UAMS Pharmacy Students Participate in Association’s Regional Conference

By Chris Carmody

The conference, held March 31-April 1 in New Orleans, included pharmacy students from the organization’s West Coast, Midwest and Southwest regions. Participants presented research and received feedback from experts, attended professional development workshops and honed their clinical skills in a patient counseling competition.

Two teams from UAMS — one featuring Olgaaurora Rodriguez and Kennede McLeroy-Charles and the other with Jasmine Block and Evan Griesse — took part in the patient counseling competition. Each team received a medication profile and was tasked with evaluating the information and providing appropriate counseling to the patient.

McLeroy-Charles, a third-year pharmacy student and president of the association’s UAMS chapter, said the exercise provided valuable experience.

“This was my first time competing in a patient counseling competition, and although I didn’t win, I now feel much more confident with patient interactions,” she said.

Her teammate received honors for a separate endeavor. Rodriguez was awarded for Outstanding Poster Presentation after displaying her research on the incorporation of active-learning methods in the Doctor of Pharmacy program curriculum.

The conference also provided an opportunity for students to develop their leadership abilities. Paloma Salazar represented the UAMS chapter in meetings of the House of Delegates, a body that votes on resolutions about the association’s goals and operations. Salazar presented two resolutions, which gained approval and will next be offered at the group’s national convention.

McLeroy-Charles, who helped draft the chapter’s resolutions, said she enjoyed the business aspect of the conference.

“It was interesting to learn about resolutions the other chapters submitted and to hear their ideas on how to improve this organization,” she said. “I was able to meet with other chapter presidents to share and receive feedback about our progress, which will help me as I continue to lead the UAMS chapter.”

The other UAMS attendees were Madeline Butera, Kyra Ellison, DeAnna Massey, Kennedy Smith and De’Shabrion Williams. Faculty adviser Pilar Murphy, Pharm.D., MPH, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice, accompanied them on the trip.

Butera, a first-year pharmacy student, said the professional development workshops were a highlight of the conference. She took particular interest in a session that looked at health inequities and other barriers for patients and examined how future pharmacists can provide improved care.

“Attending this conference was important because it allowed me to meet and interact with fellow student pharmacists who share a similar vision for the profession,” Butera said.

The Student National Pharmaceutical Association is a national organization that focuses on issues relating to health care, the pharmacy profession and representation for underserved groups. The association implements programs to improve the health, educational and social environment of minority communities.