The American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Chapter in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center was awarded Chapter of the Year during the organization’s 50th anniversary and annual meeting in Seattle.
“The UTHSC College of Pharmacy students are the best and I am so very proud of them,” said Marie Chisholm-Burns, PharmD, MPH, MBA, FCCP, FASHP, FAST, dean of the College of Pharmacy. “This is a tremendous honor and a reflection of their hard work.”
It is the fourth time the UTHSC chapter has been honored with the distinction among 141 colleges of pharmacies in the country. The chapter was also the only chapter nationwide this year that received both regional and national awards in all five patient care initiative categories.
“This chapter is very dedicated to patient care,” said Chasity Shelton, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, BCPPS, associate professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Translational Science, who serves as the chapter’s statewide advisor. “They’re very motivated, enthusiastic, innovative, and creative. They just have so much passion and motivation. It’s nice to be recognized, but at the end of the day, this chapter’s focus is on how we can provide service to the patients and citizens of the state of Tennessee.”
With more than 550 members, APhA-ASP is the largest student organization in the College of Pharmacy. The chapter was led by Kara Provence, P4, chapter president from 2017-2018, and APhA-ASP National Member-at-large from 2018-2019.
“Being a part of APhA-ASP has shaped my professional career and has made an impact on me personally as well,” said Provence, who has been a member of the organization since her first year of pharmacy school. “I have been able to grow as a leader and given the opportunity to serve as president for over 500 members across three different campuses. The lessons I have learned serving at the chapter level are invaluable in leadership, time management, and working with different teams.”
The group uses an acronym of their name as a slogan for the work they do as a chapter– advocate for the profession, serve the patients in their communities, and develop student pharmacists professionally.
The American Pharmacists Association recognized the chapter’s focus on patient care during the awards ceremony, highlighting the chapter’s abilities in “bringing out each member’s individual talents to better serve patients and advocate for the profession of pharmacy.” The chapter was recognized for successfully recruiting strong membership numbers and advocacy efforts through creative marketing on billboards, bus advertisements, painting the Rock on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus, and leading the charge to make the UTHSC campus smoke free.
In addition to being recognized as Chapter of the Year, UTHSC APhA-ASP also received National 2nd Runner-Up for Operation Immunization, National 1st Runner-Up for Operation Heart, and Region 3 Winner for Generation Rx, OTC Medicine Safety, and Operation Diabetes.
“Our chapter did not win this title over the course of the year,” Provence said. “We have been slowly maintaining and building the excellence that happened over the year and I was elated when I found out we would be awarded for our work.”
Through Operation Immunization, a patient care initiative that positively impacts the local community through various events throughout the year, UTHSC APhA-ASP chose to make influenza vaccine clinics a priority. The chapter hosted several vaccine clinics to reach faculty, students, uninsured and underinsured patients on campus and in community nursing homes and pharmacies through events such as Flu Fighters and Flulapalooza.
The chapter was recognized as National 1st Runner- Up for Operation Heart, a patient care initiative that aides in heart disease prevention and management in the community. The project began with the UTHSC APhA-ASP chapter identifying three main goals, to create opportunities to serve the underserved, collaborate with health care providers, and have impactful interventions with patients. The chapter successfully completed all three goals through a partnership with the Boy Scouts of America and the American Red Cross. The organizations worked together to monitor and replace smoke detectors in homes, while students provided blood pressure screening and medication counseling to families waiting on their smoke detector checks.
Throughout the year, the chapter provided 10,000 clinical services through multiple patient care centered events, and has membership on all three College of Pharmacy campuses throughout the state. Leslie Hamilton, PharmD, FCCP, FCCM, BCPS, BCCCP, associate professor, serves as Knoxville’s advisor, and Nancy Hart, PharmD, BCPS, associate professor, serves as the advisor for the Nashville campus.
“This chapter has a servant heart and they are very motivated to do what’s best for patients,” Dr. Shelton said.
The mission of APhA-ASP is to serve as the voice of students pursuing careers in pharmacy by providing education and professional growth opportunities, improving patient care, and advancing the profession and future of pharmacy.
“Professionally, APhA-ASP has opened so many doors and personally, APhA-ASP has my heart,” said Provence. “I have been able to develop friendships and grow my support system across the country tenfold.”