National award recognizes PharmD student Samantha Lewiston as representing ‘the very best’
By Katie Ginder-Vogel
A Class of 2021 graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Pharmacy is receiving national recognition from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).
Samantha Lewiston (PharmD ’21) is being honored with a 2020–21 Student Leadership Award from ASHP and the ASHP Research and Education Foundation, deemed to be one of 12 student pharmacists nationwide who represent the very best attributes and accomplishments of ASHP student members.
“What sets Samantha apart from other student leaders is her ability to adapt her strategy through actively engaging with her audience, whether it be patients, providers, peers or other health care team members,” says Kristine Heimerl (PharmD ’14), who supervised Lewiston on a clinical rotation at UW Health. “She effectively navigates pharmacy department and health system channels to complete meaningful work and is aware of important initiatives transforming our profession.”
Lewiston says she is honored and excited to be selected for the award, which another School of Pharmacy student, Hannah Hecht (PharmD ’20), received in 2019.
“Wisconsin pharmacy has a very strong history of producing fantastic pharmacy leaders and visionaries and culture around pharmacy leadership.”
“Wisconsin pharmacy has a very strong history of producing fantastic pharmacy leaders and visionaries and culture around pharmacy leadership,” Lewiston says. “To have started my training in Wisconsin and have had exposure to pharmacy leaders at the School of Pharmacy, UW Health, and Advocate Aurora was very impactful for me.”
Throughout pharmacy school, Lewiston has displayed a penchant for leadership and community outreach. She worked as a pharmacy technician and a pharmacy intern at Advocate Aurora Health, where she supported a system-wide technology implementation project, and had an internship with the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin focused on immunization access expansion in community pharmacies.
In Lewiston’s final year of pharmacy school, during an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience rotation at UW Health, where she was supervised by David Hager (PharmD ‘05), she ran a drive-through flu clinic that reached more than 4,000 patients.
“Samantha is a perfect example of what UW–Madison School of Pharmacy students can achieve when engaged with UW Health during their student pharmacist journey,” says Hager. “I’m so proud of Samantha and her direct impact on patients. Her work in operating, improving, and providing daily oversight of our drive-thru influenza vaccination clinic resulted in 4,441 patients vaccinated over her six-week rotation during the pandemic — a lasting impact on our department and the health of Dane County.”
Throughout her years at the School, Lewiston has held numerous leadership roles in student pharmacy organizations, such as co-chairing Operation Immunization for the Wisconsin Society of Pharmacy Students (WSPS), coordinating volunteers for 68 flu clinics, and serving as the community outreach director, where she managed 10 co-chairs and sent patient outreach teams to health fairs around Dane County.
“Samantha’s organization involvement and leadership are impressive, not only through my experience interacting with her through WSPS, but also with other activities and organizations at the School of Pharmacy and nationally,” says Andrea Porter (PharmD ’06), associate professor in the School’s Pharmacy Practice Division. “Samantha is a collaborative student pharmacist and passionate about pharmacy.”
Lewiston also started the ASHP student chapter’s well-being committee that addresses wellness and burnout issues, was the Rho Chi Honor Society historian, and held various leadership roles in the Phi Delta Chi professional fraternity.
“My proudest achievement was being offered membership into the Phi Lambda Sigma leadership society,” she says. “I have continued to stay involved in PLS during my fourth-year clinical rotations by serving on their national award committee.”
Now that pharmacy school is behind her, Lewiston, who also received a U.S. Public Health Service Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy award in 2021, is set to begin a residency in health-system pharmacy and leadership at the University of Utah. And her former supervisors and mentors see a promising future.
“She will continue to lead the pharmacy profession forward as we adapt to changes that create opportunities for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to improve patient and medication therapy outcomes, generate revenue, and nimbly utilize pharmacy resources in a post-pandemic era,” says Heimerl. “Samantha’s dedication and drive to create impactful change will guide her to be successful throughout her pharmacy career.”