Monday, September 15, 2008

A Friendly Neighborhood Drugstore: UBC Students Design a Pharmacy for Women in Canada’s Toughest Neighborhood

From UBC Reports:
Call it a paradox of the Downtown Eastside.

The eight-block area has more pharmacies per capita than any other Vancouver neighborhood, but many female residents still leave to get their prescriptions filled.

According to Magali Bailey, a UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) graduate student, it boils down to a problem of design. The prescription, says Bailey and others from the neighborhood, is Canada’s first social enterprise pharmacy for women, which opens its doors next month thanks to the design and fundraising efforts of 13 UBC students.

“Most area pharmacies are better at dispensing methadone than health information, because that is how they have been designed,” says Bailey, noting that the jump in pharmacies coincided with the city’s heroin-replacement program launched in 1997.

With barred windows and pharmacists behind plexiglass, Downtown Eastside (DTES) pharmacies are worlds away from London Drugs or Shoppers. Most are small and provide little privacy to discuss health issues, a major drawback as pharmacists are many residents’ primary -- and sometimes only -- link to the health care system.

“Many residents, especially women, looking for health information say they find existing pharmacies to be increasingly inhospitable,” says Bailey, who has been studying DTES pharmacies since 2007, when her professor Inge Roecker was approached by the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective (VWHC) to design a centre for women’s health and wellness.

The result is Lu’s Pharmacy for Women, a culmination of SALA’s first community service learning (CSL) initiative. CSL is a teaching model that offers students opportunities for civic engagement through volunteer service and academic work. UBC’s goal is to engage 10 per cent of the university’s students in CSL each year. ...more

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Will this pharmacy be selling methadone?