Pharmacy Advocacy and Service Learning in Columbus 2019

1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.

This past summer, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the pharmaceutical sciences field in Central Ohio. As a new member of the Advocacy Collaborative, I spent these past four months learning about the different avenues of pharmacy advocacy I could participate in Columbus.

2. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?

My STEP Signature Project challenged me to think about how I impact my community as a university student and, on a greater scale, a future pharmacy advocate. I value my professors and advisors that Ohio State has gifted me with, but there is a limit to knowledge in classroom material that must be sought out after in the field itself. It was clear that I would get that hands-on experience at my technician position at Kroger Pharmacy. But it was through the Advocacy Collaborative that I finally imagined the reach I can have beyond Central Ohio.

3. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you?

During my STEP Signature project, I was introduced to numerous local and national pharmacy advocacy communities that I can utilize now, my time in pharmacy school, and beyond. Ohio Pharmacists Association is a state branch of a larger organization, American Pharmacists Association, that I briefly learned about in my introductory pharmacy classes. However, I had the opportunity to learn about the breadth of their impact on state legislation. It all begins and ends with their purpose to unite pharmacists and encourage them to advocate for the field, something I have always strongly believed in. OPA motivates me to rally others with me to advocate for healthcare legislation.

Additionally, I was able to visit Washington DC for a weekend to explore the landscape of pharmacy advocacy. A future in DC has always been a lofty dream of mine, but I always believed that the city was only meant for public affair and political science hopefuls. I thought that I would feel out of place as a pharmacist in our nation’s capital. However, this trip showed me that this city had so much more to offer and that, not only was there a place for me as a pharmacist, but it was a necessary space for all healthcare professionals and the future of healthcare. This greatly helped me gain perspective and my future beyond Columbus.

Lastly, I’m fortunate to have met Natalie Hagy, a second-year pharmacy student at the Ohio State University’s College of Pharmacy. She remains a role model for me as a begin my journey into pharmacy school and advocacy. At the end of the day, I will still be a pharmacy student, learning the science behind disease states and learning bedside manners. But, meeting her has given me validation that I can still remain true to myself and pursue my lofty dreams.

4. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?

As an undergraduate student, I’m extremely passionate about the pharmaceutical sciences field and find it important to empower healthcare professionals to advocate for themselves and their community. It’s greatly influenced me to pursue a career in healthcare economics and legislation. While my passion originates from my childhood in Central Ohio, this transformation was imperative to grow into a mindset of being a pharmacy advocate on a greater scale.