College of Pharmacy Student Chapters Receive National Awards

By Benjamin Waldrum

“I am so proud of our students for this well-deserved recognition,” said Ashok Philip, Ph.D., associate dean for student services. “They always go above and beyond to serve their community. These awards also stand as a testimony to the efforts and commitment of our student leaders and faculty advisors.”

Salazar, Newsome and McLeroy-Charles

Lenora Newsome, P.D., COP ’80 (center) with Paloma Salazar (left) and Kennede McLeroy-Charles (right) at this year’s convention in New Orleans.

At this year’s annual meeting, the college’s Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) chapter won Small Chapter of the Year, which is a designation for an outstanding group with fewer than 50 members. They last won the award in 2017.

“I am immensely proud of our SNPhA chapter for all the hard work they put in this year,” said Pilar Murphy, Pharm.D., MPH, the group’s faculty co-advisor and an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice. “They are a testament of being small but mighty. These students exemplify serving the underserved, and they have done so with grace and humility.”

“I am so proud of the accomplishments of the UAMS SNPhA chapter and Dr. Pilar Murphy,” said Kendrea Jones, Pharm.D., SNPhA co-advisor and director of pharmacy at Arkansas Children’s. “Their work over the last year serves as model for what can be accomplished when you have a shared mission and work as a team. As a pharmacist, it is so exciting to watch students develop strong leadership skills all while developing a passion for serving the underserved.”

Murphy credited the students for their work with multiple events over the past year, including a Raising Exposure and Awareness of Careers in Health (REACH) event in the Arkansas Delta to expose students to pharmacy careers, as well as weekly events serving homeless people, speaking with local legislators and organizing a blood drive.

“They have shown what is possible when you have a great leader and dedicated members to help fulfill a vision and mission,” Murphy said. “I cannot wait to see what they accomplish next.”

Murphy thanked immediate past president Kennede McLeroy-Charles and the group’s executive board, as well as Paloma Salazar and Olgaaurora Rodriguez for their presentation at this year’s national conference and incoming president Chelsea Flowers for her leadership.

McLeroy-Charles, now a fourth-year pharmacy student, was instrumental in the group’s success this past year. She worked on increasing membership and participation at first, before the possibility of winning the award began to take shape.

“The success of the chapter truly falls upon our 39 members,” McLeroy-Charles said. “We made such a huge impact with a small number of students. This year, we more than doubled our membership and served nearly 2,000 patients in the state of Arkansas.”

Kappa Epsilon team 2023

This year’s Kappa Epsilon team completed a number of service projects and received awards for their efforts.

Success also followed the college’s Kappa Epsilon Professional Pharmacy Fraternity chapter at this year’s national convention, which is held every two years and bestows awards for each of the previous two academic years.

Six members traveled to the convention in Pittsburgh and received the following awards: the 2023 Week of Service Best Participation, the 2021-2023 Community Service Honorable Mention, and the 2021-2023 Rose Award for on-time reporting and member dues.

“Receiving these awards was the highlight of the convention for me,” said Melanie Reinhardt, Pharm.D., co-faculty advisor and an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice. “I am so proud of each member of our Kappa Epsilon chapter, and it’s an honor to work with these amazing young women and men.”

“It’s inspiring to work alongside students who are so dedicated to serving our community,” said Kaci Boehmer, Pharm.D., co-faculty advisor and an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice. “We are proud of how they represent the college and UAMS.”

Reinhardt said the Kappa Epsilon team had a number of service projects this year, including preparing and delivering “chemo care baskets” to cancer patients at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, as well as helping out with two nonprofit organizations: Recycle Bikes for Kids in central Arkansas and Amy’s Rays of Sunshine, a North Carolina-based organization that sends boxes of supportive messages to young adult cancer patients.