Shadi Clark decided on the field of pharmacy after a rewarding experience shadowing an oncology pharmacist as an undergraduate. “I realized the positive impact pharmacists have not only in the community, but in the health care team. After that experience, I knew that I wanted to be a part of that team and help influence patient care,” says Clark, who will graduate as a PharmD from the University of Utah College of Pharmacy in spring 2011.
Through her many extracurricular activities, Clark already cares for patients and helps educate the public. A fine representative of an upcoming generation of pharmacists, Clark has been selected as the Walmart/Pharmacy Times RESPy winner for February.
Clark is a leader at the College of Pharmacy when it comes to public service. She is president of the University of Utah chapter of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP), and serves as chair of the Operation Immunization, Operation Diabetes, and heartburn awareness committees.
Inspired by a trip to the APhA-ASP Summer Leadership Institute, Clark worked with classmates to organize the first annual pharmacy gala and charity auction, which raised over $12,000 for the Maliheh Free Clinic in Salt Lake City. After the event, Clark began volunteering at the clinic, where she spends hours providing prescription assistance, counseling patients, and taking medication histories. “I learn just as much from being involved with research, health fairs, and other activities as I do from a textbook,” Clark says. Clark is currently helping to organize the second annual gala and auction to benefit the clinic, and donations have already exceeded her expectations.
When she and other APhA-ASP members are out at health fairs and events in the Salt Lake City area, Clark often finds that the public is not always aware of the many roles a pharmacist can play in health care. “I think most people are surprised to find out that pharmacists can give immunizations or take blood glucose and cholesterol screenings,” she explains.
Clark is also working to educate Utah residents about a hot topic in the field—drug diversion and abuse. She founded a student group—the Utah Student Committee on Drug Abuse Education—to teach teens about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. The group attended Utah Department of Health meetings about the topic and developed a PowerPoint presentation, which they currently give to local high school and junior high school students. As a result of this effort, Clark was one of only 40 health care professional students in the country to be named a 2009 Paul Ambrose Scholar by the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research.
Clark has also made significant effort to advance the field of pharmacy by getting actively involved with policymaking efforts on the state and national levels. On Utah Legislative Day, Clark spoke with lawmakers about the importance of pharmacists in providing quality health care to patients. In the summer of 2009, she met with Senator Orrin Hatch’s health care advisor on behalf of APhA to discuss the pharmacist’s role in health care reform. “I was at an APhA meeting in DC when this opportunity came up,” said Clark. “I found it very rewarding.”
Looking ahead, Clark plans on completing a residency after graduation. “I am excited to start my rotations during my fourth year so I can narrow down my interests. I also love teaching and see myself in the academic setting,” Clark says. Whatever she chooses, a leader and educator like Clark will surely make a strong impact on patient care. ■
About the School
Founded in 1946, the University of Utah College of Pharmacy in Salt Lake City, Utah, is part of the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. Its location in L.S. Skaggs Hall has state-of-the-art facilities to train students in professional pharmacy practice and biomedical sciences. The College of Pharmacy offers 4 degrees: Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Philosophy, PharmD/PhD dual pathway, and Master of Science in Pharmacotherapy. The University of Utah College of Pharmacy is ranked second in the nation by the National Institutes of Health for research productivity.
The Walmart/Pharmacy Times RESPy Award
The RESPy (Respect, Excellence, and Service in Pharmacy) award is presented to the student who has made a difference in his or her community by demonstrating excellence in pharmaceutical care.
For more information, please visit www.PharmacyTimes.com.