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 foodallegy.org/teal-pumpkin-project.

Contributed by Sydney Sowell, CPFI Secretary, Class of 2019

UCSOP Is Going Red For Women

Welcome to February 2017…. or shall we say Welcome to American Heart Month!

This means that here at UCSOP we are preparing for a month full of exciting and educational events geared towards cardiovascular health. With Script Your Future happening in full-force, what better way to expand our reach than to incorporate Go Red For Women into our message? UCSOP students and faculty are dedicated to promoting heart health among all persons and encourage everyone to take their medications as they are prescribed!Go Red For Women

Go Red For Women is a campaign that was established by the American Heart Association in response to increased heart disease and strokes among women. This campaign encourages awareness of the issue of women and heart disease, and also promotes action to save more lives. Go Red For Women challenges women to “know their numbers” or know their risk factors for getting heart disease, and also gives participants the tools they need to live a heart healthy life. Cardiovascular disease has numerous risk factors, but thankfully, many of them can be controlled via medications and/or lifestyle changes. Things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and elevated blood glucose all play a part in heart disease. This is why it is so important for women and men with these chronic diseases to take their medications as directed.

At UCSOP we will be participating in “Go Red for Women Day” on February 3rd, for which we encourage our students, faculty and staff to dress in red to support the cause! Our student organizations will also be hosting a variety of health fairs and tweet-a-thons promoting Go Red For Women.  Furthermore, we will continue to promote medication adherence as it fits in with cardiovascular health through our Script Your Future events. Stay tuned to our blog and other social media for updates on events regarding these causes!

Tips & Tricks for Applying for Residencies

Contributed By: Katie Oliver, Class of 2017, Phi Lambda Sigma Secretary

As a fourth-year student approaching the end of my time in pharmacy school, it finally feels like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! All of my time with didactic classwork and clinical rotations is quickly coming to a close. With that being said, there is still one thing hanging over my head – applications for PGY1 residency.

PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residencies are optional additional training after graduation with your Pharm.D degree. These programs provide recently graduated pharmacists with an opportunity to finely tune their clinical skills in real world practice. While you are able to practice independently as a pharmacist, you remain under the supervision of other pharmacists who are there to provide advice, constructive criticism, and clinical experience. It is estimated that completing one year of residency will provide you with clinical knowledge equivalent to 3 years of clinical practice.

If you feel that completing a PGY1 residency may be in your future, I wanted to provide some helpful tips and tricks, as well as some information I wish I would have known prior to applying:

  • Applications for PGY1 residencies exist almost exclusively on two online portals; PhORCAS and The Match
  • PhORCAS
    • Almost identical to PharmCAS. This is where you will upload your transcripts, letters of recommendation, letters of intent, CV, pharmacy schools attended, etc.
    • You will pay to submit your applications here, as well. PhORCAS costs $100. This price includes submitting applications to four programs. Every program you apply to beyond this costs an additional $40.
    • Fill out the online PhORCAS application fully. Do not rely solely on your CV to speak to your abilities and experience. Fill out every section of the PhORCAS application to the best of your ability.
  • Letters of Recommendation
    • Try to get references from individuals who have seen you practice clinically (e.g. preceptors) and who practice in similar settings to the type of programs you are applying to. (e.g. if you are applying to a program with an emphasis in infectious disease, try to get a letter of recommendation from a pharmacist who practices in this area).
    • Ask individuals if they would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation before you enter their information into PhORCAS. Once you enter their information it automatically generates and sends them an e-mail.
    • Letters of recommendation aren’t truly “letters” in PhORCAS. When PhORCAS sends the e-mail to the individual writing on your behalf, it is instead multiple short answers they answer in PhORCAS.
  • Letters of Intents
    • Individualize these to each program. Do not just speak about why you want to do a residency, but why you want to complete residency at their facility. Speak about what draws you to their program and why you feel you would benefit from it. Also, why would they benefit as taking you as a resident?
    • Make sure you format correctly! There are plenty of examples of PGY1 Letters of Intent on the internet.
  • Transcripts
    • Provide yourself plenty of time! PhORCAS will generate a document with you to print directly from their website that contains a barcode specific to you. You must then request your transcript from the university and have both of these documents mailed together. I would suggest starting this process several weeks prior to your applications being due.
    • Some programs require supplemental materials. Examples could include class rank, a photograph, undergraduate transcripts, etc. Pay attention to this!
  • The Match
    • This is where you submit your rank order list after you have completed your interviews. It is a separate website from PhORCAS. This is also where programs submit their rank order list of applicants.
    • The Match costs $150.
    • There are multiple phases of the match process. “Phase 1” and “Phase 2”. If you do not match with a program in Phase 1, you move on to Phase 2 for a second chance to match with programs who still have resident spots remaining. There is no additional cost for this.
    • If you do not match with a program in Phase 2, there is an opportunity to move on to the scramble process. This is provides a third opportunity to match with programs who still have residents spots remaining (it is completed in a much shorter time frame).

