During the month of April, UCSOP will be featuring our many student organizations. At UCSOP, we believe that co-curricular experiences (outside the classroom) allow our students to practice their pharmacy skills and serve our communities. 100% of our student body is a member of at least one organization and our students participate in over 25 community health fairs each year serving over 5,000 patients.
The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) national organization was founded in 1852. With 62,000 presently active members, it is now the largest association of pharmacists in the United States. Members of this organization include practicing pharmacists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmaceutical scientists. The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy is very fortunate to have a local chapter of this widespread national organization.
Locally, our APhA-ASP chapter at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy has over 100 student pharmacist members. Coincidently, it is also the largest student organization within the school of pharmacy. Having a lot of active members allows the organization to cover many different areas within the pharmacy field. One of our busiest and most exciting campaigns takes place annually in the month of October. Nationally, October is recognized as American Pharmacists Month. During this time, we as an organization sell American Pharmacists Month apparel, advocate publicly for the profession, and show our appreciation for the pharmacists and faculty that educate and prepare us for our future career.
Our APhA-ASP organization hosts an annual patient counseling competition. During this event, student pharmacists counsel a mock patient on a specific medication, and then UCSOP faculty judge each patient interaction and determine a winner. This exciting opportunity allows pharmacy students to have an authentic, valuable experience with professional feedback in a non-threatening environment. The winner also receives a paid trip to attend the APhA annual meeting in the spring, which is in Baltimore, MD this year. This is just one of many “perks” available to APhA-ASP members at the University of Charleston.
Within our chapter, we have many sub-committees that target different areas within the large umbrella of pharmacy. Operation Self Care, for example, educates students, pharmacists, and the general public on the significance of using over the counter medications safely and effectively. Similarly, GenerationRx provides information on prescription drug abuse, and the importance of taking the proper medication as prescribed. Other committees include Operation Immunization, Operation Diabetes, and Operation Heart
As with many major disease states, pharmacists can play an imperative role in preventing and managing cardiovascular disease. In 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine published a study demonstrating that collaboration between pharmacists and physicians resulted in better hypertension (high blood pressure) control. In 2014, 84 of the student chapters of APhA-ASP incorporated Operation Heart committees into their chapters, and we are hopeful that participation will continue to grow. Being the public’s most accessible health care provider, we as students and pharmacists should make an effort to educate our patients and advocate for our profession.
Contributed by: Celine Quevillon (APhA Secretary, class of 2017) and Lindsay Tincher (APhA Self-Care Co-Chair, class of 2017)