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College of Pharmacy


Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center

Student Reflections

Pharmacy students reflect on the educational training or professional development opportunities they participated in with financial support or scholarships from the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center at USC.

Rotation Scholarship: Disney Center for Living Well - Orlando, Florida

Gabby Safa, Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2022

"My experience at the Disney Center for Living Well was one of the most magical rotations of my P4 year! The center is located right behind Epcot; it’s so close you can see the Epcot ball when you look out the window. Our patient population is strictly Disney World employees, so it is always fun seeing a cast member come in wearing their uniform and trying to identify what ride or shop they work at.

Although this site is categorized as a community rotation, the pharmacy is unique in that it is attached to a clinic, so there were plenty of opportunities for ambulatory care encounters. One of these experiences was medication therapy management, which involves calling patients who had recently been discharged from a hospital stay and evaluating how they are doing on their discharge medications. Another responsibility I had was developing patient care plans for Care Teams, which involved working up a patient who had recently developed a disease and seeing what medications needed to be initiated or how we could optimize their current therapy. There were also plenty of opportunities to counsel patients on unique dosage forms since our pharmacy dispensed many injectable medications.

The ambulatory care services were excellent in developing my clinical skills, but I also gained many valuable experiences through the community side of the rotation. My preceptor, Dr. Haley Lang, provided me plenty of opportunities to prepare for a role as a community pharmacist such as prescription verification, providing recommendations on over-the-counter medications, and completing projects that strengthened my knowledge on unconventional medications that are commonly dispensed at that site. I appreciate the fact that this rotation had a nice variety of services that the pharmacists provide. After completing this rotation, my pharmacy knowledge has grown, and I have become more well-rounded in my abilities.

After a hard day’s work at the pharmacy, I would often spend my time off in the Disney World parks. I thoroughly enjoyed having such a great balance between learning so much while at the pharmacy, then spending my time off riding rides, eating great food, and being in the most magical place on Earth."

Travel Scholarship: MEDISCA Student Pharmacist Compounding Competition

Rebecca Caughman, Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2019

"Participating in the 2018 Medisca Student Pharmacist Compounding Competition is an experience I will never forget.  Through this experience, I gained knowledge and confidence that will help me excel in my career as a pharmacist.  SPCC Nationals allowed me and my team to test our compounding abilities and challenge ourselves.  We were able to be creative and work on an innovation piece that could help the compounding world.  During the competition, we were able to network with students from pharmacy schools around the country.  Additionally, we were able to meet professionals from Medisca, United States Pharmacopeia (USP), and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).  At the conclusion of the competition, our team placed second overall nationally, and I won the title of Compounding Challenge Champion which earned our team a trip to the World Congress of Compounding in Las Vegas in October! 

The competition itself was divided into four sections.  The first portion was the Compounding Classic where we compounded two products and created Master Formulation Records for both as a team.  Next, we were tested on our knowledge during a two-part Jeopardy game.  We were excited that we won our section’s second round of Jeopardy.  To conclude the team competition, we recorded our innovation piece presentation to sell our idea to the judges.  The fourth and final portion of the compounding competition was the Compounding Challenge.  This was the head-to-head competition where one team member was selected to represent the team.  I was fortunate to have this opportunity and compete for my team.  During this challenge, I was tasked with creating a dosage form that was appropriate for the situation as well as convincing the physician it was the best choice.

Funds available through the Kennedy Center allowed me and my team to make the trip to Florida for this two-day competition.  Without the financial support provided by the Kennedy Center scholarship, the cost of the trip would have been challenging on a student budget.  I am thankful for this experience and am looking forward to using and applying the knowledge that I gained.  I would like to thank the Kennedy Center for helping me have this worthwhile experience."

Travel Scholarship: Digital Health South East (DIHSE) Conference

Chuck Hennes, Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2020

The Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center would like to honor Chuck Hennes, for being selected to attend the first ever Digital Health South East (DiHSE) Conference in downtown Greenville on September 22nd, 2017. This premiere health care tech event for consumer health, wellness, and future medicine was geared towards individuals in the digital health care community with an entrepreneurial spirit looking for new opportunities.

