Attending the ASHP Midyear Meeting: A Student’s Perspective

“Are you going to Midyear this year?” It’s a question asked hundreds of times every fall semester, typically by P3 and P4 students in the ASHP-SSHP chapter at UCSOP. For those unfamiliar with the Midyear ASHP meeting, it is a massive gathering of health-system pharmacists and pharmacy students. This past December, the national meeting was held in Anaheim, CA, with over 20,000 pharmacy professionals attending. The meeting itself spans multiple days and includes seminars and presentations appropriate for both students and practitioners. While the event is a great place to socialize with fellow professionals, it is also an incredibly nerve-wrecking experience, especially those applying for residencies.

Students interested in residency programs after graduating from pharmacy school often attend the residency showcase, which allows students to interact with residency directors from programs across the nation. This is a great time to network and get to know the programs that you may be applying to in the future. P3 Jennifer Byerly attended the Midyear meeting and had this to say about the experience:

photo 1

Jennifer Byerly (P3) and Temeka Lewis (P4) presented a posted on their experiences in Haiti

“As a P3 student, I was given the chance to explore what Midyear had to offer.  I plan on attending the residency showcase next year, so seeing the chaos beforehand was beneficial.  I was able to go into the residency showcase and walk around on the last day to see what it would be like for next year.  I see how applicants interacted with residents and what types of questions people ask to the programs and their residency directors.  Since I had some free time, I was able to sit in on different seminars regarding CV’s, letters of intent, and the scramble.  They were helpful because I won’t need to feel like I’m missing out on anything next year.  The highlight of my experience was presenting a poster about the Haiti medical mission trip along with Temeka Lewis. By doing so, I was able to spread what we do here at UC to other schools and residents.”

Another incredibly popular event within Midyear itself is the Clinical Skills Competition. The competition includes 2 students from each school of pharmacy from across the nation. The teams are all given the same patient case and asked to develop a treatment plan. UCSOP’s team for 2014 consisted of Melanie Hackney and Joshua Hapney, both P4 students. They have both generously agreed to comment on what they thought of the competition and how future participants should prepare.

“A trip to midyear is always filled with a mixture of excitement and nervousness, especially for those going as a part of the Clinical Skills Competition. There seems to be no way to really prepare yourself for what they will give you. Topics can range from pediatrics to oncology to infectious diseases. The competition is set up nicely, you have plenty of space to work and references to use — though it can be difficult having to share the iPad to use Lexicomp. My advice for students going to the Clinical Skills Competition is to read over past cases to see what little nuances they will be looking for such as nonpharmacological therapies. Also, I would recommend on reading over common guidelines — hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes, heart failure– because your patient will most likely have at least one of these disease states. The most important part of it all though is to have fun, this is not something to stress over particularly if you are also there looking at residency programs.  My favorite part of the whole experience was the excitement leading up to the competition, all of us were very anxious to see what the topic could possibly be!” –Melanie Hackney (P4)

“The National ASHP Clinical Skills Competition at Midyear in Anaheim, California was a great experience. This was my first time attending Midyear and the number of activities, pharmacists, and pharmacy students present was overwhelming. The competition itself was highly organized. Winners from various pharmacy schools competed at different times throughout the day. We were contacted well in advanced from ASHP with information pertaining to the competition. My partner, Melanie Hackney, and myself arrived to be welcomed by ASHP staff, which assisted us with registration for the competition. We then were placed in a room with other competitors where I was able to interact with pharmacy students from across the country.  The competition started with an overview of the rules and scoring process. A video case was presented followed by us moving to a larger room to complete the written portion.

I prepared for the competition by reviewing the rules and regulations posted on ASHP’s website. In addition, I reviewed clinical practice guidelines on various disease states.  However, it is difficult to prepare for something such as this because there is no way of knowing what the case will be on. My best advice would be to read as much as you can prior to competition day and then do the best you can in the time given. In addition to the clinical skills competition, I was able to participate in the residency showcase where I met with residents and residency directors from various programs. Midyear was a fantastic experience and I recommend that everyone participate in the clinical skills competition, even if you are a P1 or P2, as it is a valuable learning experience. “ –Joshua Hapney (P4)

P4s Brandi Sugonis and Jennifer Leslie presenting a poster on Cancer Prevention.

