St. John’s University’s chapter of the American Pharmacists Association–Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA–ASP) recently took home two prestigious honors at the national organization’s annual conference. The mission of the APhA is to be the collective voice of student pharmacists, provide opportunities for professional growth, improve patient care, and advance the pharmacy profession.
The St. John’s chapter won the Region 1 OTC Medicine Safety Regional Award for its “Over-the-Counter Medicine Safety Patient Care” project led by sixth-year Pharm.D. candidate Asna Omarzai, and the national APhA–ASP Chapter Innovative Programming Award for The Student Pharmacist Policy Podcast, created by Courtney Tse, also a sixth-year Pharm.D. candidate.
“It was an absolute honor to receive the APhA-ASP Chapter Innovative Programming Award for the podcast,” Courtney noted. “The podcast serves as a testament that any idea can come into fruition as long as there are people who are willing to take the first step.”
Courtney wants 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, “As our profession grows in part due to the national recognition of our efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, we too must take our first steps as students to advocate for policies that can expand the care we can provide to our patients in the future.”
Since in-person outreaches were not feasible to host during the pandemic, Courtney noted that the OTC Medicine Safety Committee, led by Asna, took a different path to educate fellow student pharmacists and children on important health-care topics. “In conjunction with our chapter’s Women’s Health Committee, we hosted a ‘Skincare and Self Image Online Outreach Event,’ for middle-schoolers, which covered topics including pharmacological and nonpharmacological approaches for acne, deodorants, and the importance of self-image and ways to improve it.”
“This event directly impacted middle-schoolers as they often struggle with acne, health hygiene, and negative self-image. Even though we were unable to meet face-to-face, we thought of an innovative way to provide a fulfilling experience virtually, as shown by the students’ interest and willingness to learn throughout the event.”