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University of Wisconsin-Madison

Success and Support Fund fosters learning and professionalism

Through the generosity of donors, eight PharmD students were awarded travel grants from the Pharmacy Student Success and Support Fund. The travel grants advance academic success and professional development by supporting students’ travel to important professional conferences such as ACCP, APhA, and ASHP.

In March, six students attended the APhA Annual Meeting and Expo in San Francisco. For the majority of the students it was their first national conference and resounding themes included the excitement to hear motivating speakers, have thought provoking conversations about their field, meet and connect with Badger alumni from all over the country, and interact with their peers—fellow students and future colleagues. School of Pharmacy attendees shared their experience in their own words…

Matthew Huppert, DPH-2
This was the first national conference I have been able to attend as a student pharmacist. I was able to meet with students from around the nation and attend heartwarming and motivating TED-Talks. A highlight was being selected the delegate for Phi Lambda Sigma (PLS). I was able to hear what the national executive board has been doing over the last year and future goals. Moreover, I was able to vote on behalf of our school’s chapter to select national positions who best represent our chapter’s ideals. The conference was very much a learning experience and has helped me develop professionally by engaging with new professionals and learning how other schools conduct outreach events for their communities. I plan to take these new ideas and apply them to the GenerationRX operation to reach more of our community to talk about misuse and abuse of prescription medications.

Joanne Kuznicki, DPH-3
This was my first time attending a national conference and it was very exciting. The first talk I attended, entitled “Drugs of 2016” was presented by a pharmacist from Philadelphia. He reviewed 19 medications that were placed on the market last year. He discussed mechanisms of actions, important side effects, and his “rating” on whether or not he would recommend the drug to his patients. Other talks included a diabetes management course, with patient cases to complete and discuss the pros and cons of each medication. This session was absolutely informative as its an area that I welcome additional help. Attending the conference was a wonderful experience that felt a little overwhelming at times, but was definitely an experience I would love to do again. It was so great to see some of the school’s professors speak about their research and making UW-Madison proud.

Kellyn Engstrom, DPH-2
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend APhA, my first national professional pharmacy conference. I truly enjoyed my experience meeting pharmacists from all around the country, as well as, UW alums who are practicing around the nation. It’s always great to see what’s happening in pharmacy across the country, and the ways in which our practice differs by setting and geographic location. I was able to attend both student programming, which allowed me to meet many great and enthusiastic student pharmacists, and practitioner programming that allowed me to learn about more specific areas of pharmacy and the relevant practice issues specific to these specialties. I really enjoyed the keynote speaker for the student program, who talked about how his experiences have inspired him to work for humanity and encourage individuals to live up to their promises. Personally I was re-engaged and reenergized to work for the complete benefit of our patients and profession with that session, and it was a great opening to the conference. I also enjoyed the keynote speaker who discussed opioid addiction and the feasible ways that we can combat it as pharmacists. I spent a significant amount of time at the poster session talking to presenters about their research and its implications for the profession. Overall I felt like the conference advanced my understanding of the profession of pharmacy while giving me experience with networking and providing me the opportunity to learn more about specific areas of pharmacy that interested me. As far as professional development, the conference was a very positive experience and I have already started planning to attend future conferences.

Theresa Emmerling, DPH-2
APhA was my first national conference and I had an amazing experience there. There were inspiring speakers and engaging pharmacists that left me feeling so excited and motivated about my future career. Highlights for me included networking with other students and pharmacists on the exposition floor, attending the UW Alumni event, and attending the lectures on areas of pharmacy specialization, including the lecture on how pharmacists can provide better care for transgender patients. I exchanged contact information with many of the people that I met at the conference and I’m excited to work with them and stay in touch. Thank you for supporting my attendance at this incredible conference!

Yannis Koukounas, DPH- 2
The APhA conference provided a way for me to continue to grow professionally and socially. I enjoyed the opportunity to attend several informative presentations, watch other programs receive awards, and mingle with students, faculty, and alumni. As a student pharmacist, I am able to stay informed about policies and research that will surely impact my future practice. What I find most rewarding about APhA is that it affords me the opportunity to maintain old friendships while forging new ones with my UW-Madison peers and students from around the country. Staying connected with these individuals will certainly have a worthwhile impact on my career and life, and I look forward to attending a future APhA conference.

Brooke Geiger, DPH-3
At the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Annual meeting, there were many great opportunities for learning and professional growth. There were a number of programs specifically for students, but there were also a number of continuing education (CE) sessions for pharmacists. First, I attended a number of the awards presentations for the APhA – Academy of Student Pharmacists (ASP). During the awards presentations, we were able to hear more about what some of the most successful APhA-ASP chapters are doing and we were able to bring some great ideas back to our chapter! I found the CE sessions particularly useful to refresh on a number of different topics that we have already learned. There were CE sessions on almost every topic imaginable. I was able to attend a few different sessions such as “New Drugs of 2016,” “Maxed Out on Metformin: Now What?” (type 2 diabetes review), “Hot Topics in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention,” and “OTC Update: A Look at Efficacy and Safety.” These sessions were all very informative, with a plethora of new research presented, and served as good reviews before I move into my fourth year clinical rotations. Additionally, I was able to support a few professors and students from the School of Pharmacy as they presented their research at the conference. Specifically, Dr. Look and Corey Lester presented during a session titled “APhA-APRS ESAS Innovative Research in Pharmacy Practice.” It was awesome to hear more about the great things being done within my own school. I was also able to support a number of students who presented during the poster session. Many UW–Madison students and residents are working on a number of innovative projects and it definitely made me proud to be a Badger! I was also able to speak with many other students and residents from other programs across the country to learn about the exciting and creative things they are pursuing. Lastly, it was very refreshing to be able to meet and network with other students and pharmacists from across the country. I was able to build my ever-growing network and make connections that will help me as I pursue my career aspirations.