Community Service Earns Johnson RESPy Award

JANUARY 01, 2009
Alicia Rybovic, Associate Editor

Dachelle Johnson, a fourth-year pharmacy student at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), is "the epitome of student involvement," said Arnold W. Karig, PhD, campus dean of the College of Pharmacy at MUSC, in his nomination of Johnson that earned her this month's RESPy Award. Johnson has not only been involved in many different school organizations, but she has been an active leader at the MUSC College of Pharmacy and has spent considerable time organizing, coordinating, and participating in pharmacy and general community health programs and has demonstrated a high level of effort to advance the pharmacy profession through her academic accomplishments.

Dachelle Johnson

Even though she did not decide to pursue pharmacy as a career until her second year of undergraduate courses, she immediately knew that this was the field for her, because she enjoys collaborating with other health care professionals to improve patient outcomes, the gratification obtained from direct patient care, as well as the countless opportunities that are available within the profession. She quickly became involved in various professional organizations on campus, which allowed her to participate in many volunteer activities and learn new leadership skills.

One of the organizations to which she devotes much of her time is the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA). Over the past several years, she has served as chapter delegate, regional meeting coordinator, chapter vice president, and national Region II facilitator of SNPhA. She has really enjoyed her work with SNPhA—"It is easy to give so much of yourself to an organization when you are working with wonderful people for one mission—to serve the underserved," she commented. With SNPhA, she participated in the Women's Health Symposium, in which she and other student members educated patients on diabetes and medication management.

About the College

The South Carolina College of Pharmacy (SCCP), a statewide education, research, and service institution, was formed in 2004 through the integration of the Colleges of Pharmacy at the University of South Carolina (USC) in Columbia, and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston. The integrated college brings together the nationally recognized faculty, staff, and resources of MUSC, a major academic medical center, and USC, a large comprehensive university, to create a statewide approach to pharmacy education that is on par with some of the most highly regarded colleges in the United States. SCCP offers the full 4-year PharmD and graduate programs on both campuses.

In addition, Johnson served as vice president for programs with the MUSC Student Government Association and planned and executed a variety of extracurricular campus-wide social and cultural events. She also served as vice president and community service chair for Phi Delta Chi Pharmacy Fraternity. In this role, she coordinated many service projects, including 2 Martin Luther King service projects that served Hispanic students and their families at an inner city school. With this organization, she also assisted on a regular basis with the Harvest Free Medical Clinic, where she obtained patient drug histories, provided drug information, and dispensed medications. Johnson has also volunteered her time in her community with the American Red Cross Blood and Bone Marrow Drive, Relay for Life, St. Jude's Hospital, World AIDS Day, Medicare Awareness Day, the Sugar Free Fall Festival, and others.

On the MUSC campus, Johnson serves on the MUSC Creating Collaborative Care Committee. The membership of this committee, according to Dean Karig, "is a mix of faculty and student leaders charged with developing and implementing a long-range plan for promoting interdisciplinary education and service." Thanks to all of her accomplishments and leadership skills, she was selected as one of 9 students as the first inductees of the MUSC Student Leadership Society in its inaugural year—a very high honor recognizing university-wide service, commitment, and leadership.

Johnson is now completing her pharmacy clinical rotations and applying for residencies. Her rotation experiences have been very educational, and she stated, "I believe I am helping to advance the profession of pharmacy by coming to rotation prepared to make medical interventions that are best for the patient and aid other health care professionals in making decisions?." She plans to begin a pharmacotherapy residency or a PGY1 after graduation.

The Wal-Mart/Pharmacy Times RESPy Award

The RESPy (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.

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