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SOP Student Organizations Receive National Recognition

The School’s American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) and Phi Lambda Sigma Leadership Society (PLS) chapters are honored with national awards during APhA’s Annual Meeting & Exposition.

APhA Accepts Its Award

By Malissa Carroll
March 22, 2016

Two student organizations at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy were recognized with national awards during the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Annual Meeting and Exposition held March 4-7 at the Convention Center in Baltimore. The School’s American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) chapter received the Second Runner-Up Division A Chapter Achievement Award for 2014-2015, while its Phi Lambda Sigma Leadership Society (PLS) chapter took home the Phi Lambda Sigma 2016 Charles Thomas Leadership Challenge Award.

“Students truly are central to all that we do at the School of Pharmacy,” says Cherokee Layson-Wolf, PharmD, BCACP, FAPhA, associate dean for student affairs and associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) at the School. “Having the School’s student organizations recognized at the national level reflects our dedication to preparing the next generation of pharmacists to continue our mission to lead pharmacy education, scientific discovery, patient care, and community engagement across the state of Maryland and beyond. We congratulate the members of APhA-ASP and PLS on their recent awards, and cannot wait to hear about their continued efforts to move the pharmacy profession forward.”

Established in 1974, the APhA-ASP Chapter Achievement Awards Program recognizes superior programming developed and implemented by APhA-ASP chapters at schools and colleges of pharmacy across the United States in the areas of patient care, chapter leadership and operations, professionalism, and policy and advocacy. Chapters are chosen for awards based on the activities and outreach initiatives outlined in their previous year’s reports, which are submitted to the professional organization for review. This year, the School’s APhA-ASP chapter received the Second Runner-Up Division A Chapter Achievement Award for 2014-2015. Division A awards recognize colleges and schools of pharmacy with more than 550 students enrolled.

“Receiving this award was a tremendous accomplishment for the members of our chapter,” says Elissa Lechtenstein, a third-year student pharmacist and president of the School’s APhA-ASP chapter. “We all work very hard to plan and implement a wide range of outreach initiatives that showcase the important role that pharmacists can play in patients’ health care, so having our efforts recognized at the national level was incredible. We also have not placed nationally in some time, which makes us even more proud to know that we are returning to a level of excellence that sets us apart from other chapters across the country.”

In addition to receiving an award recognizing the chapter, Lechtenstein celebrated a personal accomplishment at the APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition. She was elected to serve as one of APhA-ASP’s national members-at-large, a position in which she will oversee communications and social media for all of the APhA-ASP chapters. “Having competed against 11 other student pharmacists for this role – all of whom are outstanding individuals and truly dedicated to the mission of APhA-ASP – it feels surreal to have been elected by my peers to serve in a national office. I will work as hard as I can in my new appointment to assure the members of APhA-ASP chapters across the country that they made the right decision in appointing me to this important position,” she says.

Lechtenstein was also honored with APhA Foundation’s Mary Louise Andersen Scholarship in recognition of her exceptional pharmacy leadership.

Nine third-year student pharmacists and members of the School’s PLS chapter were also recognized during the APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition with the Phi Lambda Sigma 2016 Charles Thomas Leadership Challenge Award. The award was presented to chapter members for their proposal titled “More Than Status: Providing Education to Empower Future Pharmacy Leaders,” which aimed to promote awareness of the need for pharmacists to obtain provider status, as well as provide guidance for working with state pharmacy leaders to create and implement a strategy that would modify state statutes to grant pharmacists provider status.

The team’s proposal was selected to receive the award by the Phi Lambda Sigma National Executive Committee from among 31 proposals submitted by PLS chapters at colleges and schools of pharmacy across the United States.

“This award represents a great opportunity for our chapter to garner national recognition and to work collaboratively with the members of other chapters to place ourselves at the forefront of the push for provider status,” says Huan Tran, president of the School’s PLS chapter. “It is a chance for our members to impress the importance of advocacy upon the next generation of Phi Lambda Sigma leaders.”

“This award truly affirms our School’s efforts in pushing for provider status,” adds Joshua Chou, chair of the Leadership Challenge team. “Our student body has been very active in advocating for this issue, from participating in health fairs at Capitol Hill to meeting with our state’s legislators in Annapolis. Moving forward, it is my hope that this award will serve as a platform upon which we can further those advocacy efforts.”

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