Provider Status for Pharmacist

Several members in the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy community come from rural hometown settings. Coming from a rural background has provided each of us with unique opportunities as well as obstacles. For me personally, my hometown has one stop sign, one gas station, and the closest hospitals are forty-five minutes in either direction. The lack of access to quality health care is evident in the southern Appalachian coal fields. Diseases like diabetes, COPD, and heart disease run rampant in these areas, and I personally believe that if small communities like my own had better access to health professionals, we could possibly see a decline in these disease states. What makes my hometown unique is that we have four pharmacies serving our community. If pharmacists could obtain provider status, communities like mine would have so many new opportunities to improve their health outcomes. After all, the wellbeing of our patients is the main concern for all health care providers.

Pharmacists are unique in the healthcare field because we have extensive medication knowledge. We know how medications work, how they interact, and what to keep an eye on in our patients. Pharmacy schools are now training students to have more clinical backgrounds which can mean wonders for overall patient care. We are being taught to read labs, perform more tests, give more immunizations, acquire deeper understandings of disease states, and yes spend more hours with our noses in our books. Because of this, we are an incredibly underutilized resource for managing several disease states. Patients managing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, coagulation therapy, etc. that undergo frequent medication adjustments would benefit greatly from someone with our medical expertise. We would not only be able to ensure that our patients were receiving the correct medication at the correct dosage, we would also be able to help lighten the burden on the already overworked providers. It’s easy to see that we are experiencing a major decline in primary care providers which is only adding further burden on our emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, and worst of all, our patients.

In conclusion, allowing pharmacists to obtain provider status would not only benefit other health care providers, but it would also provide more accessible healthcare for our patients. Through this, we can add another crucial resource for managing common disease states and in return improve health outcomes as well as remove some of the load on our surrounding hospitals and doctors’ offices. It is for all the afore mentioned reasons that I, as well as many other students who share my background, are so passionate about this next step in the profession of pharmacy. We took an oath to serve our patients and our communities and this would allow us to better fulfill that responsibility.


Contributor: Danielle Hoff

CPFI & ACCP Join Together for Trunk-or-Treat Event

Christian Pharmacist Fellowship International (CPFI) and American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) participated in the Trunk-or-Treat event at the Kroger in South Charleston on October 29th for American Pharmacist Month. The overarching theme of this event was the promotion of The Teal Pumpkin Project. The Teal Pumpkin Project was launched as a national campaign by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) in 2014.

FARE's Teal Pumpkin Project

FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project

FARE’s mission is to “improve the quality of life and health of individuals with food allergies, and to provide them hope through the promise of new treatments.” The idea of this project is to allow every child (with or without food allergies) to experience the tradition of trick-or-treating on Halloween, but in a safe way. At these events only non-food treats are offered such as glow sticks or small toys. In 2015, households from all 50 states and 14 countries participated. To take part in your home next Halloween—just place a teal pumpkin at your doorstep and FARE provides free printable signs to explain the meaning.

At this event, CPFI’s trunk theme was football, while ACCP decided to be superheroes. We provided the children glow sticks, fake insects, plastic jewels, and “Mr. Yuk” stickers. The “Mr. Yuk” stickers allowed us to explain to parents that it’s important to keep dangerous household (cleaning supplies, medications, insect repellants, etc) items away from their children. An easy way to do this is by placing a “Mr. Yuk” sticker on those items to alert the child that it is unsafe. As kids came to our trunk, we played beanbag toss, bowling, and other fun games. A member of CPFI also made a poster for American Pharmacist Month and this helped us to explain why UC students were participating in this trunk-or-treat.

CPFI & ACCP Students at the Trunk-or-Treat event.

CPFI & ACCP Students at the Trunk-or-Treat event.

The poster opened up conversation about the importance of recognizing food allergies and how pharmacists can play a role in their allergy management. Those with food allergies are not only affected by what they can or cannot eat, but they must also be cautious about what medications they take as well. Although many people are unaware, some medications are made from food-sources. Examples of some medications made with foods include: inhalers made with peanuts and flu shots made with eggs. It is important to mention all allergies to doctors and/or pharmacists to avoid any dangerous reactions.

Over 200 kids came to the event and we were able to talk to many of their parents about household and medication safety. With this being such a success, we hope to continue participating and make this an annual CPFI tradition.