P4s Brandi Sugonis and Jennifer Leslie presenting a poster on Cancer Prevention.

P4 John Muller presenting his poster at Midyear

P4 John Muller presenting his poster at Midyear.








A special thank you goes out to Jennifer Byerly, Melanie Hackney, and Joshua Hapney for taking time out of their busy schedules to help with this topic!

Contributed by Peter Relvas UC SOP Pharmacy Student & Graduate Intern, Office of Professional and Student Affairs.

UCSOP SSHP Chapter wins National Video Competition

The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy (UCSOP) student chapter (SSHP) of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) was named the national winner of the first ASHP Pharmacy Practice Model Initiatives (PPMI)video competition.  The video was judged on content, quality of production and overall final product.  The judges stated the message delivered by the video exceeded that of other submissions.

The group was recognized during the Student Society Showcase and Awards Ceremony at the 2014 Midyear Clinical Meeting in December in Anaheim, CA.  The student chapter (SSHP) received a certificate and PPMI Video Award.  The video is featured on the PPMI Video Competition webpage of the ASHP website and the UCSOP website.

UCSOP faculty, students and staff involved in creating the video included:  Jennifer Byerly, Josh Dunn, Jelena Radan, Felix Tan, Vivian Ugboh, Albert Won,  Mrs. Jane Condee, Mr. Ryan Jenkins and Dr. Christopher Foley.

ASHP’s Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative (PPMI) aspires to transform how pharmacists care for patients by empowering the pharmacy team to take responsibility for medication-use outcomes. – See more at:

You can also view the video on our Facebook Page: 

Script Your Future Continues!

The campaign with the goal of encouraging patients to take their medications reliably and responsibly is officially underway! As promised, the Script Your Future committee has delivered an impressive schedule with over 16 different events, many over the span of multiple days.

The committee is utilizing an interdisciplinary approach, and there are at least 25 pharmacy students involved, as well as many physician assistant students. This method allows members from different areas of the health care system to work and communicate together. This affords the patient a better and more unified treatment and experience. Professor Melissa Garrett, from the Physician Assistant Program, has been instrumental in organizing the PA students, while Dr. Susan Gardner, Ms. Jamie Bero, and P2 John Robinson have rallied the pharmacy students.

PA and PharmD students spreading the message about medication adherence.

PA and PharmD students spreading the message about medication adherence.

Appalachian Regional Hospital Educational Booth!

Appalachian Regional Hospital Educational Booth!







Supporting the School of Pharmacy’s Mission Statement, events have been aimed at targeting under served, rural communities. Individuals in these committees often have difficulty accessing reliable health care information and professional help. To aid in the Script Your Future initiative, the committee has helped at-risk patients receive the proper education to help ensure medication adherence is achieved.

Not only did the committee focus on rural community outreach, but also attempted to incorporate more technology into events. For various health fairs and booths, students were encouraged to bring their iPads with them to help further patient education. Patients are being asked to take a pledge on the Script Your Future website using the iPads, promising that they would continue to take their medication correctly.

Below is the schedule for the entire Script Your Future campaign:

