California Pharmacy Student Leaders Come Together at USC

The Pharmacy Leadership Seminar focused on leadership development and included a variety of team-building activities. (Photo by Reynaldo Obrero)

By Linda Wang

USC School of Pharmacy hosted a leadership seminar that gathered pharmacy student leaders across California for a weekend of learning and community building June 22-23, 2019. “Pharmacy Leadership Seminar: Facing the Future Together” was made possible by the Margaret and John Biles Leadership Center and organized by third-year PharmD students Trevor Lee and Christina Vu.

Students from nine pharmacy schools participated in the seminar: Chapman University, Keck Graduate Institute, Marshall B. Ketchum University, Touro University, University of California, San Diego, University of California, San Francisco, USC, West Coast University and Western University.

“Bringing together student leaders from all over the state expands our connections and gives us the opportunity to exchange ideas,” Lee says. “Making connections is vital because pharmacy is a small world.”

Vinson Lee, PharmD ’06, immediate past president of the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA),  emphasizes the importance of unifying the pharmacy profession to tackle a changing pharmacy landscape. (Photo by Reynaldo Obrero)

The first day of the seminar focused on fostering unity. Keynote speaker Kenneth Schell, assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, presented “How to Face the Future of the Pharmacy Profession.” Alumnus Vinson Lee, principal and founder of PARX Consulting, a consulting firm for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and immediate past president of the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA), emphasized the importance of unifying the pharmacy profession.

Next, the stage was handed over to five student groups who presented on various novel initiatives they were spearheading, from a medication therapy management project to a legislative advocacy program. Karolina Kapustova, a third-year PharmD student at USC School of Pharmacy, won first place for her initiative that empowers pharmacists and pharmacy students to achieve financial freedom.

“Our goal was to let students from different schools share innovative projects they’ve implemented that have made a positive impact on their communities or schools,” Lee says. “We hope students will take what they’ve learned and incorporate these new ideas into their own pharmacy programs.

Video courtesy of Estevan Reynoso

Day Two featured presentations on public speaking by Susie Park, associate dean for student affairs at the USC School of Pharmacy, and the changing profession of pharmacy by Steven Chen, associate dean for clinical affairs at the USC School of Pharmacy.

Collaborative discussion on how to expand the traditional roles of pharmacy and improve patient care is becoming increasingly important, student organizers say.

“If the attendees walk away with a revitalized view of utilizing their leadership qualities to impact the future of our profession, I’d consider the event a success,” Lee says.