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May 27, 2020

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ONU pharmacy students bringing music therapy to Vancrest

Project serves the community and provides students with invaluable practical experience

Several Ohio Northern University College of Pharmacy students will provide music therapy to elderly residents of Vancrest of Ada, Thursday, Dec. 5. 

The event is part of an ongoing effort involving ONU pharmacy students utilizing music therapy to treat patients with Alzheimer’s dementia and symptoms associated with it such as agitation, anxiety and depression.

This is the third year of the endeavor, and it involves more than 50 students in the student chapter of American Society of American Consultants (ASCP) this semester. 

The music therapy outreach helps ONU pharmacy students learn the benefits of a non-drug approach to certain diseases as part of the expanding role of pharmacists.

“The part of the brain that stores memories is the last to be impacted by Alzheimer’s dementia, and through music, memories are often stirred that are otherwise inaccessible because of the disease,” ONU College of Pharmacy faculty member Kelly Reilly Kroustos said. 

The students perform a range of music, such as traditional Christian, country and western, and big band, with selections from such artists as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra and The Beatles.

The project serves the community and also provides the students with invaluable practical experience that extends learning beyond the traditional classrooms and labs.

“The skills the students learn from this experience are invaluable to them in their careers,” ASCP chapter advisor and ONU College of Pharmacy faculty member Kristen Finley Sobota said.  “Not only do they foster the human skills, which are important, but they learn to engage with elderly patients.”