For more information about FARE’s project, you can visit

Contributed by Sydney Sowell, CPFI Secretary, Class of 2019

Pharmacy Organizations: Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International

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. 

Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International is a national organization of pharmacists that seek to honor God in our pursuit of a pharmacy career and as we serve as pharmacists. A phrase we like to share with our members is “We are Christians who are pharmacists, not pharmacists who are Christians”. By this phrase we mean that we seek God first in our daily lives and because of that we will be more efficient in our jobs serving our patients. We have organized several events to serve the community but also to serve our fellow pharmacy students.

Pictured from left: Betty Kizito, Rebekah Dunham, Jamie Huff, Eric Tong, Taylor Cox, Kelcey Duerson, Chadrick Small

Pictured from left: Betty Kizito, Rebekah Dunham, Jamie Huff, Eric Tong, Taylor Cox, Kelcey Duerson, Chadrick Small

One event was Trunk or Treat at Gateway church. We dressed up as the Flintstones and handed out candy to the children along Mr. Yuk stickers and poison control pamphlets to the parents of the children. We were able to meet, and give valuable information to many families. .

Another event including serving the children of impoverished countries by participating in Operation Christmas Child. This is an international organization that allows children who would not otherwise receive a Christmas gift to be able to open a present on Christmas and to hear the name of Christ. Operation Christmas Child collects shoeboxes filled with toys, treats, hygiene items and many other things these kids enjoy and delivers them on Christmas. Our chapter of CPFI collected donations from members of our organization, as well as the rest of the school to provide 24 shoeboxes! Through Operation Christmas Child we will soon be notified of what country our boxes were sent to, and we will better be able to pray for the children we have had the privilege of serving. Below are pictures of our pharmacy and pre-pharmacy students packing boxes to send the children.

On the right, Dr. Leah Hall along with CPFI Members and the 24 boxes we were able to pack for needy children.

On the right, Dr. Leah Hall along with CPFI Members and the 24 boxes we were able to pack for needy children.

One group of people that we have gotten to serve this semester is a group that is often forgot about by Christians; ourselves. One thing we have enjoyed the most over the semester have been the monthly meetings that we hold where we get to take just an hour out of the day to pray together and fellowship. Being a part of this organization has been a blessing to all who have been involved thus far, and we look forward to serving our patients and the community more together in the days to come.

Contributed by: Kelcey Duerson (CPFI member, class of 2019).

Student Pharmacists Enjoy a Unique Spring Break

This week has started out with another snowy Monday, and students are beginning to look forward to warmer weather and spring break trips.  But a group of UCSOP student pharmacists have chosen a different path for their spring break.  During spring break 2013, 4 students joined a mission trip to Haiti through a local church and our CPFI chapter, and this year UCSOP students have the opportunity to participate in the mission trip again.  Class of 2016 student Jenny Byerly writes about her experience last year in Haiti during spring break.

Jenny: Last spring break I had the opportunity to attend a medical missions trip with Help Haiti Know Jesus Ministries through Gateway Christian Church.  This was an amazing opportunity offered to the University of Charleston.  Through this medical mission trip, myself and 3 other UCSOP students were able to extend our knowledge outside of the classroom.

UCSOP students Jenny, Temeka, Alex, and Aaron

UCSOP students Jenny, Temeka, Alex, and Aaron

The trip to Haiti took 3 plane rides and a 12-hour ride on the back of a truck.  Let me tell you, the trip was no easy task.  The roads in Haiti are nothing like the roads here in the U.S.

Road in Haiti

Road in Haiti

UCSOP Students Ride in the Back of a Truck from Airport to Haitian Town

UCSOP students ride in the back of a truck from airport to Haitian town

This being said, none of us imagined what we would actually see and experience during this trip but the outcome of it was unbelievable.  Throughout the week we were able to set up 5 different clinics and reach over 900 Haitians, providing care to what we may consider easy fixes, such as the common cold and flu.  During the week my classmates and I were able to master taking blood pressures, heart rates, and temperatures.

Alex Tate taking a patient's blood pressure

Alex Tate taking a patient’s blood pressure

UCSOP student pharmacists work at the pharmacy table during their mission trip

UCSOP student pharmacists work at the pharmacy table during their mission trip

Also, each one of us got to experience the process of diagnosing patients based on their chief complaints.  Some of the disorders/diseases we diagnosed were worms, yeast infections, high blood pressure, scabies, ring worm, elephantiasis, and breast cancer.  We treated each case as best we could and explained to each patient, with the help of our translators of course, how to use their medications properly.

