Student Duo Selected for SIMS Program

Second year pharmacy students Andrea Laguado and Samuel Palka have been selected to gain a unique understanding of the disease of addiction by attending a summer institute sponsored by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

The two will each spend a week at the foundation’s treatment center in California where they shadow patients, family members, and care givers at the prestigious clinic known as a national leader in addiction studies and treatment. The program also includes classroom instruction and clinical observations.

The experience includes an in-depth, up-close look at addiction including information about bio-psycho-social-spiritual aspects of the disease, evidence-based and holistic approaches to care, and the Twelve Step recovery principles and practices.

The Summer Institute for Medical Students (SIMS) program is one of several programs for medical students designed by the foundation to build awareness of addiction, a disease that strikes one in 10 Americans over the age of 12. The SIMS program has been expanded in the past few years to allow students in other healthcare fields, such as pharmacy, to participate.

The two students were among the 400-500 applicants who sought a spot in the 2016 summer program. Last year, pharmacy student Michael Mirdjani was the first College of Pharmacy student selected to participate in SIMS.

Thanks to private donations, the program is made available at no cost to the student participant. Our College’s goal is two $4,000 Fellowships to support students in 2017. Individuals interested in making a donation to the college in support of students attending the SIMS program should contact Susan Brown in the college’s development office at (512) 475-9759 or via email to