Chuck attended a seminar about how to capture value as a health care provider hosted by Christopher Mcguire, co-founder of iScripts, Dr. Mark Bringham, Chief Medical Informatics Officer at Spartanburg Regional Hospital System, and Lorelei Puthuff, System Architect at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. The panel of professionals went over how they started off in the digital health industry and what they had to do to achieve the positions that they are in now. The seminar was set up as a group discussion which allowed the attendees to be able to openly converse with the guest speakers and ask personalized questions. Chuck said that “this was very beneficial because of all the different perspectives that each host provided on how to capture value as a provider from digital health. For example, the topic of presenting a new technological product came up and even though each host came from a different background they all came down to the same conclusion that a new technological product needs to solve a problem, save time, and save the company money or make the company money.”

Aside from the break out seminar hosted in the afternoon, Chuck heard 3 other key note speakers throughout the day. These speakers included Dr. Lucile Ide, CEO & Cofounder of Rimidi, Mark Treshock, Associate partner of Healthcare and Life Sciences, IoT and Blockchain at IBM, and lastly Dale Rayman, SVP of Sharecare. Dr. Ide spoke about her startup company called Rimidi, an app that mainly focuses on diabetes management in the state of Georgia, and how she started with the idea and the struggles it took to make her dream take off. Mark Treshock spoke about Blockchainning and its implications in the digital health community. Dale Rayman introduced the app Sharecare and all of its amazing features to improve patient health and wellness. In closing Chuck said “that this was one of the most beneficial conferences I have ever attended and was specifically geared towards my interests. Hearing all of these amazing ideas and getting input on some of my ideas was invaluable. With only about 77 attendees I was able to have long and in depth conversations with some of the key note speakers and gained a multitude of knowledge that will follow me in my future endeavors.

Rotation Scholarship: Barney's Pharmacy

Tyler Ancona, Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2018

"Barney’s Pharmacy has to be one of the best independent community pharmacies out there! I have always been interested in ownership and getting to spend a month with this staff and the owner, Barry, taught me so much.  The experience and knowledge I am taking away from this rotation is invaluable. I have never seen such consistent great customer service and care for patients. It would be amazing if every pharmacy could strive to be like this one. The amount of things that were offered through the pharmacy at no cost to the patient was amazing! During my time at Barney’s, some of the things I was able to offer to the patients included free point of care testing, wellness Wednesdays, and I was able to help teach a Diabetes class. This is one of the rare rotations which makes the students feel as if they are really needed and a vital member of the team. I am extremely grateful that KPIC gave me the opportunity to go through this experience and learn all that I did."

Travel Scholarship: ACCP Annual Meeting

Matthew Berry, Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2019

"During my experience at ACCP's annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, I was able to represent the South Carolina College of Pharmacy with 15 other fellow students.  This scholarship provided me the opportunity to present my team's research to a large number of people and share with them the discoveries we have med.  Our research explored the idea that pharmacists are needed as researchers to make significant contributions in patient care and improve public health, while also expanding the role of a clinical pharmacist.  We designed an experiment with the guidance of Dr. Bookstaver looking at the rate of pharmacy authorship in top-tier peer-reviewed medical journals in 3 disciplines: pediatrics, cardiology, and infectious disease.  We are still in the process of collecting data, but from the data we have analyzed, the rate of pharmacy authorship more than doubled in the pediatric and cardiology disciplines.

This was an incredible opportunity to present our findings to numerous people from across the country.  I was able to meet and network with pharmacists from Athens, Augusta, Chicago, Hendersonville, and Phoenix.  Not only did I get to expand my pharmacy network, I also had the opportunity to attend specialty specific meetings at the convention, such as an infectious disease bugs and drugs seminar and an infectious disease business meeting, where I was able to again network with other pharmacists in the work of infectious disease.  I also met with various residency program directors at a residency showcase event.  This was a great opportunity because it allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and go speak with directors about their programs, and seek their advice on how I can be more competitive candidate for those programs in the year and a half that I have left in school.  

