National Conferences – APhA

Conferences for pharmacy organizations are one of the very exciting opportunities in pharmacy school. During my time at Ohio State, I’ve been to multiple conferences at the state, regional, and national levels. This post will hopefully give you an idea of what it’s like to attend a national conference for a pharmacy organization.

This month I had the opportunity to go to Baltimore for APhA2016—which is the annual conference for APhA (American Pharmacists Association). This conference is very different from other conferences because of its scale. APhA is the largest pharmacy organization in the country, and the annual conference draws both pharmacists and student pharmacists across the nation. It’s hard to imagine the size of it until you’re there, and it spans several days. This conference typically alternates between locations in the eastern and western United States—so last year I was in San Diego, and the year before that I was in Orlando.

There are so many different events at the conference, so I’ll try to give you an idea of the many opportunities you’ll find.


One big part of APhA conferences is leadership—and it’s present in many different ways. There are chapter leader workshops, where newly elected executive board members from our Ohio State chapter can learn more about their positions for the coming year and find out about any updates from the previous year.

At both the regional and national conferences, student members can attend a session that is part of the Leadership Training Series, with each featuring a different speaker and a different aspect of leadership. Unique to this series is the ability to receive a certificate upon completion after attending this session at four different conferences. I love attending these sessions because each speaker brings something different to the table.

Another aspect of leadership that is spread throughout the weekend is the election for the national executive committee. APhA consists of three academies—one of which is the Academy of Student Pharmacists (ASP). Every year APhA-ASP elects four student pharmacists to serve on the committee. This year in Baltimore was especially exciting since we had someone from Ohio State running. It was so exciting to follow—from informal meetings with the candidates at their posters to the open candidate review where the candidates answered questions on the spot to the candidates’ final speeches before votes were cast. As exciting as following the campaign was, it was no match for the excitement we had when our very own Michael Murphy was announced as President-Elect of APhA-ASP.

Robin and Michael
Robin and Michael Murphy during Meet the Candidates

There are so many different leadership opportunities within APhA, and the annual conference is a great way to develop your skills.

Student Specific Programming

At APhA2016, there was a lot of student specific programming—especially for our patient care projects. There were workshops for a number of our different projects like Operation Heart and Operation Diabetes. This year, I attended a GenerationRx workshop, and I was absolutely thrilled to see how other chapters have really taken on this project. GenerationRx is an initiative that was created at Ohio State a few years ago to help combat prescription drug abuse, but other student chapters throughout the country have really made this initiative their own—from billboards and drug take-back days to film viewings and presentations in middle schools. This workshop at APhA2016 was a way for chapters throughout the country to share their ideas and exchange advice with other chapters. Workshops are a great way to bring fresh ideas back to your school’s chapter.

There is also student programming on the more casual side, like the social on Friday night. This is usually a themed event with music, refreshments, and games. This year’s theme was a superhero one, so capes and masks abounded.

P3 Superheroes
Me and some of my classmates at the social

Beyond student programming, student pharmacists can take advantage of any of the pharmacist programming as well—like the talk about the Zika virus that my friend went to when we each wanted to attend a different session.


Student pharmacists have their own House of Delegates distinct from the House of Delegates for pharmacists. During House of Delegates sessions, the Policy Vice President from each pharmacy school’s chapter represents that school. The sessions are led by the Speaker of the House and follow Robert’s Rules of Order, that fun and official-sounding way of conducting business—all those in favor, please signify so by saying yea—and all that.

Chapters vote on policies that were supported at the regional conferences earlier in the school year. A committee basically cleaned up all the policies from this year’s regional meetings, and then there was final vote on the national level in Baltimore. These policies then become something like the official stance of the organization on certain matters. For example, one proposal that was passed this year was about improving security technology in pharmacies. It’s an interesting process to see the beginnings of this brainstorming at your chapter and then how it fits into this bigger picture at the House of Delegates sessions at the annual conference.


The awards ceremony takes place on Sunday night, the last night of the conference. Chapters write a report about everything—absolutely everything—that they did during the past year, and submit this report during the summer. The APhA-ASP Awards Standing Committee reviews these reports, and then awards are announced at the annual conference in March.

This year, we were so pleased that Ohio State was recognized with a Chapter Achievement Award as Division AA First Runner-Up. I am so very proud of my fellow student pharmacists and the work that everyone put in for us to have this recognition at the national level.

Bethany APhA Award
Our chapter president, Bethany Hipp, (second from right) accepting our award

The awards ceremony recognizes not only chapters, but also individuals. Many student pharmacists received awards and scholarships, an outstanding chapter advisor was awarded, and the recipient of the Linwood F. Tice Friend of APhA-ASP Award was recognized.

The Ohio State University

Being able to connect with pharmacists and student pharmacists nationwide is such a great draw for APhA2016, but it also affords members the chance to connect with other student pharmacists from our chapter. One of my favorite experiences at the conference was Saturday morning brunch with my fellow student pharmacists from Ohio State.

