RESPy Winner Proves Pharmacists Provide More Than Prescriptions

Jessica A. Smith Assistant Editor
Published Online: Friday, May 15, 2009
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Although it might seem that there are not enough hours in a day to accomplish everything on Kristin  Calabro’s packed schedule, the PharmD-to-be makes time for it all—making her this month’s Pharmacy Times/Walmart RESPy Award winner. Her passion for pharmacy emerges when she talks about spreading awareness of the field. “I think that each and every interaction can make a difference in raising people’s awareness and helping them realize pharmacy is not about counting and pouring, but about therapeutic outcomes, patient monitoring, and prevention of drug therapy problems,” said Calabro who is also mom to a 3-year-old.

A third-year doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy (UACOP), Calabro decided to pursue pharmacy after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology. “I was really drawn to the diverse number of practice sites and type of experiences I would have by pursuing pharmacy,” said Calabro.

Upon entering pharmacy school, Calabro became involved in a variety of student organizations and patient outreach activities, soon taking on leadership roles that helped her to provide greater service to her community. One example is her membership in the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP). As co-coordinator of APhA’s Bringing Your Medicines to Life campaign last year, Calabro helped raise $2500 and her chapter was rewarded with a paver at the new APhA building in Washington, DC. Calabro and a fellow student secured a $2000 Project Chance grant from APhA-ASP, which will fund a health literacy project.

It was Calabro’s involvement with APhA-ASP that led her to become involved in other volunteer activities as well. Each year, she donates her time to help with the Women’s Health Expo at UACOP. Her changing roles have included taking part in medication review and educating attendees on poison control. Her role of patient education chair on the UACOP Student Council saw her organizing a health fair; setting up Poison Control Center training and recruiting volunteers; organizing medication review events; and planning monthly events for the Primavera Foundation, a poverty outreach group. Her work with Primavera has led her to Catalina House, a transitional housing facility for men. There, Calabro has provided health screenings and presentations. She hopes to expand her work to include the women’s transitional living facility.

Calabro readily admits that even she does not know how she juggles so much, but that does not limit her plethora of commitments. Making time for volunteer work with the UACOP admissions committee and the American Lung Association, Calabro also took part in Legislative Day at the Arizona State Capital. She has volunteered for a number of Brown Bag events, which involve seniors packing medications into a bag for pharmacist review. Working with Safeway, Calabro provided health screenings and patient education.

On top of other volunteer endeavors, Calabro upholds a high level of academic achievement. She has been rewarded with 4 scholarships since 2006, and she made it to the top 10 finalists in the UA Patient Counseling Competition in 2007 and in the UA Clinical Skills Competition in 2008.

The scholar plans to complete a residency after graduating, and then go on to a practice setting that allows for lots of patient interaction. Calabro plans to put her foundation of leadership to good use: “I am passionate about policy and advancing the profession, so I would like to continue to be active in my state and national pharmacy organizations.” ■

About the School
The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy (UACOP), founded in 1947, is based in Tucson, where it has recently seen expansion. UACOP is planning for a Phoenix-based PharmD/MS program in pharmacogenomics. The college offers a professional program, PharmD program, and master’s of science and PhD programs in the pharmaceutical sciences and in pharmacology and toxicology.

The RESPy (Respect, Excellence, and Service in Pharmacy) award is pre- sented to the student who has made a difference in his or her community by demonstrating excellence in pharmaceutical care.



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