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:

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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: 

UCSOP Students Run Marathon


Carissa Dotson (Class of 2018), Ms. Jamie Bero (Director of Student Affairs), Hannah Roadruck (Class of 2017) and Kathleen Jackson (Class of 2017)

When I was in middle school I competed in my first cross-country race and found a passion for running. Not only do I still enjoy running, I generally find competing in all sports as a lot of fun. I love staying active and being healthy in order to be a good role model to others. As a student pharmacist, I would like to positively impact my patients and people in the community in the sense that everything is possible when you put your mind to it. When my roommate, Michaela, mentioned the completing of a marathon coming up in conversation back in April, I jumped at the opportunity to accomplish that goal. I had already successfully completed 2 full marathons and 1 half marathon during my undergrad at UT Austin so I already knew what it took to make it happen. Neither she nor another good friend of mine from school, Hannah, had ever done that long of distance before so they were also determined and trained for the half marathon.  Just like being in school and in the professional world, it is important to properly prepare for a big event being a marathon.

Training for the marathon was in fact challenging in the sense that it was a time constraint trying to balance the rigorous workload of pharmacy school and maintaining my relationships with family and friends, however, overall it was a very satisfying journey. There are many different training schedules one can follow but I thoroughly enjoyed the one I did. No matter what, I made time for and followed my schedule strictly. It was very important to me that I followed my schedule because I was determined to be able to finish the marathon feeling strong. Therefore, the schedule that I followed was running 3 miles every other day and long jogs on the weekends. I tried doing the 3-mile runs Monday-Wednesday-Friday but that occasionally changed according to my schoolwork. Then as I’ve previously mentioned, the weekends were where my long jogs came in. Even though I started running short distances in April, I did not start training for long jogs until I got to school in August. I started with the first long jog being 4 miles, the last weekend of August then every weekend thereafter increased by 2 miles. The farthest I went in training was 20 miles, which landed on the weekend prior to the race. The feeling of accomplishing the 20 miles was pretty much the same feeling I had after finishing the 26.2 miles of the marathon. The difference was that several friends came to support me during the marathon so it made it all the better.

Even though at the time I thought time was an issue, it helped me plan everything accordingly. The main reason of accomplishing the marathon was because I want to lead by example and show everyone that living a healthy lifestyle is important. Eating right and exercising is something I feel comfortable with discussing with patients. If I could do the training and preparation for the marathon all over again, I absolutely would and it’s exciting to think about possibly accomplishing another marathon in the future.

Contributed by: Kathleen Jackson, Class of 2017

In mid July my friend, Kathleen, told me that she and her roommate, Michaela, were going to run in a marathon on November 1st. She wanted to know if I wanted to run with them and I said, “I have always wanted to do a marathon, but I think I should try half first before I run a full marathon.” So I began training for the half marathon. It was difficult at first. I had to find a training schedule that would be close enough to what I would need to make it the full 13.1 miles. I finally found a training schedule that I liked. Training helped me learn about my self mentally and physically. I had to really get my time management down since I was trying to train for the 13.1-mile run and go to school at the same time come August. Finding the time to do long runs was difficult but I managed to make time and in the end it all paid off. I even ran the half-marathon faster than I had anticipated.

I think that doing something as demanding as a marathon or even a half marathon is a great way to be a positive example for any patients I will encounter as a student pharmacist and later as a pharmacist. It takes dedication to really go through with something like this. It shows people that you can do what it takes to follow through with the decisions you make, even when life gets in the way. Sometimes it can be hard to make time to go on a longer run, but you know you have to do it otherwise you will not be prepared to finish the race. This also shows others that you can practice what you preach. It is hard for people to believe you when you tell them that they can be active and healthy when you don’t “look the part”. By running this race, and by running in future races, it proves that I can practice what I preach. I can prove that time can be made to be active, and you can eat healthy and replenish your body with the proper nutrients that it needs.

