Helping young children understand what a pharmacist does can be a challenge. So nine Butler students put their heads together and decided the best way would be to use verse.

The doctor gave me a prescription and said,“This will do the trick!Take it to your pharmacist andyou’ll feel better quick!”So we drove across town, and walked into the store.I had never been inside a pharmacy before.

Pharmacy & MeThat Seussian rhyme is contained in Pharmacy and Me ($14.95, Mascot Books), a new children’s book that’s a joint effort of students and faculty advisors from Butler’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, College of Education and Jordan College of Fine Arts.

The book, designed for 5- to 8-year-olds, shows a little girl with a sore throat journeying from the doctor’s office to the pharmacy, where she gets the medicine that cures her. The characters in the book are illustrated, but the drawings are set into photos of an actual pharmacy.

“We have a lot of younger women faculty who have small children, and they can’t really explain or articulate what it is that they do all day,” said Erin Albert, assistant professor of pharmacy practice. “We decided, after looking at the market, that there weren’t any great books out there for children about what a pharmacist is.”

So in April 2011, three students from each of the three colleges pooled their strengths — knowledge of pharmacy, language, graphic design and other skills — to create the book, which is now available in print at the Butler bookstore and electronically via Albert, elementary education instructor and Assistant Dean Angela Lupton and Associate Professor of Art Gautam Rao served as advisors for the students’ senior project, which they hoped would not only result in a book but would serve as an interdisciplinary experience.

That turned out to be exactly what happened. Laura Kramer, a strategic communication/art + design double major, said the collaboration “was somewhat of a challenge, learning that we all had different ways of thinking and processing ideas. It is the kind of challenge that we learn from and prepares us for real world situations.”

Pharmacy major Stacey Scheidler said some participants didn’t know what a pharmacist did on a daily basis. Some were unsure how best to communicate with children. Some had no background in design.

“But once everyone was on the same page,” she said, “working with the other students went much smoother because everyone was able to use their skills to help transform the ideas and thoughts into the final product.”

Pharmacy and Me is a first, but not a last. This spring, the College of Business joined in, and two students from four colleges will be putting together a 2013 senior project that teaches children about dealing with asthma.

Their work may take a different form, though — perhaps as a game, smartphone app, ebook or something else. The College of Business students will be doing a market analysis to figure out the best way to present the asthma information. Proceeds from Pharmacy and Me will go toward the new project, and the business students will look at the possibility of crowd-funding future work.

But that’s next year. For now, the nine students — Amber Anderson, Kelly Baumgartner, Julie Bickel, Mia Claretto, April Gauthier, Laura Kramer, Marissa Mahoney, Kelsey Sanders and Stacey Scheidler — and their advisors are basking in a job well done.

“I think we ended up with a fabulous children’s book that (hopefully) accurately portrays what community practice pharmacy involves,” Claretto said. “It is a book that is fun and engaging, with fabulous illustrations, and can also be used as a teaching tool.”

Media contact:
Marc Allan
(317) 940-9822

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