Students Provide Classes on U.S. Medication System to Newly Resettled Refugees

Emily Keeler
Students describe a medication label to newly resttled refugees.

For many refugees and immigrants new to the United States, the American healthcare system can be confusing and daunting. If they are not fluent in English, this can compound the problem. Pharmacy students at Ohio State are trying to help these refugees through targeted health system classes offered at the Kroger Pharmacy on Morse Road.
Each month students meet with refugees, resettlement staff and an interpreter to explain topics such as how medicine is classified, how to read a prescription label, and how to use a pharmacy in the United States. Information is also distributed on how to obtain translation services when they visit the pharmacy. This class allows the attendees to not only learn the process, but also offers a chance to ask questions in a friendly environment.
Laura Smith from US Together, a refugee resettlement agency that helps refugees find employment, said the experience is valuable to their introduction to America.
"Many of the refugees come from Bhutan and have been living in camps. They have not had the chance to use a pharmacy like we have here in the United States. This is something that people tend to overlook. It is something they all need, especially for those with families. It’s helpful to come first when they don’t need services, so when they do need that help they are able to access it."
US Together was established in 2003 to help refugees resettle in the US by providing English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, employment services and educational workshops--including pharmacy--to help them better understand living in the United States.
To learn more about the program, contact Helen Kim at