The Wal-Mart/Pharmacy Times RESPy Award is given to pharmacy students based on their completion of voluntary service activities and professional/public health?related activities outside the classroom, as well as their level of effort to advance the profession of pharmacy. This month's winner, Lindy Wood, a 4th-year student at Washington State University (WSU), has demonstrated all of those qualities and has excelled in the eyes of her school administrators. In fact, her nomination letter, submitted by Joshua J. Neumiller, PharmD, CGP, FASCP, assistant professor at WSU, Stephen M. Setter, PharmD, CGP, CDE, associate professor at WSU, and Mark Garrison, PharmD, assistant dean of student services and associate professor at WSU, emphatically stated that "Lindy Wood is an extraordinary pharmacy student, and her volunteer work within the Spokane [Washington] community and the Inland Northwest indicate her devotion to bettering the pharmacy profession."
Wood received her motivation to enter the profession from her older sister, who is a pharmacist. Although she had no interest in pharmacy as a career choice at the time and thought it would be a boring profession, Wood changed her perception of pharmacy while still in high school when her sister entered a residency program. She realized that it was not just about counting pills—"I realized that as a pharmacist, I could have a lot of personal interaction with patients and help them understand their medications."
She applied to and was accepted to WSU, where she quickly became involved in various community groups in Spokane, including the Parkinson's Resource Center (PRC) and the Inland Northwest Alzheimer's Association. In her third professional year, Wood had the opportunity to learn from a fellowship-trained movement disorder neurologist, Anthony Santiago, MD—an opportunity that she found invaluable. "I was able to work with a fantastic neurologist who not only taught me a great deal from a medicine standpoint, but also showed me how to really connect with patients and listen to their needs," she said. She was able to interact with many patients with Parkinson's disease, as well as other movement disorders and different forms and degrees of dementia, and complete medication evaluations for these patients. "It was a great opportunity to see exactly how and why the neurologist was using a particular drug and all of the considerations that go into tailoring a Parkinson's (or other movement disorder) regimen," she concluded.
About the College
The Washington State University (WSU) College of Pharmacy has programs on both of the university's Pullman and Spokane campuses. Students in the doctor of pharmacy program study on the Pullman campus for the first 2 years and then transfer to classes on the Spokane campus. The university's 4-year professional PharmD program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education and admits 94 students each year. In addition, the college offers PhD and master's programs in pharmacology/toxicology; a master's degree program in health policy and administration; as well as degrees in exercise sciences and dietetics.
Her work at the PRC deepened her interest in working with patients with movement disorders. Wood is now a member of the Board of Directors of the PRC (and represents the first student member appointed). She leads her own section of the PRC newsletter and has volunteered at the center by answering phone calls and e-mails and participating in its annual "Carnival of Wellness." In addition, she gave an educational talk about managing the side effects of Parkinson's drugs, as part of the PRC's monthly TeleHealth program, in which the organization brings in a speaker, and the talk is broadcast throughout various locations in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska.
Wood also has served as president for the Epsilon Chapter of Rho Chi, the pharmacy honor society at WSU. This position allowed her to finely tune her leadership skills, and under her guidance, the chapter increased its volunteerism efforts and social activities, including peer tutoring and volunteering at a local food bank. She also is an active member of a number of national, state, and local pharmacy organizations.
After graduation, Wood hopes to complete an ambulatory residency with the geriatrics team at WSU. After that, she is interested in pursuing a fellowship to obtain further training in geriatric care, with a possible focus on movement disorders and Alzheimer's disease. Because of her strong interest in academia and teaching, she also hopes to pursue that avenue in the future.
The Wal-Mart/Pharmacy Times RESPy Award
The RESPy (Respect, Excellence, and Service in Pharmacy) is presented to the student who has made a difference in his or her community by demonstrating excellence in pharmaceutical care.