Kawar's Leadership Earns Her RESPy Award

FEBRUARY 01, 2008
Barbara Sax

Ms. Sax is a freelance writer based in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Kathleen Kawar

Kathleen Kawar, a fifth-year student at the Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences of Long Island University (LIU), proves that you can lead with a quiet example. Kawar is involved in many community outreach projects and professional programs. It is through these programs that she has become known as a dependable team member who, in a low-key way, makes a big impact on those around her.

This year, Kawar serves as the president of the college's chapter of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). "Once she took on the responsibility for the [ASHP] chapter, she looked for opportunities where she could make a difference," said Patrick Campbell, director of student and professional activities, who submitted Kawar's nomination. "She organized a poison prevention elementary education program with pharmacy students and clinical staff member Dr. Catherine Tom- Revson, which took place at a local first-grade classroom, and she organized an information table on pharmacy as a profession at a local high school health fair. Whenever an opportunity came up, she was right there to take part." She also coordinated a "Medicines in My Home" lesson for use in a local high school classroom.

About the School

The Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is Long Island University?s oldest unit. Established in 1886 as the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy, the college has completed more than 100 years of service to the state and the nation in educating more than 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students?many who have attained prominence in pharmacy and the other health professions.

Dean Stephen Gross, EdD, calls the college a ?modern and model urban institution that provides access and excellence to those [students] who are interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy and related areas.? Dr. Gross said that the school?s extraordinary faculty and state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities are integrated with the most prestigious and comprehensive array of clinical affiliations in the United States. Over 30 major medical centers and long-term care facilities, hundreds of community pharmacies, and the school?s world-renowned Drug Information Center participate in the school?s network. The college focuses on preparing students for contemporary practice, while envisioning future trends and expanded roles.

Kawar said these activities are the most meaningful to her. "I love working with ASHP, because they are focused on how our profession is changing to become more clinically focused. I really liked working on the poison prevention and ?Medicines in My Home' projects, because I like to work with children, and these were great opportunities to educate kids about medication safety and safety in the home," she said.

Kawar also participates in health fairs, most recently in Brooklyn Hospital's asthma and smoking cessation clinics. She also led the ASHP chapter's participation in their hypertension screening and counseling table at a local health fair.

Since the college places significant emphasis on expanding the scope of pharmacy practice through legislative advocacy and leadership, it is no surprise that Kawar has helped organize Pharmacy Lobby Day in Albany, in which she also participated. At this event, she met with state legislators to encourage broadening the pharmacists' scope of practice.

"We have been taught that it is important for people to know what a big impact pharmacists can have on a patient's health," she said. "It is important for us to educate legislators on what we are able to do to better help patients and have a greater impact on the health care system." Kawar visited Albany twice last year—once with 400 pharmacy LIU students and again with the New York State Council of Health-System Pharmacists—to meet with legislators.

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 or her community by demonstrating excellence in pharmaceutical care. For more information, please visit www.pharmacytimes.com/RESPy.

Being in the New York metropolitan area offers unique challenges and opportunities. In 2006, Kawar led a group of pharmacy students to appear on ABC's Good Morning America to promote the profession during American Pharmacists Month. "We made signs promoting pharmacy and urging people to talk to their pharmacists. It was really exciting," she said.

Her quiet confidence has made her a standout student. "The great thing about Kathleen is that she is always giving her best. You can always count on her, yet she does not always push herself forward," said Campbell.

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