Lastly, I got to meet some great people and build friendships that will last a lifetime.  I was able to get to know people that I sit in class with on a daily basis, and I even got to know some of our faculty members on a personal level.  Overall, I had an incredible experience, and I cannot thank the Kennedy Center and the Kennedys enough for their generous contributions for providing me the opportunity of a lifetime."

Rotation Scholarship: PCCA Specialty Rotations - Academic and Drug Information

Emily Kennell, Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2018

"My time at Professional Compounding Centers of America was nothing short of amazing. I came to Houston for two month-long rotations at PCCA, not knowing what to expect. In my first month on rotation with Dr. Bindhu Batra, I acted as teaching assistant for the Veterinary course lab, Advanced Compounding course lab, and Introductory Compounding Boot Camp.

Through these opportunities, I learned ample amounts of pharmacy information directly related to compounding – an area which is not thoroughly covered in typical pharmacy curriculum. I sat in for lecture after lecture on specialized compounding areas and now feel extremely prepared to enter the compounding field as a pharmacist. I watched online webinars and revised curriculum to help PCCA develop new learning opportunities for students, and truly got a feel for developing pharmacy curriculum and the teaching side of pharmacy.

In my second month on rotation with Bruce Biundo, I refined my drug-information literature searching skills for compounding pharmacy and learned how to navigate resources I had previously never used. I learned to think about pharmacy not only as a clinician, but as a scientist. I researched chemical and physical properties of drugs to find new solutions based on what we knew about the chemicals and predicted how they could impact patients. I answered obscure pharmacy questions with thorough explanations and impacted the lives of patients throughout the country with unique needs. I spent three days at PCCA’s Comprehensive Compounding Course, where I reviewed basic compounding skills in the lab, learned about new opportunities in compounding regarding business ventures and clinical updates, and learned how I can use various bases to change the route of administration for active pharmaceutical ingredients to fit a variety of patient needs. I contributed to two articles, soon to be published in pharmacy journals, as a co-author. One article discusses the clinical impact of hormone replacement therapy and reviews the pharmacotherapy in-depth, while the other article challenges aspects of USP 800 in comparison to safety measures already in place in compounding pharmacies. Both articles have great potential to impact the compounding industry and I was thrilled to be a part of them.

None of this would have been possible without the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center Scholarship. This scholarship made it possible for me to spend two months at the best place in America to be completely immersed in compounding pharmacy and prepared me to be an innovative compounding pharmacist when I graduate."

Travel Scholarship: ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting

Laura Jane Baker Straw, Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2018

"Through the generosity and support of the Kennedy Center, I was able to attend the American Society of Health System Pharmacists Clinical Midyear Meeting in Orlando, FL. This meeting provides many different opportunities to students and practitioners, such as networking with other colleagues and professionals as well as expanding their knowledge and skills.

As a fourth year student, I had the opportunity to present a poster during one of the student poster sessions of my current research. My research is looking at the effects of capping heparin doses and infusion rates for the treatment of venous thromboembolisms on activated partial thromboplastin time in patients who are obese versus those who are not obese. This gave me the opportunity to enhance my presentation skills and network with other practitioners as they would come by to read and discuss my research. This conference also gave me the unique opportunity to network with different residency programs from all around the nation. Because I am interested in pursuing a residency post-graduation, it was a wonderful occasion to speak with the current residents from different residency programs and residency program directors. In speaking with specific programs I was able to have a majority of my questions answered, meet face-to-face with programs before applying as well as just having an opportunity to network and converse with other practitioners in our profession.

The ASHP Midyear meeting was truly an incredible experience and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend. The generosity of the Kennedy Center is helping to make my goals and dreams a reality. I look forward to the day when I am able to give back and support students achieve their goals, just as the Kennedy Center has done for me."


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