November 21, 2014

By: Lauren Dobiesz, PharmD’18, and Josephine Tan, PharmD’18

The Kentucky Derby theme may have been what originally piqued our curiosity, but it was the professional growth and networking that made the American Pharmacists Association - Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Midyear Regional Meeting (MRM) truly memorable. The weekend was packed with a variety of activities, including leadership and advocacy workshops, chapter showcase roundtables, and a policy debate.

“As first-year students, we were surprised by the potential for growth that can occur through organizational involvement. It was amazing to see the collaboration and encouragement that arises from communication between the chapters. We additionally realized that these changes do not always need to occur on a large scale; individual students can make small scale improvements that can be widely implemented later,” states Lauren Dobiesz and Josephine Tan.

During the leadership workshop, students were given the opportunity to draft personal mission statements and SMART goals. It was learned that both are critical steps to success that can fuel and direct passion and determination. Mission statements and SMART goals are important across the pharmacy profession - for the student, the resident, or the working professional.

Additionally, MRM provided U-M students with the opportunity to network with students from other chapters. The chapter showcase roundtable was one particular event where the different schools were able to highlight and share their strengths pertaining to APhA-ASP. There were a wide variety of topics including media coverage, generation RX, advertising, advocacy, and membership.

“This experience allowed us to appreciate the differences between schools of Pharmacy,” adds Tan.

As part of MRM2014, U-M College of Pharmacy students participated in the Region 4 policy debate. Each school developed a policy proposal to be voted upon by the chapters. This methodical process began with an open debate that allowed any student to support, rebut, or raise question to the proposal. The following day, chapter representatives shared the opinions to create a final regional vote on each individual policy. This event showed the potential that we as students have to voice opinions and enact policy change. U-M’s proposal on allowing pharmacists to administer and interpret TB tests was the only unopposed proposal for the entire region!

By the conclusion of MRM2014, it became clear why students attend year after year; it offers a unique experience depending on the student’s progression into the pharmacy program and their involvement in APhA-ASP.

“For us, it felt like a celebrated welcoming that taught us the continual impact we can have and also inspired investment in the organization,” ends Dobiesz.