Date Event Activity Timeframe Persons Responsible
January 20 Appalachian Regional Hospital (Beckley) Patient Education 1pm-4pm UC Pharmacy & PA Students/Professor Garrett (PA)
January 21 UC Student Involvement Fair Booth with information & computers for students to Take the Pledge 11:30am-1:30pm UC Pharmacy Students
January 22 Rural Health Day at the Legislature Booth with information & computers for attendees to Take the Pledge 9am-1pm UC Pharmacy & PA Students/Ms. Bero
January 22-February 22 Fruth Pharmacy (OH, KY, WV) Education materials in all prescription bags and all Fruth locations Coordinated by UC Pharmacy Students/Dr. Bennett
Week of January 26 (National Drug Awareness Week) Tweet-A-Thon Take the pledge and tweet us @UCSOP with #UCSYF Week-long Coordinated by UC Pharmacy & Pre-Pharmacy Students/Dr. Gardner
January 31, February 7 & 28 UC Basketball Games (Eddie King Gymnasium at UC) Booth with information & computers for attendees to Take the Pledge (raffle items) UC Pharmacy Students/Ms. Bero
January 31 Ripley Health Fair Health fair along with SYF information UC Pharmacy Student Organization
February 2 American Heart Association Day at the Legislature Booth with information & computers for attendees to Take the Pledge UC Pharmacy & PA Students/Ms. Bero
February 3 American Lung Association-Lung Force Breakfast (Embassy Suites) Booth with information & computers for attendees to Take the Pledge UC Pharmacy Students/Dr. Gardner/Dr. Easton
February 6 Go Red for Women Event at UC (Health Fair and Speaker) SYF/Medication Adherence information with patient discharge papers Health Fair in Rotunda 8:30am-12pm; speaker 12:15-1pm Erma Byrd Gallery (Riggleman Hall) UC Pharmacy & PA Students/Ms. Bero/Dr. Lucas/Ms. Smith/Professor Garrett/Dr. Gardner/Dr. Simon
February 10 Highland Hospital’s Health Education 101 (Advance Health Care at UC) Presentation on Medication Adherence followed by opportunities to Take the Pledge 6-7:30pmRoom 105 of the Pharmacy Building Dr. Gardner
January & February 2015 Hispanic Community Outreach Wallet cards to area restaurants UC Pharmacy Students/Dr. Gardner
February 23 Pharmacist Day at the Legislature Booth with resources, computers to Take the Pledge & Health Fair 9am-1pm UC Pharmacy Students/Dr. Lucas, Ms. Bero & Dr. Gardner/Ms. Smith
February 24 Ranielle Medical Center Patient Education 1pm-3pm UC Pharmacy & PA Students/Professor Garrett
January & February 2015 Ohio Obleness Health Hosptial SYF/Medication Adherence information with patient discharge papers UC Pharmacy Students
February 2015 New River Community & Technical College (new location in Beaver, WV) SYF/Medication Adherence information with patient discharge papers UC Pharmacy Students/NRCTC Nursing and Medical Assistant Students/Dr. Gardner (Crystal Pak, P2)

For more information on the events contact: Dr. Susan Gardner, Assistant Dean for Professional and Student Affairs,, 304-357-4879.

For more information about medication adherence:

Contributed by Peter Relvas UC SOP Pharmacy Student & Graduate Intern, Office of Professional and Student Affairs.

Reflections on Martin Luther King Jr. Day–Pharmacies, Pharmacists and Civil Rights

Students who took the History of Pharmacy at UCSOP in Fall 2014 know that Soda Fountains played a major role in American History. In fact, soda fountains, typically located inside pharmacies were central to the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself participated in soda fountain protests and cited the sit-ins as a major force in the civil rights initiatives particularly in the Southern United States.

In addition to soda fountain sit-ins, pharmacists throughout the U.S. were instrumental in fighting for civil rights—some long before the soda fountain sit-ins—all made contributions to civil rights, humanity, and the profession.

  • Aaron Henry, a pharmacist from Clarksdale was elected head of the Mississippi NAACP in 1960
  • Henry Rutherford Butler, a respected physician and pharmacist in Atlanta, Georgia was a pioneer in medicine and health care for African Americans during the late 19th and early 20th centuries
  • 1948, Chauncey I. Cooper, dean of the College of Pharmacy at Howard University, became the founding president of the newly formed National Pharmaceutical Association. Cooper’s vision for the new association was to help minority pharmacists enter the mainstream of American pharmacy. In addition to his duties as dean and leader of the National Pharmaceutical Association, Cooper waRobert Gibsons active in the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Pharmaceutical (now Pharmacists) Association (APhA) and the Washington District of Columbia Pharmaceutical Association, where he served as executive director for 11 years.
  • In 2006,Robert D. Gibson was awarded pharmacy’s highest honor, the Remington Medal, making him the first African-American to receive it. Gibson’s career as an educator at the University of California, San Francisco, was hallmarked by his efforts to gain inclusion for all minorities.