Also, the dean of our college of pharmacy hosts a dinner every year for all of the student pharmacists, residents, faculty, and staff of the college. We had dinner at the Rusty Scupper, looking over the harbor as the sun set on Baltimore. It was truly a lovely way to bring together everyone from our college during the conference.

Group APhA2016
APhA2016 attendees from The Ohio State University

I hope that I was able to give you a taste of the many experiences that are available at a national pharmacy conference—if you have any questions or would like to hear more, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you in San Francisco next year!

APhA-ASP Patient Counseling Competition

Tomorrow begins another semester at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy. For me, the semester begins with the APhA-ASP (American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists) Patient Counseling Competition. I’ve seriously been looking forward to this for months now, and I can’t believe that it’s here already!

The Patient Counseling Competition is actually a national competition for student pharmacists across the country. This week begins the first round of our local competition here at the college. My co-chairs and I have been planning this for months, and we’re so excited that it’s finally coming together!

Image from 2016 booklet

Image from 2016 booklet
APhA-ASP National Patient Counseling Competition

Here’s how it works:
Last month, student pharmacists who signed up for the competition got a list of ten medications. When they come in to compete, they’ll be given a case for a patient who is picking up one of those ten medications from the pharmacy. The student gets a few minutes to look this over, and then they’ll counsel a “patient” (a volunteer from the faculty and staff at the college) about their new medication.

The top ten participants will move on to the final round at the end of this month where they will get another case with a different medication. We’ll determine a champion from our college who will then go to the national conference in March to compete against the champions from other pharmacy schools. When I went to the national conference my first year of pharmacy school, our Ohio State winner got second runner-up, which was so exciting for our chapter. The year before, our winner actually won the national competition!

Prescribed by

Prescribed by “Dr. Scarlett N. Gray” for our Ohio State competition

It’s a super cool experience—for any year of pharmacy school. For our first-year student pharmacists, it’s a chance to practice patient counseling in a low-risk setting and an opportunity to expose themselves to this aspect of patient care that they will continue to develop throughout pharmacy school. For second-, third-, and fourth-years, it’s an opportunity to really hone and perfect their counseling skills. There are also prizes for the finalists from our Ohio State Chapter as well as cash prizes at the national level.

This is a fun way to get involved at the College of Pharmacy and with APhA-ASP, and really it’s just one of the many things going on at the college this semester. I hope that this year’s participants will have as much fun competing as I have had in creating our OSU competition this year!

Take care!

Start of the School Year!

It’s that time again! This week begins a new academic year here at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, and there’s certainly a lot of excitement. I personally love this time– there’s that promise for the new year! I can begin marking up my planner, creating a new routine, catching up with my classmates, and meeting new students. I really enjoy thinking about what this new year will offer.

So what’s going on at the college? We’ve officially wrapped up orientations for the first-year PharmD students (P1s), and it was a week chock-full of information and punctuated with icebreakers, campus tours, and an etiquette luncheon. Orientation culminated at the White Coat Ceremony where P1s received their coats, signifying the beginning of their professional education. It was truly an exciting event.


This week brings it all together.


    9:30am begins the college’s Student Organization Fair. The many different professional student organizations will set up booths in the Biological Sciences/Pharmacy Libary (BPL). Everyone will have the opportunity to check out the different organizations, learn more about them, and find out what they think best suits their interests. There is so much to take in, and this is really a great way to see what is offered.

    After the organization fair, this is the perfect time to swing by the annual Welcome Back Picnic at the Women’s Field House, 11:30am. There will be plenty of delicious cook-out food, and it’s the perfect opportunity to reconnect and to make new connections with others at the college.

    I also recommend checking out Buck-i-Frenzy afterwards, just nearby at the RPAC. It’s a massive event with some cool giveaways, but it is definitely not for the claustrophobic since any students from The Ohio State University may make their way through.


    Classes start today!


    APhA-ASP (American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists) is kicking off the year with their first meeting during professional hour (11:30-12:30), and then later that evening as well. APhA’s Welcome Back social takes place at the Pint House at 8:00pm. Socials like this are a very casual and friendly way to learn more about the organization and where you might find your niche in pharmacy.

    If you’ve a little time, it may also be worth checking out the movie on the Oval on Wednesday night at 8:00pm. There will be a giant projector screen showing the most recent Avengers movie, and students are welcome to bring a blanket and plop down on the grass to watch the show.


    The OUAB (Ohio Union Activity Board) Grad/Prof Welcome Picnic is at the Faculty Club beginning at 4:00pm– just in case you’re craving more cook-out.

    AMCP’s Welcome Back Social is 4:30-6:30 at Miller’s Ale House.

Socials continue into the following week even with SNPhA’s Welcome Back Carnival at Fred Beekman Park 3:30-6:30 on August 31. Afterwards at 7:00, SSHP is going to a Clippers baseball game at Huntington Park.

