Associate Professor Prudencio is focusing on the growth of curriculum at UH Hilo’s pharmacy college and on providing pharmaceutical students with field work early in their academic career.
An associate professor of pharmacy who began his studies at the age of 15 has received tenure at his alma mater, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.
In addition to his teaching at the UH Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy on therapeutic topics and patient care, Jarred Prudencio also is chief of experiential education and serves as a mentor to students who, voluntarily or through the research certificate program at the college, conduct research projects. Prudencio also researches ambulatory care and includes his students in caring for patients at his pharmacy practice at Hilo Medical Center. (See full bio.)
“I want students to get exposed to all areas of pharmacy so they can, one, understand what they are learning in the classroom, and two, be able to explore their career interests early on,” he says. “When you can see what you are studying in action, everything becomes more relatable.”
Prudencio started in the field of pharmacy at 15 years old when he began working part-time at Shiigi Drug Health Mart Pharmacy, a locally owned pharmacy in downtown Hilo. This job sparked his love for the field and he worked there until graduating from the College of Pharmacy in 2015.
After obtaining his post-graduate residency and teaching certificate from the University of California, Davis, Prudencio returned to Hilo to give back to his community. He has been with the UH Hilo pharmacy college for almost six years now and contributes to the school and the community through his teaching, mentoring, and research.
Prudencio also is a practicing pharmacist at Hilo Medical Center’s out-patient clinic, where he includes his students in his work with patients. This gives students hands-on experience in dispensing medication and ensuring the medication best suits each patient’s unique needs as an individual.
Using the security of tenure to continue his current work in pharmaceuticals and with the college, Prudencio is focusing on the growth of the college’s curriculum and aims to provide pharmaceutical students with more hands-on and in-field experiences earlier and more consistently in their academic career.
Research into ambulatory care
Along with his teaching and pharmacy practice, Prudencio specializes in ambulatory care, which he believes “is a progressive and very expansive area of pharmacy.” In this area, pharmacists work in a traditional doctor’s office where they work side-by-side with doctors and nurses to decide what medications should be prescribed.
“We are the medication experts of the healthcare team,” he explains. “Even though two patients may have the same condition, every body is different. The same medication is not going to work for everyone.” This is why having a pharmacist in-office, although not absolutely necessary, is very beneficial for patients.
Prudencio’s work highlights and justifies the benefits of having a pharmacist in clinics. With publications such as “Diabetes-Related Patient Outcomes through Comprehensive Medication Management Delivered by Clinical Pharmacists in a Rural Family Medicine Clinic” (Pharmacy-Basel, July 2020), Prudencio shows the hard data that having a pharmacist in clinics is beneficial to overall patient outcome.
He hopes his work in expanding ambulatory care practices will create jobs for future students and graduates.
The key to teaching millennials
Another area of expertise for Prudencio is in using innovative education techniques to aid in overall student success. He focuses on the use of newer avenues such as social media to aid in students’ knowledge retention and overall student performance.
“I felt that I had a unique perspective being of the same generation of my students,” he says. “I decided to lean into the trope of millennials always being on our phones.”
In his article, “Instagram as a tool to enhance pharmacy student learning of ambulatory care pharmacy” (Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, February 2021), Prudencio compares the outcome of student performance of students who engaged with his Instagram account and those who didn’t. The Instagram account was an optional venue for students to follow or not. It posted no new information, only visual summaries and repeats of material taught in class. Prudencio found that students who engaged with the account had higher test scores than those who didn’t.
This data showed the value in using avenues such as social media to connect with students. He feels that social media has an abundance of benefits when used as an educational tool. He plans to use the security of tenure to continue his research in innovative education techniques, testing which methods work and which do not. He aims to continue to “try things out” with the goal of discovering which techniques improve the quality of the pharmacy college’s curriculum.
Giving back to his hometown has always been a goal of Prudencio’s. “I am super excited our college is here in Hilo, we are very involved.”
Prudencio proudly shares that the students of the college have continued to give back to the community through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic through online services such as educational webinars where people can learn about medications or chronic conditions.
“In many ways Hilo is considered rural and there is a need for local healthcare providers. Having this group of future healthcare providers here in Hilo is really going to meet the needs of the community.”
By Elena Espinoza, an English major also earning a certificate in teaching English as a second language.
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