On to the main part of our trip, meetings. With the help of Dr. Andreia Bruno, we were able to book the “Hercules Room” at Monash University-Parkville Campus. Fully equipped with Zoom capable screens and secret cabinets of food and drinks, student leaders discussed not only different projects but also the sustainability and leadership of PharmAlliance student domain. UNC leaders (Clara Kim, Vraj Patel, Jenny Jin, Ember Lu) and Monash University leaders (Alisha Cloti, Kevin Wu, Brandon Pham) were in attendance, while Ruby Akkad from UCL called in from Toronto due to last minute visa issues.
This was the first time that student leaders were able to meet in person. We realized that the value of this face-to-face communication is vital, as the quality of the conversation was much higher and we were able to accomplish much more action items and structures. Ember and I had created meeting agenda templates beforehand, and each school was in charge of different sections of the meeting. Everyone created agendas before their meeting and came well prepared to host the meeting and guide discussions.
The first day was spent mostly discussing PharmAlliance student domain leadership so far. The leaders first drafted a mission statement of PharmAlliance student domain: While aligning with initiatives on the PharmAlliance level at the highest possible extent, collaborate on impactful and challenging pharmacy issues that are common between the US, Australia, and the UK. Then, students discussed about different issues with leadership that came up in effectively leading organizations. Students were able to share their experiences and also give advice on how to overcome obstacles.
The next day was spent on discussing the Medication Safety Comic series. We decided on logistics, themes, and different topics we want to be included in the comic series. While discussing all of the topics, we made sure that our end goal was having an element of collaboration in each step. Collaboration sometimes may be inefficient; In fact, there are tasks that could easily be done if it were just done within one campus group. However, the leaders were eager to implement collaborative portions across the project, as that is the main goal of PharmAlliance itself. Also, students and leaders in PharmAlliance truly value the unique international collaboration we are fortunate to be a part of, and wanted to take full advantage.
The last day was spent discussion the International Case Competition. Vraj Patel and Brandon Pham led the discussions on assessing what was good versus what could be better compared to last year. At the end of the meeting, the leadership team decided to make create interschool teams - i.e. each team will have students from two different countries! This was an exciting development compared to last year, where teams were composed of students in one school. This was again a decision made with the desire to increase collaboration among students across all three countries. We hope that the International Case Competition becomes a unique opportunity for students to learn about each others’ pharmacy practices.
A group of Pharm.D. students received a $10,000 PharmAlliance grant — the first of its kind to be awarded to Pharm.D. students — to support a project promoting medication safety.
The project is led by PY3 Clara Kim and PY2 Vraj Patel from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. It is co-authored by PY3 Ember Lu from the School and students from University College London and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
Their initiative aims to promote safe use of the three medications most associated with drug errors — opioids, insulins and anticoagulants — through the creation of a comic series that promotes patient education. The comics will be distributed online through social media and offline as posters and fliers posted in community pharmacies in the U.S., England and Australia.
“This project will help patients, including those with low health literacy, understand how to take their medications correctly and acknowledge the importance of adherence, while making it fun in the process,” Kim said.
Established in 2015, PharmAlliance is an international partnership between the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University College London and Monash University. PharmAlliance has provided support for research initiatives developed by faculty and Ph.D. students from each of the three schools. This is the first PharmAlliance grant to be awarded to Pharm.D. students.
Along with Kim, Patel and Lu, the project’s co-authors include Monash University students Alisha Cloti and Emma Hatherley, and University College of London student Ruby Akkad.
“The student leaders of all three schools are very excited and thankful to be the first student group to have received this grant,” Kim said. “This is a very important step for the PharmAlliance student domain.”
The students will be mentored by faculty at each school: David Steeb, Pharm.D., M.P.H. at UNC-Chapel Hill, Andreia Bruno, Ph.D. at Monash University, and Oksana Pyzik, M.Pharm. at UCL.
The grant will allow the students to develop their project beyond the conceptual stage and travel to Melbourne to discuss their project, as well as ways PharmAlliance can support student initiatives and foster connections between students at each of the schools in the future.
Original article found here, published on November 13, 2018 at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy homepage:
Check out the International Case Competition! Registrations opening soon!