Learn more about these contributors to the history of our country and the profession by accessing resources available through the Association of Black Health Systems Pharmacists at:

Learn more about the historical importance of soda fountains and pharmacies in relationship to Civil Rights by visiting:

Have a contributor you’d like to recognize? Please add them to the comments section of this blog post.

Contributed by: Dr. Susan Gardner, Assistant Dean for Professional and Student Affairs/Assistant Professor (Course Coordinator for PHAR 546: History of Pharmacy)

Starting the New Year Off Right: Script Your Future Challenge

SYF challenge3

“And the Script Your Future campaign is off!” Script Your Future is a nationwide initiative that challenges students in the health profession to inform patients about their medications and how to achieve positive medical outcomes. Sponsored by the National Consumers League, the campaign runs through January and February. This is the third year that University of Charleston School of Pharmacy (UCSOP) has participated in the event, and has received national recognition in the past.

Three disease states are being specifically targeted during the challenge: asthma, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Coincidentally, those same three disease states are the most common in West Virginia. University of Charleston’s student pharmacists and student physician assistants will be working in conjunction to help patients in their community remember to take their medication, as well as ensuring the medication is taken properly.

Medication adherence involves:

  • Filling a new prescription or refilling an existing prescription
  • Completing the course of medication as prescribed
  • Taking the correct amount of prescribed medication
  • Taking medication at the prescribed time

Only approximately 50-60% of patients take their medications correctly, and 125,000 individuals die every year from taking their medications incorrectly. Based on these figures, there is plenty of room for improvement in medication adherence!

This is where the student pharmacists, student physician assistants, and other healthcare workers and institutions come into the picture. Students will promote medication adherence at a variety of health events throughout West Virginia and Ohio. The theme will be RxSolutions to help patients make a resolution to adhere to their medication regimen. Some of these activities include:

  • Encouraging community members to make a New Year’s Resolution to take their medication as prescribed
  • Placing medication adherence literature in prescription bags at Fruth Pharmacies and Advance Healthcare @UC
  • Conducting patient consultations at Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital and Rainelle Health Center
  • Organizing a community wellness fair at the UCSOP Go Red for Women event, February 6, 2015
  • Reaching the community through social media, including a week-long Tweet-a-Thon January 26-February 2, 2015

Once more, UCSOP is showing just how important community outreach is to a student pharmacist’s development and education. Interacting with the public is an essential aspect of our profession, and helping individuals improve their medical outcomes with proper medication adherence is our top priority. Based on this information, we are sure the Script Your Future campaign will be a success once more!

For more information on the events contact: Dr. Susan Gardner, Assistant Dean for Professional and Student Affairs,, 304-357-4879.

For more information about medication adherence:

Two More Student Professional Organizations Welcomed to UCSOP!

Did you know that the UCSOP pays for students to belong to a professional organization of their choice? And, the list of organizations to join just got larger! Two new professional organizations are available and they’re looking for members. Marco Custodio (P3) and Joshua Dunn (P3) have both been working diligently towards establishing the Student College of Clinical Pharmacy (SCCP) and the Student Society for Science Based Medicine (SSSBM). After receiving approval, both organizations are officially open for UC Pharm.D. students to join!

Below are two excerpts from the founding members to give individuals a look into what they should expect.

P3 Marco Custodio

P3 Marco Custodio

“The mission of the ACCP-SCCP is to provide leadership, professional development, and resources that enable prospective pharmacists to achieve excellence in practice, research, and education. This organization aims to help students with an interest in clinical pharmacy. We will intend to offer information to help students determine in what area they may be interested and what is the best way to achieve your ultimate career goals.” -Marco



P3 Josh Dunn

P3 Joshua Dunn

“The Student Society for Science Based Medicine is an organization that is dedicated to helping students effectively communicate scientifically sound healthcare information to professionals as well as the general public. Our mission is to help students hone their research skills and provide a venue to practice (and improve) science communication. Members of the Student Society of Science-Based Medicine will also be members of a national organization dedicated to, among other things, providing a central resource for communication between individuals and organizations concerned about Science-Based Medicine. We are currently working on our blog as well as our YouTube channel, where you can expect to find accurate info presented in an entertaining and easy to understand way.” –Joshua

If you are interested in learning more about these organizations, feel free to contact Marco Custodio ( or Joshua Dunn (

Contributed by Peter Relvas UC SOP Pharmacy Student & Graduate Intern, Office of Professional and Student Affairs.

