Making a Difference Through Diabetes Education

Author: Jennifer Whartenby, Associate Editor

RESPy winner Leah Snyder is committed to assisting patients with diabetes in her northeast Louisiana community.

Leah Snyder, who will graduate in 2011 with a PharmD from the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) College of Pharmacy, has a passion for diabetes education and management. In her first year of pharmacy school, Snyder participated in a blood glucose screening that showed her the impact she could have on patients with diabetes—and her fate was sealed.

Since that first encounter helping others through pharmacy, Snyder has proven to be a tireless collaborator with both patients and her colleagues. Snyder spearheaded an innovative new diabetes program in her local community and volunteered at a shelter to help people affected by Hurricane Gustav. Snyder serves as president of the ULM College of Pharmacy’s Student Council, and also belongs to a variety of professional associations, including the Louisiana Pharmacists Association.

Snyder’s dedication to service embodies the values of the Walmart/Pharmacy Times RESPy award, making her an obvious choice to be June’s winner. Pharmacy Times asked Snyder about her experiences as a student and her thoughts on the state of the profession today.

Q.   Why did you decide to become a pharmacist?

A.   I have wanted to become a pharmacist since I was in the second grade. My grandmother was often very ill, and I remember all the medicine she took to feel better. I was always interested in how those little pills had the power to heal the sick, and wanted to learn more about the world of pharmacy.

Q.   What has been the most challenging part of pharmacy school?

A.   After Hurricane Gustav, the ULM College of Pharmacy students worked at shelters to help provide displaced people access to their medications. This was a very challenging time—figuring out how to help people who had nothing. The many stories and situations were heart wrenching.

Q.   What has been your most rewarding extracurricular activity?

A.   During my second year in pharmacy school, I created and coordinated the “The Low-Sugar Showcase,” an event where local restaurants highlighted diabetic-friendly foods. The event also included free blood glucose screening, body mass index testing, foot screenings, blood pressure screening, and a variety of educational booths. It is very satisfying to be able to explain someone’s blood glucose readings to them and work with diabetic patients to reach their target goals.

Q.   What has been the best part of your experience at the ULM College of Pharmacy?

A.   My husband, Chase, and I met in prepharmacy and attended the same pharmacy school. We got married this past January.

Q.   Is there a someone you worked with who helped you become a better pharmacist?

A.   Throughout pharmacy school, I worked in my hometown community pharmacy, where I learned the most important lesson of all is to truly care for people. I had amazing pharmacists as mentors who instilled in me that pharmacy is not about pills or numbers, but it is about healing patients and doing our best to keep them at their best.

Q.   What are your plans after graduation?

A.   I plan to become a certified diabetes educator and work toward becoming board certified in Advanced Diabetes Management. My goal is to work with patients in a community setting to provide diabetes education and care.

Q.   What do you think is the most important issue in the field of pharmacy today?

A.   Patient education and disease state management are critical. In today’s technology-filled world, it is up to pharmacists to give our patients solid and trusted information about their disease states and drug regimens. Adding a clinical aspect to the community setting will enhance health care and benefit everyone involved. PT



About the School
The University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) College of Pharmacy was founded in 1956 in response to a shortage of pharmacists in Louisiana. The ULM College of Pharmacy offers 4 degree programs, leading to a Bachelor of Science in toxicology, an MS in one of 6 pharmacy-related fields, a PharmD, or a PhD.



About RESPy
The Walmart/Pharmacy Times 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/RESPy.