Wong received the Robert D. Gibson Scholarship based on her “potential to become a leader for the profession of pharmacy, as demonstrated by involvement in school and community activities and academic performance,” according to the APhA Foundation. “The student scholarships are awarded to recognize exceptional demonstration of leadership skills and academics through active involvement in the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists. These exceptional students help shape the future of the pharmacy profession while managing the demands of a full-time curriculum.”
Wong already has held numerous leadership positions. She is currently secretary of Phi Lambda Sigma, the National Pharmacy Leadership Society. Last year, she was both co-president of the PharmSC Clinic and a U.S. Albert Schweitzer Fellow. She is also a mentor to pre-pharmacy students through her alma mater, UC Irvine.
“Through my Schweitzer Fellowship, I was able to identify an unmet health need in our community and initiate a novel program to address those challenges by working with the Braille Institute of America,” says Wong.
Her project, “BrailleRx,” meets a need for pharmacy education for the blind and visually impaired community, and provides additional training experiences for USC pharmacy students.
“The most rewarding aspect about the experience was the sense of empowerment and independence that my patients gained when they understood their own medication therapy through the project,” explains Wong. “When working with patients who are blind or visually impaired, I have seen how a medication review with them can provide a sense of ownership and independence so they don’t have to solely rely on their caregiver.”
Wong has also found her experience as co-president of the PharmSC Clinic to be greatly impactful.
“What I’m most excited about for our clinic is that we are already pushing the boundaries of pharmacy practice, by performing point-of-care tests that give us blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol values right then and there with the patient,” says Wong. “In theory, and with the passing of SB 493, this model could be expanded to where those laboratory values could be used to adjust patients’ medications based on their current results.”
In addition, Wong is an active member of APSA. She also was one of the initial pharmacy students who participated in last year’s pilot program for the Inter-Professional Geriatrics Curriculum. Upon graduation, Wong hopes to pursue a post-graduate year 1 clinical pharmacy residency.
“I am incredibly grateful for the APhA’s support and recognition, as well as the support of the pharmacists who recommended me – Dr. Denis Kitayama, Kaiser Permanente Project Manager and my pre-pharmacy mentor since undergrad, and Dr. Mel Baron,” says Wong.
Wong and the other recipients will be recognized on March 31, 2014, at the APhA Foundation Contributors’ Breakfast during the 2014 APhA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Orlando.