, which will accommodate more than 900 students, is the largest expansion outside of Omaha in Creighton’s history and positions the University as the largest Catholic health professions educator in the country. Creighton is ranked in the top third of National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.

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