Students Visit Capitol Hill

When applying to a pharmacy school, students must consider the plethora of opportunities the school can offer them. “What can this school offer to me? Why UCSOP instead of another school?” One of the reasons the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy is often chosen is because of its focus on a small, tight-knit community as well as its efforts in advocacy. Students are encouraged to advocate for their profession, and help push health care forward,  locally and nationally.

Katie Oliver and Brian Hancock on Capitol Hill

Katie Oliver and Brian Hancock on Capitol Hill

Proactive students, like Katie Oliver (P2) and Brian Hancock (P2), make the most of these opportunities. When offered the chance to travel to Washington, D.C., the two jumped at the possibility to meet with congressmen and women. The goal was to educate Senators and Representatives on the benefits of granting pharmacists “provider status,” which would expand a pharmacist’s role and allow them to be paid for various new services. Katie’s reflection of the event gives upcoming students an idea of what a student-pharmacist can accomplish.

Katie: “I was recently given the opportunity to visit Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. where I met with several congressman in order to advocate for Pharmacist Provider Status. I was provided the opportunity through Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists, a national student pharmacist organization that is available for membership at the University of Charleston.

I am grateful to have had this experience because it taught me the importance of advocating on behalf of the profession of pharmacy. Throughout my visit I was able to have a personal meeting with four United States congressmen regarding provider status for pharmacists in medically under served areas, a topic that could drastically change health care as well as pharmacist-patient interactions.  The congressmen were very responsive and interested in our views, most importantly how Provider Status for pharmacists would impact the lives of our patients.

After our visit to Capitol Hill, numerous additional congressmen signed on as cosponsors to the corresponding Provider Status bill. The experience revealed to me that many congressmen unfortunately do not have a background in health care. This is why it is imperative that we advocate on behalf of our profession and patients. I would strongly encourage any student or potential student to become involved in advocacy events. Change can be seen based on a few citizens’ actions.”

Thank you to Katie Oliver for helping with this post! Keep up the good work!

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

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