Applying for residencies is a stressful and difficult process, but definitely worth it in the end. If you are a current UCSOP student and have any questions about the application process, the faculty and staff at UC are more than willing to help!

Educating Charleston’s Youth About Safe Medication Practices

As first-year pharmacy students (P1s), we sign the Oath of a Pharmacist when we walk across the stage during the White Coat Ceremony. By signing this document, we are accepting the responsibility of utilizing our knowledge to serve the community. This year, the P1’s had the pleasure of using our knowledge to teach 5th grade students throughout the Charleston area about the dangers of misusing prescription medication by utilizing materials from Generation Rx.

In the past month, more than 6 million Americans ages 12 and older have taken a prescription medication for non-medical reasons. Drug overdose deaths, mainly from prescription medications, is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. Generation Rx’s goal is to educate our youth, college students, other adults in our communities, and seniors about enhancing medication safety in order to prevent them from being another statistic in the future of prescription drug misuse.

UCSOP Class of 2020 students celebrate safe medication use with 5th grade students!

UCSOP Class of 2020 students celebrate safe medication use with 5th grade students!

Being that West Virginia has one of the highest opioid abuse rates in the United States, it is vital to reach out to the children in our state and teach them the importance of using medications correctly while they are young. Our class was split up into twelve groups who would each present to one 5th grade classroom in two hour-long sessions. For the first session, we were given a PowerPoint to present that hit on all the core messages of Generation Rx such as not sharing medications, using medications as directed by a physician, proper medication storage, and being a good role model. In the second session, we were able to incorporate active learning activities for the students.

Overall this experience was truly rewarding. We wore our white coats to the presentations and you could tell the children wanted to hear what we had to say as a result. They were constantly participating and seemed to have fun while going through the PowerPoint. In order to see what information the children had retained, our group decided to play jeopardy with the class during our second session. I was impressed to see great improvements in their answers from our first presentation. It made me feel like we could actually be making a difference. If our presentation can prevent even one student from misusing medication in the future, then it can be considered worthwhile. Generation Rx is a very important organization and I think it is great that our school of pharmacy has become actively engaged with teaching it. I hope to continue partaking in events related to Generation Rx throughout my pharmacy school career.

Contributed by Glenn Schiotis, Vice President Class of 2020

APhA-ASP Mid-Year Regional Meeting 2016

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The American Pharmacist Association-Academy of Student Pharmacist (APhA-ASP) held its Mid-Year Regional Meeting, or MRM, for Region II in Somerset, New Jersey from October 21st to 23rd  2016. It was composed of students from all over the world representing twenty different schools and colleges of pharmacy from the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The APhA-ASP officers, Shelly Ray, the Regional Meeting Coordinator from Rutgers University, Nimit Jidal, the Regional Delegate from Rutgers University, and Laura Byrd, the Regional Member At-Large from the University of Maryland Eastern, directed the conference through multiple programs. Some of the programs included speakers on leadership, networking, Generation Rx, and medication safety.

One of the highlights of the conference was an impassioned speech about the past of a former drug user from the recovery program of the College of New Jersey. This talk helped us realize the importance of health care providers in society, and the impact we as pharmacists can have on drug abusers. Then, the CEO of Walgreens and Manager of Walmart shared their experiences and challenged us to improve our leadership skills and shared their advice on how to become successful leaders in the pharmacy profession. Another CEO and successful owner of many pharmacies flew in from California to come and share advice regarding how to become a successful owner of a pharmacy, as well.

A career expo offered opportunities for attendees to meet with representatives from all over the country and learn more about different fellowships and post-graduate opportunities. Raffle tickets were given out along with games which added some excitement, levity, and encouraged networking with our fellow attendees through competition. Throughout the meeting, members who have contributed to the success of their home APhA-ASP chapters were recognized, and our own Rachel Peaytt, President-Elect, was recognized for her hard work for the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy APhA-ASP student organization. This meeting also provided an opportunity for various student chapters to propose their ideas on new policies which were then discussed and voted upon to be brought to attention at the national APhA-ASP with the intention to improve the field of pharmacy. This meeting allowed connection between APhA-ASP members, promoted the development of essential pharmacy skills, provided a chance to learn from successful leaders, and encouraged members to continue to contribute to the pharmacy community all while perpetuating the APhA message: “Together We Can.”

