Imagine the panic and feeling of helplessness if you are injured and cannot explain to emergency personnel what is wrong. These thoughts prompted West Virginia University School of Pharmacy students to develop a communication tool that emergency responders can use when they are trying to help someone who doesnt speak English or someone who has a speech impairment.

The communication tool is an 11-inch by 17-inch board that features images that could help someone indicate to an emergency responder where they are hurt and their level of pain.

The communication board will be presented to local emergency responders at the Granville Fire Department at 7 p.m. Tuesday (Feb.19).

The pharmacy students worked closely with Monongalia County Literacy Volunteers on this communication initiative, which is being introduced during Literacy Awareness Month.

Fifty percent of the population that we serve is non-English speaking,said Susie Huggins, Monongalia County Literacy Volunteers representative.We worked with the pharmacy students to help raise awareness about the trials non-English speaking community members face in a health care crisis.

We hope that the board will assist emergency responders in communication with patients,Heather Leezer, a second-year pharmacy student, said.Being able to communicate your medical needs is vital to better patient care. We hope that this project is able to provide members of our community with the help and care they need.

The communication board project is sponsored by the WVU School of Pharmacy, West Virginia Center for Civic Engagement, Literacy Volunteers and Cheat Lake Pharmacy.

For more information about the WVU School of Pharmacy, visit