URI pharmacy students to host regional meeting

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250 plus student to attend in Providence

KINGSTON, R.I. – November 4, 2010 – Students in the University of Rhode Island’s College of Pharmacy will host this year’s midyear regional meeting for the Academy of Student Pharmacists, a division of the American Pharmacists Association.

From Friday, Nov. 5 through Sunday, Nov. 7, 13 colleges of pharmacy from New England and New York will meet at the Hilton Hotel in Providence for a weekend expo that will feature various speakers, professional and career development and networking opportunities.

Angela Olenik, a fourth-year pharmacy student from Patterson, N.Y. and acting coordinator for URI’s chapter of the Academy of Student Pharmacists, took on the role of organizing and planning the event.

“This opportunity to host the midyear meeting is a once-in-a-decade opportunity. If no one stepped up to act as the leading organizer, we would have had to pass up the host position,” said Olenik. “I wanted to take on this responsibility because I knew I would work hard and execute things to the best of my ability.”

Planning started last January for Olenik and other volunteers who had to finalize locations, invite local pharmaceutical companies, organize the social components of the event and coordinate with guest speakers for one of the largest meetings in the New England region. More than 250 guests, mostly students from other pharmacy schools, will attend.

One of the biggest responsibilities Olenik had was finding a guest speaker and choosing a topic. She was urged to find a speaker to address pharmacogenomics, but Olenik instead decided to ask Christine Perry, retail talent acquisition account manager for the Shaws/Osco division of SUPERVALU Pharmacies, who could help students prepare for their careers.

“Christine will conduct a workshop to help students craft their resumes to include all the pharmaceutical experiences they have had including internships, skills and special projects,” Olenik said. “It will be a good lecture because she is hands-on and interactive, and she will help students professionally rather than just providing topic information.”

Other speakers will touch upon the Generation Rx issue, which refers to patients taking more medication than in the past, as well as misusing it and abusing it due to lack of information.

Students will sit in on various lectures but also vote on policy statements crafted by each chapter to create new standards and regulations. Statements, which address various issues pharmacists face, are voted on by the regional colleges and then go through an in depth review before being submitted to the Policy Standing Committee of the American Pharmacists Association.

After a long process of selection and voting, the national committee then puts the policies in place through various methods.

“For example, a few years ago, the committee decided to stop using the abbreviation of acetaminophen because it was leading to overdoses since consumers didn’t know what the abbreviation stood for. It’s difficult to create legislative changes but because the American Pharmacists Association is such a large and respected organization, it has an impact when it supports specific standards,” Olenik said.

Although taking on the massive, and at times extremely stressful role of organizing the meeting, Olenik is happy with the progress she has made and eager to see the outcome.

“My biggest goal was to communicate with other chapters, involving them in the planning to an extent and making them want to come to the event. “Although it has been stressful at times to plan, I know I’ll be happy when I see our hard work pay off and have the meeting run smoothly.”

The Academy of Student Pharmacists, a branch of the American Pharmacists Association, is an organization dedicated to being the voice of student pharmacists and providing them with opportunities for professional growth, ways to improve patient care and the initiative to advance the future of pharmacy.

This release was written by Alicia Blain, an intern in URI’s Department of Communications and Marketing and a public relations major.