College of Pharmacy Students Achieve ASHP-SSHP Recognition for 2021-2022

By Benjamin Waldrum

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) recently acknowledged the drive and effectiveness of the UAMS Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists (SSHP) with its ASHP-SSHP Recognition for 2021-22.

ASHP-SSHP recognition acknowledges that student organizations provide opportunities to learn about and prepare for careers in health-system pharmacy, in line with ASHP goals. Recognition for UAMS also strengthens relationships with the national ASHP and the Arkansas Association of Health-System Pharmacists, its state affiliate.

“Having ASHP-SSHP recognition for our students validates all of the hard, meaningful work that they do each year,” said College of Pharmacy Dean Cindy Stowe, Pharm.D. “I am so proud to see our students recognized. We have a strong tradition of student leadership here at UAMS.”

“I want to congratulate our SSHP student society for achieving this recognition,” said Lindsey Dayer, Pharm.D., the group’s faculty advisor. “They put in a ton of work last year, especially during a pandemic. There were many students who helped make this achievement possible.”

The ASHP’s Midyear Clinical Meeting is one of the largest gathering of pharmacy professionals in the world. Attracting more than 20,000 attendees, the meeting provides valuable education and networking opportunities. Ten UAMS SSHP members attended the 2021 ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting.

Fourth-year student Callie Clement served as the student society’s president last year, and third-year student Madeline Malloy is president this year.

“Having the opportunity to apply for ASHP-SSHP accreditation was a rewarding, full-circle experience,” said Clement. “Reflecting upon the events our chapter hosted for the 2020-2021 school year made me proud of the work that our organization has done. Our executive board worked hard to provide quality events for their classmates, so having their hard work recognized was really awesome.”

“This recognition is really because of all of Callie’s hard work last year,” said Malloy. “To receive this recognition this year means a little bit more to us as everything was offered through a virtual format, which was very different from the norm and something we were nervous about. It makes me feel as though we were still able to provide quality education and opportunities despite our situation.”

It is a popular misconception that SSHPs are affiliated with, or chapters of, ASHP. Student societies must put in the work and reapply each year to achieve this recognition.

Recognition requires that student societies fulfill a number of requirements, including holding membership drives, participating in skills competitions and residency training, inviting speakers on health-system practices and coordinating with the ASHP state affiliate.

Despite the pandemic’s challenges, UAMS students fulfilled every requirement and then some.

When virtual scheduling prevented holding in-person membership drives, they offered online forms and recruited 107 new members. Two skills competitions tested students on clinical scenarios where they had to work as a team. Faculty speakers from UAMS and White River Medical System discussed education, residency training and what it’s like being a pharmacist.

Students hosted a professional development panel featuring UAMS pharmacists that focused on the increasing role of technology in pharmacy. This included discussions on cost versus benefit, using data analytics to track productivity, and using software to more effectively manage patient lists and be proactive in their care.

Taking a cue from the pandemic itself, students wrote letters to local pharmacists, thanking them for moving the profession forward during a difficult time and encouraging them to continue serving their patients. They also included information on how to avoid burnout.

Pharmacy students look forward to Residency Night, an in-person dinner event that allows students to sit in small groups with current or incoming residents from programs across the state. COVID-19 restrictions forced the SSHP to adapt. They hosted a virtual event via Zoom, using breakout rooms to allow students to be in small groups with a few residents at a time. The event hosted two current residents and 11 incoming residents as well as residency program directors from across the state. The virtual format allowed for students to ask more honest and personal questions than they otherwise would in a larger setting, Malloy said.

ASHP represents pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in hospital and outpatient clinical care settings. The organization’s nearly 55,000 members include pharmacists, student pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Society fellows also have contributed to the body of knowledge of pharmacy practice in clinical settings, been involved in educating practitioners and been active in society membership and leadership.