Ms. Sax is a freelance writer based in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
This month's RESPy Award winner, Kayla Hatt, has long known she would pursue a career in health care. "My mother is a nurse, and I always wanted to pursue a career in health care, so I looked at every health care profession before deciding on pharmacy," she said.
Hatt, now in her final year at Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, also is very active in legislative activities and believes that it is vital for students to understand legislation that ultimately will affect their profession. "I have a huge interest in legislation and policy," she said. "Pharmacy is such a regulated profession, and we are leaving decisions to people whose only knowledge of pharmacy is their trip to [their local pharmacy]."
The realization that she was not as informed as she would like to be led her to serve as membership chair for the Drake Pharmacy Unified Group of Students and as the liaison and representative to the Iowa Pharmacy Association. She also served as the student political information network chair for the local chapter of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists. It was an office that Hatt took to a new level—an effort that made an impression on the advisors. "Kayla went above and beyond in this endeavor, arranging weekly sessions for pharmacy students to provide political information, as well as get them involved in various activities, such as letter-writing campaigns," said Renae Chesnut, associate dean of academic/student affairs at Drake University.
About the School
Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is committed to providing an outstanding curriculum, enhanced with extracurricular programs focused on developing entrepreneurial leaders with professional commitment to embrace change and advocate for their respective professions.
The college?s Doctor of Pharmacy program is a 6-year course of study that prepares students for community or institutional practice, postgraduate education, or an array of other practice opportunities for pharmacists. The faculty members of the college are committed to providing an active and experiential learning environment that requires students to develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to develop problem-solving and decision- making skills.
Current graduates from the Doctor of Pharmacy program continue into community-based retail practice, clinic and specialty practices, hospitals, and long-term care practices. A significant percentage of graduates continue on to postgraduate education and training opportunities, such as residency and fellowship training.
This dedication to advocacy is typical for Hatt, and this is shown in all her endeavors. "Kayla has been a role model for all pharmacy students when it comes to service activities in the public sector," said Chesnut. Hatt has been involved with Des Moines YMCA Healthy Kids Day, activities at the local Ronald McDonald House, the Ruby Van Meter Elementary School (special needs children), Blank Park Zoo's Night Eyes, and Special Olympics. She also has served as a Blank Children's Hospital Playroom Volunteer, a kindergarten and 2nd grade Sunday school teacher, as well as a coordinator for an American Red Cross blood drive.
Last year, Hatt led efforts for Drake and University of Iowa students to conduct health screenings at the Iowa State Capital during the Iowa Pharmacy Association's Legislative Day. "The activity helped the Iowa legislature in better understanding the role that pharmacists play in health care," said Chesnut.
"When legislators see us in action, they see what we can do," said Hatt. "When we were doing the screenings or handing out educational materials, many of them initially thought we were nurses or medical students. When they realized we were pharmacy students, you heard a lot of 'Oh, I did not know pharmacists could do that.' That is just what we need to tell them we can do. It is the way the profession is moving."
On a national level, Hatt served on the American Pharmacists Policy Standing Committee. After attending the University of Utah School on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies, Hatt served as the chair of Drake's Pharmacy Recovery Network. She said that the experience has helped her to better understand and treat patients with dependencies.
In September, Hatt will begin a 2-year masters program in Health System Pharmacy Administration. This leadership program will help further develop valuable skills Hatt may use upon graduation. Once in the field, with these leadership skills, she will be able to make an important contribution as an effective leader.