Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Pharmacy major Courtney Tse typically spent about four hours commuting between her home in Brooklyn, NY, and the Queens, NY, campus of St. John’s University. Upon the switch to remote learning, she suddenly had time to put to more creative uses. She pursued ambitious projects, such as creating The Student Pharmacist Policy Podcast and leading the University’s chapter of the Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) policy and advocacy efforts.
“The podcast was one of the most rewarding and challenging projects I ever worked on,” Courtney said. She has covered a range of topics, including student leadership and advocacy, viral hepatitis elimination, improving patient care, and pharmacist provider status. “I created it because I wanted a new and fun way to educate students about current advocacy issues. What better way to learn about these issues than from advocates themselves?” she asked.
Courtney wanted to spark conversation among student pharmacists. “An overarching theme you would hear throughout all of our episodes is that the voices of student pharmacists are extremely powerful, yet often go unheard as our top priority as students is to fully master our didactic training.”
She added that advocacy is essential, especially for student pharmacists, because they have the power to shape their profession. “We can better address our patient’s needs and be stronger team players for our fellow health profession colleagues. This can only be done if we come together in a collective effort and push for more progressive reforms to be made in an ever-growing field.”
As APhA-ASP Vice President, Courtney is responsible for all of the chapter’s policy, advocacy, and legislative efforts. In addition to the podcast, Courtney spearheaded their Instagram initiative known as the Policy News Series and St. John’s first ever inter-collegiate advocacy workshop with other colleges of pharmacy across New York State.
The Policy News Series allowed committee members to create easily digestible posts detailing policy updates in the healthcare profession, Courtney noted. Posts showcased major events such as important US Supreme Court cases relating to the field and President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 plan.
Courtney chose St. John’s because of its well-regarded Pharmacy program. “I chose pharmacy because I wanted a career that embodied my interests in both chemistry and community service,” she stressed. “Not only do pharmacists require adept clinical knowledge about the disease states and medications they work with, but they also need a strong level of compassion to care for the communities and populations they serve.”
Service has always been a large part of Courtney’s life. “Through community service, I met some of my closest friends, created my most unforgettable memories, and learned some of the most valuable lessons.”
After graduation, Courtney plans to pursue either a residency or a fellowship and work in an area that seeks to improve the health-care outcomes of communities on a large scale. “As a descendent of a long line of educators, I hope to continue my family’s legacy and help rising health professionals plant the seed to a brighter and healthier future.”