Ms. Sax is a freelance writer based in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
This month's RESPy Award winner, Kayla Hatt, has long
known she would pursue a career in health care. "My
mother is a nurse, and I always wanted to pursue a
career in health care, so I looked at every health care profession
before deciding on pharmacy," she said.
Hatt, now in her final year at Drake University College of
Pharmacy and Health Sciences, also is very active in legislative
activities and believes that it is vital for students to
understand legislation that ultimately will affect their profession.
"I have a huge interest in legislation and policy," she
said. "Pharmacy is such a regulated profession, and we are
leaving decisions to people whose only knowledge of pharmacy
is their trip to [their local pharmacy]."
The realization that she was not as informed as she would
like to be led her to serve as membership chair for the Drake
Pharmacy Unified Group of Students and as the liaison and representative
to the Iowa Pharmacy Association. She also served
as the student political information network chair for the local
chapter of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of
Student Pharmacists. It was an office that Hatt took to a new
level—an effort that made an impression on the advisors.
"Kayla went above and beyond in this endeavor, arranging
weekly sessions for pharmacy students to provide political
information, as well as get them involved in various activities,
such as letter-writing campaigns," said Renae Chesnut, associate
dean of academic/student affairs at Drake University.
About the School
Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is
committed to providing an outstanding curriculum, enhanced
with extracurricular programs focused on developing entrepreneurial
leaders with professional commitment to embrace
change and advocate for their respective professions.
The college?s Doctor of Pharmacy program is a 6-year course
of study that prepares students for community or institutional
practice, postgraduate education, or an array of other practice
opportunities for pharmacists. The faculty members of the college
are committed to providing an active and experiential learning
environment that requires students to develop knowledge,
skills, and attitudes necessary to develop problem-solving and decision-
Current graduates from the Doctor of Pharmacy program continue
into community-based retail practice, clinic and specialty
practices, hospitals, and long-term care practices. A significant percentage
of graduates continue on to postgraduate education and
training opportunities, such as residency and fellowship training.
This dedication to advocacy is typical for Hatt, and this is
shown in all her endeavors. "Kayla has been a role model for
all pharmacy students when it comes to service activities in
the public sector," said Chesnut. Hatt has been involved with
Des Moines YMCA Healthy Kids Day, activities at the local
Ronald McDonald House, the Ruby Van Meter Elementary
School (special needs children), Blank Park Zoo's Night Eyes,
and Special Olympics. She also has served as a Blank Children's
Hospital Playroom Volunteer, a kindergarten and 2nd grade
Sunday school teacher, as well as a
coordinator for an American Red Cross
Last year, Hatt led efforts for Drake
and University of Iowa students to
conduct health screenings at the
Iowa State Capital during the Iowa
Pharmacy Association's Legislative
Day. "The activity helped the Iowa legislature
in better understanding the
role that pharmacists play in health care," said Chesnut.
"When legislators see us in action, they see what we can
do," said Hatt. "When we were doing the screenings or handing
out educational materials, many of them initially thought
we were nurses or medical students. When they realized we
were pharmacy students, you heard a lot of 'Oh, I did not know
pharmacists could do that.' That is just what we need to tell
them we can do. It is the way the profession is moving."
On a national level, Hatt served on the American
Pharmacists Policy Standing Committee. After attending the
University of Utah School on Alcoholism and Other Drug
Dependencies, Hatt served as the chair of Drake's Pharmacy
Recovery Network. She said that the experience has helped
her to better understand and treat patients with dependencies.
In September, Hatt will begin a 2-year masters program in
Health System Pharmacy Administration. This leadership program
will help further develop valuable skills Hatt may use upon
graduation. Once in the field, with these leadership skills, she
will be able to make an important contribution as an effective