School of Pharmacy Student Group Wins Chapter of the Year

Counseling ServicesThe USC chapter of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association was the big winner at this year’s annual conference, which took place July 20-23 in Las Vegas.

The School of Pharmacy received numerous prizes, among them the Rite Aid/ Chauncey I Cooper Chapter Excellence Award, a chapter of the year designation.

“I think what distinguished our chapter was our teamwork, organization, coordination, creativity, professionalism and enthusiasm,” said Folayemi Fashola, vice president of SNPhA at USC.

The USC chapter of SNPhA currently has 162 members, and participates in all six of the organization’s national initiatives, boasting some impressive outreach numbers in each of them since its inception in 2008. These include: Fight Diabetes (1,526 individuals screened and counseled), Power to End Stroke (2,740 individuals screened and counseled), Remember the Ribbon: HIV (1,515 individuals counseled and educated), Keep Sake: Chronic Kidney Disease (1,315 individuals counseled), Operation Immunization (355 individuals counseled) and the Legislative initiative (234 individuals educated and registered to vote).

The chapter’s outreach programs include health fairs locally as well as abroad, with service trips taking place to Jamaica, Belize and Mexico. These international programs expose members to new environments with unique challenges, and enable students to give back while learning at the same time. Still, USC SNPhA is actively engaged in the Southern California community as part of the University’s dedication to “think globally, and act locally,” and has conducted health fairs in many of the underserved communities throughout Los Angeles.

“Our health fairs are in underrepresented areas that are in need of screening and education on different disease states,” said the group’s faculty advisor, Dr. Walter Cathey. “Our students work hard to serve those who are in the greatest need in our community.”

In addition to partaking in the national initiatives, USC SNPhA has developed several unique projects including I Hablo U, a five-week Spanish language project and community partnership; the Healthy Youth Initiative; and the Beyond the Bars project at Los Angeles Juvenile Hall, which educates young men and women about HIV.

The chapter also organizes professional development programs and participates in mentoring, encouraging students from different ethnic backgrounds to consider careers in pharmacy, which according to Cathey is essential to the future of the profession. Cathey also serves as the special assistant to the dean for diversity at ths School.

“I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with a group of extraordinary leaders, and am thankful to Dean Vanderveen and Dr. Cathey for their unceasing support and encouragement throughout the year,” said chapter president Saleema Kapadia. “Every project led by our chapter has been a unique and rewarding experience.”

Not only did USC SNPhA win Chapter of the Year at the conference, but several of its members won scholarships and awards as well. Fashola received the Rite Aid Community Leader of the Year as well as the Dr. Barry Bleidt Endowed Scholarship. Kapadia won the Walmart Future Leader in Pharmacy Scholarship for Region V and the NPhA Kroger Company Endowed Scholarship. Henry Delu received the Walgreens Student Pharmacist Excellence Scholarship, Amy Lee received the SNPhA Target National Leadership Scholarship and Jasmine Knight received the Dr. Cleon Fowler Endowed Scholarship. Cathey also received Advisor Recognition at the meeting.

The Student National Pharmaceutical Association “is an educational service association of pharmacy students who are concerned about pharmacy and healthcare related issues, and the poor minority representation in pharmacy and other health-related professions.”

Photo: Officers Folayemi Fashola and Saleema Kapadia led the winning USC Student National Pharmaceutical Association chapter.