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A Challenging Path to a PharmD Degree

Iris Rosendahl
Published Online: Monday, January 1, 2007   [ Request Print ]

Getting a PharmD degree is an accomplishment for anyone, but for Cindy Mitman?January's RESPy winner?it is an even greater achievement. She managed to get her bachelor of science (BS) degree in chemistry and is in her last year as a pharmacy student in Philadelphia while raising 2 daughters, Kayla, 16, and Krista, 12. In addition, her husband David was in the military for some of that time. "I went to 4 different colleges before I got my [BS] degree. We moved around a lot," she said. She gives her family a lot of credit for helping her. "When I graduate," she added, "it will be a family graduation," accomplished with the assistance of her husband, children, parents, and brothers.

Mitman, now 37, looks back to 2003 when her husband was in Kuwait for 3 months and she was working as a chemist. "He got there one week before the war started.We always sent care packages." Knowing what it meant to the soldiers to get these packages, she started a program while she was treasurer of the North Carolina branch of the American Chemical Society to collect donations for the troops and shipped them to the Middle East. When she began at Temple University School of Pharmacy, she was looking for a way to do community service. So she pulled together Operation Troop Support, beginning with a slide show made in Iraq and Kuwait that showed what it is like for soldiers while they are working and on their days off.

The project grew larger when the director of alumni relations and external affairs, Brenda Malinics, got 8 pharmacies involved. "We made posters and collection bins. All the pharmacy fraternities and pharmacy organizations got involved, each taking care of 2 Rite Aids," to see that items were collected and the posters were kept fresh-looking." The dental school donated 15 boxes of dental supplies; the Office of Student Activities at the Health Sciences Campus gave Tshirts and mugs; and the bookstore contributed writing paper and disposable cameras,"said Mitman. "I think it was the first time I saw every school organization get involved in one huge project."

"I also went to a couple of health fairs to educate providers and recipients," said Mitman. "The fairs were a great opportunity to counsel patients on medications and the health care system in general."

As for the future, Mitman thinks she would like to do a residency at Lehigh Valley Hospital, which just started the program this year. "This will add another year to my pharmacy work, but I want to be a clinical pharmacist."


About the College

Temple University School of Pharmacy

Founded in 1901, Temple University School of Pharmacy in Philadelphia is located in the university's Health Science Center, which also houses the School of Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Medicine, the Temple University Hospital, and Temple Children's Medical Center. Graduates are prepared to "deliver evidence-based and ethical pharmaceutical care to patients in a variety of practice settings," notes the school's Web site.

Students are admitted to the PharmD program after completing a minimum of 60 semester hours of preprofessional collegiate study at an accredited community college or college/university. In addition to the doctor of pharmacy program, graduate programs leading to master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in the pharmaceutical sciences are available. The school also offers a "unique and highly regarded master of science program in quality assurance/regulatory affairs."

The Wal-Mart/Pharmacy Times RESPy AWARD (Respect, Excellence, and Service in Pharmacy) is presented to the student who has made a difference in his/her community by demonstrating excellence in pharmaceutical care.

Ms. Rosendahl is a freelance writer based in Fort Lee, NJ.


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