Members of the College of Pharmacy and Health Science’s toxicology club, Tau Omega Chi (ΤΩΧ), participated in a toxicology outreach program called ToxiCarnival on September 17. This was the sixth year the event was held; this year it was run as a joint venture between ΤΩΧ and the Mid-Atlantic regional chapter of the Society of Toxicology’s Education and Outreach Committee.
Toxicology questions used during the carnival were provided by members of the Education and Outreach Committee. Committee members Diane Hardej, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Sue M. Ford, Ph.D., Program Director of Toxicology and Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Benjamin Kistinger, Doctoral Research Fellow, participated in the event, along with ΤΩΧ officers Aikaterini Stavrou, President; Elisha White, Vice President; and Joel Ennin, Secretary.
For the last five years, Russell J. DiGate, Ph.D., Dean, St. John’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and toxicology club Tau Omega Chi have organized a career night featuring St. John’s alumni working in toxicology related fields for a “speed networking” session. Alumni panelists meet with current undergraduate and graduate students to answer questions on career opportunities and provide tips for successful employment in toxicology related fields. The Society of Toxicology has provided strategic funding in partial support of this event for the last three years and the College is assisted by University Career Services.
As part of the student outreach program and membership drive, APhA-ASP sponsored a Calligraphy Night on September 26. The event was hosted by David Giang, National Member-at-Large of APhA-ASP. David is also a final year student pharmacist at The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy.
Forty-three students from St. John’s attended the event, where David shared his APhA-ASP story and encouraged the group to stay engaged with the pharmacy profession and APhA. During the presentation, members created different calligraphy works while enjoying cookies.
After the presentation and the painting sessions, students took creative pictures that expressed how they would like to become their fearlessly authentic selves, which is the national APhA-ASP theme for this year. They had insightful conversations with David regarding getting involved in the regional as well as national APhA-ASP Executive Board, the importance of advocacy, and how being involved in APhA-ASP can help shape the profession of pharmacy.
On October 7, the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists held their first event in their End the Stigma series. Farah E. Khorassani, Pharm.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Clinical Health Professions, gave an informative lecture on eating disorders. There was much interest in this event, with more than 50 students in attendance.
Students learned more about what they can do to help friends or loved ones who may be dealing with an eating disorder. This event also served to help break down the stigma surrounding eating disorders, and to further develop student pharmacists’ approach when dealing with patients who suffer from these disorders.
On October 17, CPNP held their second event in their “End the Stigma” series. At this event, Ebtesam Ahmed, Pharm.D., Clinical Professor, Department of Clinical Health Professions, spoke about the factors contributing to the opioid crisis, in addition to how we can use pain medications safely, and how we can adapt our language to decrease the stigma toward those suffering with addictive disorders. It is important for students to learn how to adjust their communication with different types of patients they may encounter in their practice.
Phi Lambda Sigma (PLS), the pharmacy leadership honor society, hosts an annual event called Healthy Halloween for the nonprofit organization Hour Children, an after-school program for children with incarcerated mothers. Children between the ages of 5 and 10 enjoyed a presentation given by Olga Hilas, Pharm.D., Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Health Professions, who taught them about healthy eating and the difference between candy and medication.
This was followed by arts and crafts, games, and a haunted tunnel—where St. John’s pharmacy students interacted with the children for some lighthearted fun. This year, PLS collaborated with eight other pharmacy organizations; more than 60 student volunteers participated.
On November 25, the Beta Alpha chapter held its first ever “Pie-A-Bro” fundraising event. Brothers were invited to be pied by other students to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. More than 20 brothers from the fraternity participated in this worthy event. The highlight of the day was when faculty and administration joined in the fun and donated to the cause. The event raised more than $500 in just two short hours. The organization intends on hosting this event on an annual basis.
On October 29, ISPOR invited Neetu Agashivala ’10G, Executive Director of Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) at Novartis, to speak to graduate students about career opportunities. It was a great experience for students to meet her and learn about her job at Novartis.
Ms. Agashivala introduced the students to the emerging field of Health Economics and Outcomes Research. She explained the importance of value-based pricing of drugs in the pharmaceutical market and provided students with information about various research opportunities in the HEOR field. In addition, a question and answer period was provided to allow students to further explore this important field.
The Student Society of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (SSHP) held a “Study Break with SSHP,” which focused on members’ mental health and overall wellness. SSHP provided snacks and played The Nightmare Before Christmas as a way for members to destress before the holidays and final exams.
Trying to promote healthy eating before Thanksgiving, members of the SSHP Executive Board collaborated on a healthy cookbook, which was distributed to all of the members who attended. The cookbook included recipes ranging from appetizers, entrees, and desserts that members could prepare during the holiday season to stay nourished and healthy.
Suzanne A. Nesbit, Pharm.D., BCPS, CPE, President of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), spoke to students about her career and the benefits of being an ACCP member on October 22. Dr. Nesbit is currently on the Pain & Palliative Care Service at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Neuroscience Pain Resource Team at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is a Clinical Specialist in Pain and Palliative Care with the Department of Pharmacy.
In September, Kappa Psi welcomed Lieutenant Commander Sophia Park from the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. LCDR Park is a pharmacy graduate from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy with professional experience as a JRCOSTEP at the Indian Health Service, Commissioned Corps Officer of the US Public Health Service and the US Food and Drug Administration.
During her presentation to more than 70 pharmacy students, LCDR Park discussed the history, objectives, and responsibilities of pharmacists within the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. She also talked about opportunities within the organization both before and after graduation. Overall, this event expanded students’ understanding of opportunities within the pharmacy profession, especially within government agencies.
Kappa Psi collaborated with Student Society of Pediatrics Pharmacy (SSPP) and held their annual winter book drive on December 3. This book drive helped raise money and donations for Reach Out and Read, a nonprofit organization that fosters reading environments for children in hospitals. Donna Cohen Ross, Reach Out and Read’s Strategic Partnerships and Policy Advisor, spoke about the organization’s mission and accomplishments in the health-care setting. More than 150 books were collected.