UAMS Student Pharmacists Win Three-Award Sweep in National Competition

By Ben Boulden

Nicki Hilliard, Pharm.D., a professor in the college, became the first Arkansan to serve as APhA president. She will serve for the 2018-2019 term.

The students garnered their wins during the APhA annual meeting March 19 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Eddie Dunn, right, accepts one of the three national awards the student chapter of the APhA-ASP won in March.

Eddie Dunn, right, accepts one of the three national awards the student chapter of the APhA-ASP won in March.

About 300 students of the UAMS College of Pharmacy are members of the APhA-Academy of Student Pharmacists chapter that earned the awards. They were given in recognition of its achievements in patient care and education for diabetes and cardiovascular health along with the Division AA Chapter Achievement Award.

“These three national awards prove my belief that these students are the best in the country,” said Eddie Dunn, Pharm.D., the chapter’s faculty advisor. “That a national association of professional pharmacists shares that high opinion is validating. The entire college is proud of them and the very hard work and effort they put in to be so honored.”

Dunn is an associate professor in the College of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacy Practice.

Operation Heart is a national, public education project of APhA-ASP, and Operation Diabetes seeks to identify individuals with previously undiagnosed diabetes while increasing overall awareness of the disease. The Chapter Achievement Award recognizes the overall activities of a chapter from patient care to policy activities and guest lecture programs.

To win all three awards, the students throughout the 2016-2017 academic year participated in dozens of public outreach events as well as organized many of their own and visited public schools, Dunn said.

Notably, he said the chapter in 2016-2017 initiated a new screening program at a commercial gym to detect diabetes and high-blood pressure in individuals, who otherwise are athletic, fit and may not think they need testing. The chapter also began an education campaign with flyers and a YouTube video to make people aware of the link between untreated psoriasis and an increased risk of stroke.

The student chapter also placed as first runner-up in the national competition for awards for OTC Medicine Safety and Operation Immunization as well as second runner-up for Generation Rx.

Operation Immunization is an immunization education campaign that works to raise the number of adults receiving immunizations. OTC Medicine Safety is a campaign of APhA-ASP Chapters to educate fifth- and sixth-graders in reading medicine directions, following those directions, proper measuring of medicine, safe storage and disposal of medicine and consulting with parents or guardians before taking medications. Generation Rx is another APhA-ASP national educational program. Its goal is to increase public awareness of prescription medication abuse and to enhance cooperation between health care providers, teens, parents and communities to prevent such abuse.

Elected to APhA leadership positions are: Lanita White, Pharm.D., faculty – APhA-APPM Preceptor SIG Coordinator; Rachel Stafford, Pharm.D., faculty – APhA-APPM Medication Management SIG Coordinator; and Denise Clayton, B.S.Pharm., alumnus – APhA-APPM Executive Committee Member-at-Large.

Nominated for leadership positions are: Brandi Hamilton, Pharm.D., alumnus – Candidate for APhA Trustee; and Stephanie White, Pharm.D., pharmacy resident – Candidate for APhA-APPM New Practitioner Officer.

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and eight institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and the Institute for Community Health Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.