Holiday Season: The Gift of Finals, Stress, and Camaraderie


This gallery contains 6 photos.

The holiday season brings a plethora of emotions for most pharmacy students as pressure builds due to the semester ending and finals quickly approaching. UCSOP recognizes this stress and tries its best to help students unwind. This year during finals … Continue reading

Stepping Out of the Classroom: A Visit to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

On November 1st, students currently enrolled in PHAR 535 (Introduction to Psychiatric Pharmacy) and 546 (History of Pharmacy) were treated to one last Halloween fright! Students and their professors visited the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (TALA) in Weston, WV, which currently functions as a haunted house by night and educational, historical landmark by day.


Exploring the TALA Pharmacy

The lunatic asylum housed individuals from West Virginia and surrounding states from approximately 1864 until 1994. Patients were placed in the asylum for multiple reasons ranging from snakebites, childbirth, and of course, mental instability. The tour featured multiple buildings located on the more than 300-acre grounds currently owned by the Jordan family, who bought the asylum in order to preserve a piece of history and prevent its destruction.


Walking the halls . . .

Students participating were able to step back in time and view medical treatment for psychiatric illness from a historical perspective. In addition, students visited the remnants of the asylum’s pharmacy, an onsite museum where both medical artifacts depicting psychiatric treatments and remedies of the past, and a gallery of patient artwork. The goal of the visit was to allow UC SOP student pharmacists to view the progression of psychiatric treatment from the mid-1800s to today.

“During the tour, I was able to see how much the field of medicine has changed throughout the years. Located on the grounds is a hospital, as well as an old pharmacy, which depicted many of the drugs and instruments used during the time the asylum operated. The experience was interesting and did a wonderful job of showing us just how far we as medical professionals have advanced over the past few centuries. Personally speaking, I am thankful to have had the opportunity to visit a piece of West Virginian history and to see how different things were years ago. I recommend visiting this institution for those who are medical personnel or even just seeking an adventure.” -Chadrick Small (P2), PHAR 546

“Visiting TALA was a unique experience that I was able to attain through my Psychiatric Pharmacy course. Attending TALA enabled me to see just how far medicine has come since the opening of the hospital. One of the most interesting facts I learned while in Weston was how women were admitted into lunatic asylums in the early 1900s. Women could be admitted to the hospital for whatever reason her husband deemed fit. Examples of reasons included wives reading too many novels or talking too much. I was surprised by this information because although I knew that women were not considered equal to men at that time, I did not realize that husbands were entitled to treat their wives so poorly. Overall, I greatly enjoyed visiting TALA for a tour of the facility. It was an interesting experience that I most likely would not have gotten if it had not been for my Psychiatric Pharmacy course. The experience expanded my knowledge of the history of psychiatric medicine and I am happy to have had the opportunity to attend.”  –Jenny Long (P2), PHAR 535

Learn more about TALA by visiting:

Contributed by Peter Relvas UC SOP Pharmacy Student & Graduate Intern, Office of Professional and Student Affairs

UCSOP Promotes Diabetes Awareness

The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy is always looking to bring health awareness to its surrounding communities. Luckily, UCSOP is privileged to have students who passionately share this interest. This past week, a total of thirteen students and two faculty members reached out to six local high schools to try and make a difference in our community. Students teamed up and presented for approximately 15 minutes on a myriad of topics including obesity, diabetes, and the pharmacy school admission process.

On October 30th, P3 student, Juhee Kim presented at Charleston Catholic High School with P1 Glenda Athus and Dr. Susan Gardner, Assistant Dean of Professional and Student Affairs. “This was the first time I really got to interact with high school students who plan on going into the healthcare field. I felt like a pharmacist, educating individuals on the dangers of diseases and it was a satisfying experience to say the least,” said Kim.