Through this trip I was able to experience the beauty of both Haiti and its people and provide a wonderful service while applying the material I learn in class every day at UCSOP.   This trip will most definitely be offered to UCSOP students again and I highly recommend it.  It is truly a life changing experience and will benefit your life both emotionally and spiritually through the devotions of Pastor Paul.  It will provide ways to begin thinking out of the box helping to enhance your pharmacy skills.

Jenny with one of the kids from the Haitian church the group attended

Jenny with one of the kids from the Haitian church the group attended

The entire group on the mission trip

The entire group on the mission trip

The group at the beach in Haiti

The group at the beach in Haiti

This year Class of 2017 student Vanessa Chavarria is going on the mission trip for the first time.  When asked why she is choosing to participate in this type of spring break trip, she said, “The reason why I chose to participate in this mission trip is because I have always wanted to help less fortunate people and also spread the love of Christ while doing so. What I am looking forward to the most is being able to actually help these people feel better, just knowing that I might have saved a person’s life is more rewarding than any recognition. And the only thing that I am worried about is the adjustment when I come back. I am a very affectionate person and coming back to everything we have here will be a reality check, but as a future pharmacist this is something that I will have to be able to learn how to cope with.”

Vanessa Chavarria, Class of 2017

Vanessa Chavarria, Class of 2017

Good luck to those leaving for Haiti in March (only 4 weeks to go)!  Wishing you safe travels, warm weather, and the ability to help many people!

CPFI Chapter Receives National Award

Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International (CPFI) won the national student Chapter of the Year for the 2012-2013 school year.  They also received the UCSOP Organization of the Year.  During the October 29, 2013 convocation, the group received their award from a national representative of CPFI. 

Congratulations CPFI!


UCSOP faculty member Dr. Michelle Herdman interviewed Adam Brumfield, and Adam provided some information about CPFI’s mission and activities. Adam was President of the UCSOP CPFI chapter during the 2012-13 school year, and will be serving as Vice President of the student chapter and Mid-Atlantic Regional Director in 2013-2014. Allison Richmond is UCSOP chapter president for the 2013-2014 school year. Dr. Shelley Schliesser (not pictured) is the faculty advisor for the chapter.

Dr. Herdman: What does it mean to you for your student chapter of CPFI to be given the national Chapter of the Year award?

Adam B: This is a tremendous honor and I share it with the members who were instrumental in making this year so successful for CPFI. They truly showed what it means to integrate faith into the pharmacy practice. God has truly blessed our organization and I am very proud of what we have accomplished.

Dr. Herdman: What do you find the most rewarding about being an officer in CPFI?

Adam: It is very rewarding to be an officer in an organization that not only helps develop my leadership skills, but also allows me to integrate my Christian faith into the pharmacy practice.

Dr. Herdman: What will CPFI be up to this coming school year?

Adam B: CPFI will once again be hosting Brown Bag events and participating at health fairs. We will also have our annual Fall Treat Bags, Adopt-an-Angel, Operation Inspiration, and Easter Egg Hunt.

The mission of CPFI is to serve Christ and the world through pharmacy. Our chapter strives to meet this mission in every way possible. CPFI is known for providing Brown Bag events at local churches where we counsel patients on their medications, offer blood pressure screenings, and provide blood glucose monitoring. CPFI also partners with Charleston Homeless and Street Medicine to help homeless individuals. Our members go on rounds and we have several fundraisers to support their work. During finals week, CPFI publishes inspirational quotes and Bible verses that are sent out to the students. During Easter, we place Bible verses in Easter eggs for students, faculty, and staff to find. CPFI is also active with Operation Christmas Child and Adopt-an-Angel. It is important for our organization to share our mission with others in these simple ways. Last August, our chapter hosted the CPFI Student National Retreat, which garnered members from six different schools of pharmacy. Some of our CPFI members were even able to serve on a medical mission that went to Haiti over Spring Break (we will read about this in a later blog post!). This was a great opportunity for our chapter to integrate faith into practice on an international level. CPFI works hard all year long to meet our mission and our efforts are noticeable in the community. CPFI impacts many lives and as an organization we will continue to work hard to keep this tradition alive.