Written By: Rachel Lumish, Third-Year Student Pharmacist
The American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Region 2 Midyear Regional Meeting marked an exciting time for student pharmacists from across the region as we came together to celebrate the success of our respective chapters on October 21-23 in Somerset, N.J. As president of the School’s APhA-ASP chapter, I was thrilled to see our chapter selected for two regional patient care operation awards, witness the passage of a student-written policy resolution, and cheer for one of our own executive board members — Charlie Summerlin, a second-year student pharmacist — as he was elected to a regional officer position.
What is the Midyear Regional Meeting (MRM)?
Each year in October, 20 APhA-ASP chapters from Region 2, which spans from Virginia and West Virginia through Pennsylvania and New Jersey, come together during the Region 2 MRM to network, celebrate chapter accomplishments, elect regional officers, and vote on pharmacy policy resolutions. Students also have the opportunity to attend workshops in leadership development, residency preparation, and patient care to further enhance their professional growth.
Taking Home the Gold
In addition to networking and professional development, an important part of MRM involves celebrating chapter accomplishments. There are five national patient care projects within APhA-ASP that focus on relevant health issues in which pharmacists and student pharmacists can make an impact. Chapters are recognized for their innovation, collaboration, and impact on the community through Operation Heart, Operation Diabetes, Operation Immunization, and OTC Medicine Safety events. Thanks to the tireless dedication of our members, who spent thousands of hours working on a variety of initiatives for these projects, our chapter was selected as the recipient for both the Operation Diabetes and Operation Heart regional awards. As second-year student pharmacist and our chapter’s president-elect, John Lee, stated “This recognition truly serves as a testament to the devotion that our members show. Their selfless work across the local area, their genuine care for the community, and their passion for the profession of pharmacy energize me in my own work with APhA-ASP.”
Because our chapter is only as successful as our members, I must thank the many first-, second-, third-, and fourth-year student pharmacists who have joined our group over the years, as well as our three faculty advisors – Cherokee Layson-Wolf, PharmD, BCACP, FAPhA, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) and associate dean for student affairs; Deanna Tran, PharmD, BCACP, assistant professor in PPS; and Leah Sera, PharmD, assistant professor in PPS – and six new practitioner mentors for all of their efforts to make this year a resounding success.
Watching Students Take the Lead
Another important aspect of this student-focused conference is the student-led policy process. Each chapter has the opportunity to propose a resolution that its members feel is important to student pharmacists or pharmacy practice. This year, second-year student pharmacist Mark Bickley led our chapter in developing a resolution that encourages all schools and colleges of pharmacy to expand simulated patient care interactions to supplement existing experiential learning curriculum experiences. He stressed the importance of this resolution, stating, “Considering how important patient interaction is to pharmacy practice, our resolution is extremely relevant. Supporting an increased number of simulated patient interactions will help student pharmacists communicate more effectively.” At MRM, second-year student pharmacist and chapter member Tedding Dunning successfully proposed and defended this resolution. It will now move to the national APhA-ASP Resolutions Committee for consideration.
On the final day of MRM, our chapter members anxiously awaited the results of regional elections, as our classmate Charlie Summerlin was running for regional member at large, a position that involves working with other regional members at large across the country to promote open communication and highlight the activities of the 20 chapters across Region 2. Throughout the weekend, Charlie networked with students from other chapters and promoted his platform of “communication, collaboration, and commitment.” On Sunday, he delivered his speech describing the value that he has brought to our chapter and how he will be able to leverage that experience as a regional officer. The other chapters must have liked what they heard, because they elected him to the position! Our chapter is excited to see the positive impact that Charlie is sure to make at the regional level. But, for now, we are looking forward to an opportunity to connect with even more students and pharmacists at APhA’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco in March 2017.