P3 students Rend Hermiz & Al Fein role model a diabetes management discussion to students at George Washington HS in Charleston on Oct. 28 while P3 student, Jelena Radan facilitates.

Dr. Gardner, who also attended a session earlier in the week at George Washington High School, commented, “One of the things that makes our program so special is the commitment our students have to health education and community outreach.” The events are part of a month-long diabetes awareness initiative. And so, the topics of discussion at the high school sessions pharmacy school admission and UCSOP’s upcoming Diabetes Awareness Day, scheduled for November 8th. The UCSOP sponsored event consists of free cholesterol tests, blood pressure screenings, and diabetes risk tests. Pharmacy students will also share informative displays, make presentations, and offer door prizes.

Pharmacy school admission was another common topic of discussion for the high school audience, and UC campus tours will be offered during Diabetes Awareness Day on Saturday. The high school students asked questions pertaining to the different roles of pharmacists and the future of the profession. Current pharmacy students and Dr. Gardner were more than happy to answer questions and help outline the journey to becoming a pharmacy student, and ultimately, a pharmacist.

Community outreach programs, like those mentioned above, help pharmacy students develop their communication, clinical, and leadership skills, while helping local residents live healthier lives. UCSOP’s ability to offer such opportunities makes it a great choice for students looking to give back to their communities and help advocate good healthcare. Stay tuned for more updates on how UCSOP and its dedicated pharmacy students continue to make a difference in their community! And, please join us on Saturday for during our Diabetes Awareness Day!



Contributed by, Peter Relvas, UCSOP P3 student and Graduate Intern in the Office of Professional and Student Affairs. 

The UCSOP Fellows Program

Are you interested in gaining and strengthening your leadership skills while completing pharmacy school? If so, the UCSOP Fellows Program would be a great opportunity to consider. Upon acceptance to UCSOP, students with a 3.25 undergraduate GPA and a 50 or better on the PCAT, are invited to apply and interview for this scholarship and leadership program. Ten students from the incoming class of student pharmacists are selected to participate each year.

2018 Fellows

Class of 2018 UCSOP Fellows

In order to be eligible to interview for the program, students must meet the GPA and PCAT requirements and score well during their on campus admissions interview. Only students interviewing for admission prior to December 2014 are eligible.

If these criteria are met, admitted students are invited to complete an essay on one of several topics offered, and a phone interview with a faculty or staff member and a current Fellow. Once these activities have been completed, the admission subcommittee reviews all information to make their recommendations to the Dean. The Dean then notifies students receiving acceptance into Fellows Program.

As a Fellow you will have numerous opportunities to enhance your leadership skills. These opportunities include, but are not limited to: assisting at interview days and open houses for prospective students, attending state pharmacy conferences, participating in leadership luncheons, and completing a group research project. One of the more difficult requirements to continue membership in the Fellows Program is to maintain a culumative grade point average of 3.25 or higher during your time at UCSOP. To be eligible for the funding portion of the program, these requirements must be completed. The $15,000 scholarship is divided into two disbursements (December and May) and is awarded at the end of the semester after verification of the completion of requirements and GPA.

As mentioned, one of the requirements to be a Pharmacy Fellow is to complete a research project. Below we have shared information regarding the two recent research projects that are being completed by the current Fellows.

Fellows Project 1: Pseudoephedrine Survey –One of the ongoing Fellows research projects is a survey of pharmacists and pharmacy students about pseudoephedrine sales.  As you may know, pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient in methamphetamine, and there has been a great deal of debate about whether or not it should be sold over-the-counter.  It is an especially dire problem in West Virginia.  In 2013 alone, West Virginia law enforcement shut down 530 meth labs.  Another 207 have been seized by July of this year alone.  Prominent pharmacy chains such as CVS and Rite-Aid have already discontinued sales of single-ingredient pseudoephedrine in West Virginia.  There are also tamper-resistant formulations, such as Zephrex-D, that have recently become available.