I can be difficult to stick to the training schedule and some days you just do not want to go for the 7 mile run, or a 10 mile run, and then the 12 mile run, etc., but when you are actually participating in the race, and then you finally cross that finish line, it all becomes worth it. To accomplish something that you have worked so hard on, and to do it with people who support you and are going through the same things you are is really an experience you cannot understand until you do it yourself. The self-gratification is so amazing and it just builds your confidence in yourself on a physical level and an emotional level.

Contributed by: Hannah Roadruck, Class of 2017

I am very excited to have finished my first half-marathon. This in itself is a great accomplishment, but for me it was more of a moral victory. I love to run, I really do. As I told Dr. Dennis Flaherty when I interviewed for my position as the Director of Student Affairs … when I’m running that’s my time. No one can touch me when I am out there. It’s a mind clearing experience; a stress reliever and a contributor to weight loss J Why is running or anything physical important to me?… I think it helps role-model healthy behavior. Something our student pharmacists realize that they will be in their communities.

Why was this half-marathon a moral victory?… I had retired from long distance running nine years ago. I ran my 30th marathon (Marine Corps in Washington, DC) with the mind set that… yeah, my knees did hurt and this was a long way to run, and included paying an entry fee just to get a medal. I completed my first marathon after an injury and had very limited training, but within a couple of weeks was anticipating my next race. Subsequently, my goal was always to beat my best time. Before my fourth marathon, I had seen the qualifying standards for the Boston Marathon (the gold standard for marathon runners). I needed a 3:40 (three hours and forty minutes for the 26.2 mile course). Based on the progression (or digression) that I was thinking about, my fourth marathon should be run in about 4 hours… as I ran one voice kept saying go, go, go… you can do it while another voice kept saying 4 hours, 4 hours is your goal. Finally, I had to kick that second voice to the curb and I finished in 3:38. Ultimately, I ran Boston fives times, including the 100th running of the Boston Marathon.

Back to the Marshall Half-Marathon and my strategy on running long distance… I think distance running has a very large mental component. If you think you can, you can (just like The Little Engine That Could).. Sure, you have to train, but this can vary by person. PSGA President Kathleen Jackson was diehard with her training this past summer/fall. She put in a lot of mileage and included one LONG run every week. In the peak of my distance running career, I ran five, hilly miles every day and one 8-10 mile run the week before the actual marathon. Liking to run is also a benefit. If you don’t like to run, then role-model fitness and take care of yourself with some other activity. I had mini goals throughout the race, like running the first eight miles and seeing how I felt, or passing the runner in the orange shirt. I finished this race AND it got me back to running. I am considering the Athens Marathon in April. Like I said… I do love to run and having a goal will get me back out on the course.

Contributed by: Jamie Bero, Director of Student Affairs

A few years ago, I started running in order to live a healthier life. At the time, I didn’t think I would ever really enjoy running or want to run more than a few miles a day. I was actually intimidated by running. A local running group quickly inspired me to run and complete my first 5k. I started building up to running 3.1 miles and the feeling of accomplishment was amazing. After talking with several runners I wanted to run longer distances and eventually run a half marathon. With this goal in mind, I started training and finally ran my first half marathon in June 2014. Crossing the finish line 13.1 miles later was amazing. The satisfaction after completing my first half was incredible. It made it all worth it. Needless to say, running has become my new passion, as the Marshall half marathon was my fourth half marathon and a new PR for me. This race was very special to me as I witnessed my mother complete her first half marathon also! I look forward to training for my next big race and improving my health along the way.

Due to the big course load in pharmacy school, it was difficult at times train for this race. I strategically planned my training runs and tried to follow them as closely as possible. A training run was my time to clear my mind and get away from the stresses of pharmacy school, as well as a way to stay healthy and active.

As a student pharmacist and future pharmacist, I believe that it is important to be a role model to our patients. We should be an advocate for healthy lifestyles, not only by promoting that lifestyle but living it as well. Physical exercise is very important for our patients, as it can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.

Contributed by: Carissa Dotson, Class of 2018