White Coats on the Bridge

Every October is American Pharmacist Month and as such, the whole month is filled with activities at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy. Each pharmacy organization and class sponsors at least one American Pharmacist Month event to help spread the word and educate people regarding the different aspects of pharmacy.  From medication therapy management to administering vaccinations, it is pharmacist’s job to let people know that pharmacists can do so much more than just count pills!

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UCSOP students on the Southside Bridge, Charleston WV

This year, the class of 2018 in coordination with the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) student chapter and UCSOP Class of 2020, hosted an event called “White Coats on the Bridge”. On Tuesday, October 11th, student pharmacists from every current class at UCSOP and UC’s mascot, Mo Harv the Golden Eagle, gathered in their white coats on the side of the Southside Bridge between MacCorkle Avenue and Virginia Street in Charleston to help spread awareness and celebrate American Pharmacists Month. As people drove by on their way home from work that evening, students waved signs promoting UCSOP, encouraging people to talk to their pharmacist about their medications, and just supporting the profession of pharmacy overall.

The event took place during the beginning of flu-season, so students took advantage of the opportunity to encourage people to get their annual influenza vaccination. Using signs like “Don’t get spooked by the flu” and “Honk if You Got Your Flu Shot”, students were able to interact with the passers-by and educate them in a fast and effective way. My favorite sign of the evening however, simply said, “Honk if you love your pharmacist” and over the course of the two hours we were there, well over 300 cars let out a friendly honk as they drove by!

At UCSOP, we are constantly looking for new and different ways to educate patients on all of the different things that their pharmacist can do for them, and “White Coats on the Bridge” is something that we had never done before. Overall, it was a beautiful evening for the event, and we all had a ton of fun getting the word out about American Pharmacists Month in a new and exciting way. The best part though, was definitely the support we received from the public. As cars drove by, drivers and their passengers would honk and wave, and you could see the smiles on their faces. If nothing else, it felt good just knowing that a group of student pharmacists made an impact and brightened someone’s day. The hope is that this becomes an annual event that grows throughout the years at UCSOP.

Contributed by Ryan Nolan, Class of 2018 President

UCSOP ExRx Bootcamp a Success!

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High school students make ointment in the compounding lab

From June 21st through the 24th the halls of UCSOP looked very different with almost 30 high school and undergraduate students here for the 3rd annual ExRx- Experience Pharmacy Summer Bootcamp. These students were formally here to learn about UC and the profession of pharmacy as a whole but also to do what anyone at a camp wants to do- have fun! Favorite activities included compounding camphor-menthol ointment in the compounding lab with Mr. Ramirez, preparing sterile IVs with Dr. Embrey and Ms. Condee, and a photo scavenger hunt around campus which turned into a fierce competition to find as many UC Golden Eagles as possible. (The winning team, The Green Circle Group ultimately found 28!)

Campers came from all over the country. While a majority came from West Virginia we had people come all the way from New York, Florida, and numerous other states to participate. In addition to the hands on experiences, campers also got a feel for the more didactic classroom based portions of the Pharm D. program through sessions on the history of pharmacy, ethics, and the APhA Career Pathways program.

One particularly exciting session was Dr. Radhakrishnan’s lecture “The Travelogue of a Tablet” which covered the journey of tablet from mouth to active site to excretion. Campers enjoyed being in the “facilities and us[ing] resources that current pharmacy students get to use” while getting a lecture from a professor they very well may have if they come to UCSOP.

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Students work with a mannequin in the simulation lab

Ultimately, the success of a program like this is the impact it has on the students. One student even went so far as to say they had “been to few camps and things about pharmacy and [in] the few short days here…learned more then any other place as well had more fun. So [they] would highly recommend this to anyone for the fact of all th [sic] info …[and] how fun it was.” A focus of UCSOP and in turn a focus of the camp was on promoting rural health. Students were exposed to the unique challenges of rural health pharmacists by interacting with some and hearing about their experiences. As a result, 75% indicated after the camp that they are interested in serving rural populations.

While this extended four day ExRx program is only offered once per summer, UCSOP has shorter ExRx open house events on campus throughout the school year. Check out this link for more information.

Each group of campers led by a P2 Fellow created a short video to capture their camp experience. Check them out below to see what each group was up to!

The Silver Star Group led by Kathryn Howerton

The Pink Circle Group led by Rachel Peaytt

Squad Red Stars led by Kyle Theiss

The Gold Star Group led by Blanche Ndifon

The Blue Star Group led by Leila Fleming

The Green Circle Group led by Amber Gross

(Cirlce groups are high school students and star groups are current undergraduate students)

Be sure to look out for information about ExRx 2017 next Spring on the UCSOP website this fall!