The purpose of this survey is to gauge the opinions of pharmacy professionals, as well as pharmacy students, regarding over-the-counter sales of pseudoephedrine.  As drug experts, it is our duty as pharmacists to lead on issues such as this, especially when they affect so many people in our state, whether directly or indirectly.  Forming a consensus within the profession will then allow us to then go on to advise our legislators about the next step in combatting the methamphetamine epidemic.  This survey provides only a small part of gleaning such a consensus.

Fellows Project 2: Sepsis Survey–One of the missions of the University of Charleston Pharmacy Fellows is to conduct research that can impact the health and well-being of our community. West Virginia is an overwhelmingly rural state, and many West Virginians receive emergency medical care from Critical Access hospitals. These hospitals have no more than 25 beds and must provide emergency care, be able to stabilize trauma patients and ship critically injured or grievously ill patients to larger hospitals.

Interestingly, folks in rural areas often delay seeking medical care, and when they do finally make it to the hospital they can be in worse shape than their urban counterparts. This can impact survival rates of serious conditions such as stroke, heart attack, and sepsis. Sepsis mortality is on the rise in recent years as evidenced by data presented in the following article:

Gaieski DF, Edwards JM, Kallan MJ, Carr BG. Benchmarking the incidence and mortality of severe sepsis in the United States*. Critical care medicine. 2013;41(5):1167–74. Available at:

From the Sepsis Mortality article 2013 – “In fact, by our most conservative estimate, using the methods of Dombrovskiy et al (13), there were 229,044 deaths from severe sepsis in 2009, which would place severe sepsis as the third most common cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and malignant neoplasms.”

These data, along with the increased incidence of sepsis in rural populations shows that critical access hospitals can impact sepsis treatment in a positive and meaningful way.

Starting in the spring of 2014, supported by the West Virginia Rural Health Association, the UC Fellows embarked on a project designed to assess the effectiveness of sepsis treatment at all of West Virginia’s Critical Access Hospitals. This research is designed to identify hospitals that have sepsis order sets and treatment protocols in place, as well as assess the effectiveness of these institutions and their ability to diagnose and initiate treatment of sepsis within one hour of patient presentation.

Each of the Fellows involved in this research project received research training and received certification from the National Institute of Health (NIH). This research is currently in process, with additional data being collected during the fall of 2014. We expect to have preliminary results by December. This research will help critical access hospitals identify areas of improvement, implement proven sepsis treatment strategies, and reduce overall sepsis mortality in the state.


Sarah Bostic, Aaron Dailey & Josh Dunn (Class of 2106 UCSOP Fellows)

What our students say about the Fellows Program:

My name is Sarah Bostic and as a P3 Fellow I have had many opportunities to assist in activities at UCSOP. Going back in time to when I was offered admission, I almost didn’t accept the invitation to join the Fellows Program. When I received my admission letter from UCSOP, stuffed inside was the opportunity to apply for the Fellows Program. I was so excited about being accepted at UC that I forgot to complete my essay until about a week before the due date! If I hadn’t remembered, I would probably still be kicking myself for being so stupid and not applying to the program!! The Fellows Program has allowed me to be involved in ways that I never would have been on my own. For example, assisting with the interview days has allowed me the opportunity to give advice to prospective students along with hopefully relaxing the students before their interviews. It has been enlightening to have a P1 student come up to me and say “Hey, I remember you from my interview day; you gave me a tour of the building!” This opportunity has been a blessing for me over the last several years. While it has been difficult at times to manage the requirements, it has made me a better person and student. I would highly encourage you to apply if you have the opportunity.

Hi. I’m Josh Dunn. The Fellows Program has helped me to become the best pharmacy student I can possibly be. The high academic standards combined with the research/community service requirement has helped me to focus on not only learning the material presented throughout the pharmacy curriculum, but applying that knowledge in a practical way. I’ve had opportunities to network, gain valuable clinical care experience and present at state meetings. In short, it’s been awesome!

This blog post was contributed by P3 Fellows and Student Pharmacists, Sarah Bostic, Aaron Dailey, and Josh Dunn.