Pharmacy Student Cedona Watts Recognized by National Organizations

PharmD student Cedona Watts received the ABHP Student Achievement Award and was featured by the ACCP website.

Fourth-year PharmD student Cedona Watts has received acclaim from the Association of Black Health-System Pharmacists (ABHP) and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) for her excellence in academics, leadership, and community service.

Watts was featured by the ACCP on their Member Spotlight page, and is the recipient of the 2012 ABHP Student Achievement Award in recognition of all that she has achieved both in and out of the classroom.

“I am fortunate to be have been selected and grateful that the ABHP acknowledges my leadership potential,” says Watts. “The award is motivation to continue to practice what I have learned at USC, which is to provide excellent and compassionate pharmaceutical care to patients. It is also a motivation to continue to stay active and promote the pharmacy profession.”

Watts has worked in several labs throughout her time as a pharmacy student, gaining invaluable research experience.

“My most memorable research experience was as a Dean’s PharmD Summer Fellow,” says Watts. “I was mentored by Dr. Stan Louie, who introduced me to the concept of an inflammatory pathway being linked to the pathology triple negative breast cancer. The laboratory felt like a second home, and I could easily spend hours there.”

She has presented her research findings over the years in platform presentations and poster presentations. Watts was awarded the $200 first prize in the National Black Graduate Student Association Conference’s paper competition for her study, “Blockade of CXCL8-CXCR 1/2 Axis as a Strategy for the Treatment of Triple Negative Breast Cancer and Colon Cancer.”

She recently completed her first advanced pharmacy practice experience in ambulatory care, during which she worked managing patients with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and HIV. Watts was also a 2013 National Cancer Institute Cancer Research Fellow this summer. She is currently an intern pharmacist at City of Hope, a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center.

Community service has also been a major aspect of Watts’ time at the School of Pharmacy. She has volunteered at health fairs and with a variety of health organizations, working with diverse patient populations to help bring attention to such health issues as healthy eating, vaccinations, heart disease, diabetes, menopause, osteoporosis, and cancer, and providing blood pressure screenings, immunizations and counseling.

“I was the Student National Pharmaceutical Association’s student coordinator for 2012 Annual Health Summit at the Jackie Robinson Community Center in Pasadena,” says Watts of a particularly meaningful community service project she was involved in. “I was able to work with community leaders to help to organize pharmacy services at the event. It was great seeing pharmacy students providing health education on a range of topics.”

In addition to her community service, Watts has demonstrated her commitment to pharmacy through membership in various professional organizations, including the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, the Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists. She has a leadership role with the ABHP, serving as co-chair of Student Affairs Council, and has also held leadership positions in the Student National Pharmaceutical Association and the USC School of Pharmacy Diversity Initiative Advisory Group.

In the past, Watts has received a plethora of other recognition, including a National Black Graduate Student Association Conference Fellowship, a William Lawson, Jr. Scholarship, a Walgreens Diversity and Inclusion Excellence Scholarship, the Joyce and Harold Washington Endowed Scholarship, the Dolly Harris Endowed Scholarship and the CVS Pharmacy Scholarship. She is also a member of the Sigma Xi Research Honor Society.

Watts is particularly interested in oncology clinical pharmacy practice, and hopes to eventually pursue a career in academia.