There is so much going on at this time of year and so many ways to get to meet new people. You can learn more about the college and different organizations, make new friends, and begin to find where you want to make your mark at the university.

Take care, and I wish you another great year!

Welcome Day 2015


It’s June here at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, and we’re already getting excited to start everything off with our newest incoming class, the class of 2019! This past weekend, we held our very first Welcome Day at the college, and I had the pleasure to greet our new student pharmacists.

On Saturday we had a whole host of activities to introduce students to the college and to welcome them as fellow student pharmacists. Our morning began with a casual breakfast so that everyone could chat and get to know their classmates. In one of the lecture rooms at Parks Hall, Dr. McAuley presented in an interactive format. One of my personal favorite parts was when he polled the class on why they chose Ohio State and compared it to the top five reasons he had found.

Lecture room at Parks Hall

After Dr. McAuley spoke, there was a sample class lecture by Dr. Sullivan. He gave an overview of different OTC (over-the-counter) treatments. Especially in the community setting, the pharmacist is often the first person that a patient contacts with a health problem, and Dr. Sullivan taught this new class of student pharmacists how to field those questions and help patients with a wide range of problems from nasal allergies to sunburns.

The Class of 2019 also had a unique opportunity to get a photo at the Browning Amphitheater, near Mirror Lake. Every year, the graduating pharmacy class gets a picture together at the amphitheater, and this lucky group of students will have a picture when they begin pharmacy school AND when they graduate from pharmacy school.

Class of 2019

We walked past the lake and up to the top floor of Thompson Library—I totally recommend stopping there because it is just such a gorgeous view of campus! After everyone had sat down with their lunch, we got to hear from Drs. Haas-Gehres and Prusa. Both pharmacists, as fairly recent graduates, spoke about their time in pharmacy school, post-graduate experiences, and how they got to their current positions. These women each have their own path to where they are now, and I loved hearing about their experiences and their advice for the future.

Dr. Prusa addresses the Class of 2019 on the top floor of Thompson Library

The rest of the afternoon was just as exciting as the morning was. Groups split up to tour the medical campus and the James Cancer Hospital, get to know each other in some team-building exercises, and ask anything in the FAQ session. Writing this, it’s hard to believe that we did so much!

Icebreaker activity at the James

Some students thirsty for more set out on a campus tour after everything had wrapped up. Anyone unfamiliar with fickle Ohio weather got first-hand experience when we got caught in downpour. While we hid from the rain, we got to talk about some of the other highlights of Ohio State’s campus and things that students get to take advantage of at this university.

I had such a great time at the college’s first Welcome Day, and I know we’ll have another exciting start to the school year this fall. I’m looking forward to interacting more with another awesome class here at the College of Pharmacy.

Be sure to check back in so that you can hear from our new student coordinators! Joyce Zhang actually took all the photos you see in this post. I’ve got three great fellow students I get to work with this year, so definitely look forward to their introductions and the blogs they’ve got in store!

Take care! And email us at!

Get to Know Your Ambassadors: RoseMerrie

Greetings! RoseMerrie here!

I’m so excited to start off my first post on the College of Pharmacy blog! Since you’ll be hearing a lot from me over the next few months, let me give you a bit of background information.

I’m originally from a small city on the Ohio River called Martins Ferry. I got my undergraduate degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from The Ohio State University, and now I’ll be beginning my P3 year in the professional program. I was a part of the Early Admissions Pathway (EAP) program since I decided on pharmacy when I was in high school. (More on EAP to come in future posts! It’s awesome, I promise.)

My older sister is a pharmacist, and I loved seeing all the amazing things she was doing, even as a student pharmacist. I observed some of her research on occasion, and I even tagged along with her at the Ohio Pharmacists Association’s conference one spring. Everything I saw drew me deeper into pharmacy, and at Ohio State I was really able to make pharmacy a passion of my own.

After many visits to other colleges of pharmacy, Ohio State seemed like a perfect fit for me— even looking back on my first visit here. I remember eating lunch with my dad and my little sister in the amphitheater by Mirror Lake, thinking how I could really see myself at this university. Everyone I met was so thrilled to see a potential Buckeye, and the college of pharmacy was so incredibly helpful and wanted to see me move forward with my goals as quickly and smoothly as possible.

So now in the professional program, I’m involved in a few different projects. My major focus is with our APhA-ASP (American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists) chapter as a chair for our Patient Counseling Competition. Last year I served as our Membership Vice President, so I should be able to give you a taste of the different ways you can get involved. I’m also a member of the Pharmacy Leadership Society, and I’m a mentor in the Rho Chi mentoring program for first-year student pharmacists. I’ve participated in the London study abroad program with the college—once in my undergrad and again my P1 year as a student coordinator.

I’ll cut this post now before I get too carried away. Feel free to contact me or any of the other coordinators at any time (, and get excited for our next posts when my fellow coordinators– Joyce, Sarah, and Megan– will introduce themselves!