UC Pharmacy Student Advocates for Childhood Immunizations Worldwide

Around the world, a child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable disease.

shot at life As the SNPhA Operation Immunization Chair, I was introduced to the Shot@Life campaign founded by the United Nations Foundation. It aimed at increasing the awareness for the use of polio, pneumonia, rotavirus, and measles vaccines in children less than 5 years in developing countries. After conducting a fundraiser here at UCSOP in November 2015, I was able to join the 2016 Shot@Life Summit in Washington, D.C. from February 29th to March 2nd. This was a great honor for me to be part of such a great cause.

Christelle Nagatchou, Class of 2018 with Senator Joe Machin and SNPhA in Washington, D.C.

In D.C., I learned even more about the need for vaccines worldwide and became an advocate for the campaign. I had the privilege to support it through enforcing my role as a future pharmacist and health care provider at the Capitol by meeting with West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s staff and Senator Joe Manchin and his staff. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything as it taught me so much about advocating in what we believe in. I strongly encourage all future pharmacists to be involved in promoting the advancement of our profession!

You can learn more about Shot@Life at: http://www.shotatlife.org/

Contributed by: Christelle Ngatchou, Class of 2018

Pharmacy School Reflections from Grant Henck (Class of 2019)

Henck_GrantWalking into orientation knowing that this is an amazing achievement that I have worked so hard for. So, obviously I was nervous when I first arrived for orientation, knowing that these initial impressions I make will affect my path here for the next four years.  However, the entire faculty I met was very open and kind, reassuring me every step of the way that I could have a great experience here.  And so far, they have been right.  I have had a great experience through pharmacy school so far, and I will break down my experience into academics, faculty relationships, peer evaluation, and extra-curricular activities.

The main purpose that I am here is to be trained to be an effective pharmacist, and an extremely important aspect in that training is the people around me.  This includes faculty, staff, residents, and especially my fellow students.  With all of these categories I am extremely pleased, the teachers do genuinely go out of their way to help.  For example, I have met with all of my professors outside of class with questions; all of them took the necessary time to answer all my questions. The students in my class are focused on the goal of becoming a pharmacist, and willing to help with any other student possible.  It did take a little time, but once we got to know each other we have become a family.

As far as the in class aspect, the material has been tough but fair.  I felt that every exam I have adequately prepared myself for I have done well on.  For me this is so important, because at the graduate level I was worried if I had what it took to succeed.  Now with the success I have had already has given the confidence that I can be successful in pharmacy school.

Outside of class I have been involved in flag football and Ultimate Frisbee which is awesome.  There was also a group dinner before the U.C. vs. Concord football game.  Unfortunately, I had a big test the next day and wasn’t able to attend, but I am excited that Im involved with a school that even with all going on we still have fun together, and have that much needed down time with each other to further solidify that bond as a family.

In conclusion, I am extremely happy with my experience at UCSOP so far, the people, classes, faculty, and even the extra-curricular activates have this experience great.  As I continue and eventually graduate, I hope that I feel this way about UCSOP in its entirety.

Pharmacy School Reflections: Hailey Price (Class of 2019)

Hailey Price, Class of 2019

Hailey Price, Class of 2019

Coming into my P1 year has been quite the experience. I was very anxious and nervous coming in, but now that has changed. I had heard from other student pharmacists about their experiences, but I just did not know what to expect for myself. I just finished up my fourth week of classes and I feel as if I have already learned so much in so little time. I definitely feel as if my time here at the school of pharmacy is going to be amazing!

My advice for those going into this profession is that studying is the key. People do not lie when they say you need to study everyday. You receive a pretty good amount of information from your professors’ daily, and if you do not study or review it everyday you can fall behind very quickly. Also, my advice is to get to know your classmates, because these people are going through the same experience with you. It is better to have a great support system and help each other through the way. Lastly, I would say to just enjoy your time here. Time flies by when you are having fun and learning.

Graduate school is so much more different from undergraduate than I expected. The pace is a hundred times faster and exams happen more frequently than I was used to. I’ve also learned how to adjust my study habits. I found that the way I studied in undergraduate does not work out for pharmacy school. Coming in, I did not really know the different fields of pharmacy. I had heard of a few, but I was amazed at how many different options pharmacists have other than just working retail or in a hospital.

My experience has been a great one so far. I’ve made so many new friends just in my short time being here. Not only have I begun building relationships with my fellow classmates, but also I have even been able to starting building friendships with the upperclassmen. I feel like I’ve known my professors forever, and I can’t wait to see what the next 4 years has in store for my time here at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy.