RESPy Award: Leading the Charge for Collaborative Care

FEBRUARY 13, 2011
Jennifer Barrio, Managing Editor

Katherine Denney seeks opportunities to share her medication expertise with patients and multidisciplinary health care teams. 

Intelligence, professionalism, empathy. These are important qualities for today’s pharmacist to possess, and they are characteristics that Katherine Denney, February’s Pharmacy Times/ Walmart RESPy winner, has in abundance.

Denney, who will graduate with a PharmD from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) College of Pharmacy in 2011, is preparing to practice her chosen profession by completing rigorous coursework, collaborating with and leading her peers, and committing herself to providing highquality patient care.

As Pharmacy Student Council (PSC) vice president, Denney not only managed 11 PSC committee chairs but also prepared and presented the council’s annual budget. Her outstanding work in this role earned her the 2010 PSC President’s Appreciation Award.

Denney has also served as a committee chair for the University of Oklahoma Community Health Alliance, an organization that serves the needs of the underprivileged. Denney spearheaded the 1st Annual Health Dash 5K and One Mile Fun Run, which raised $6400 to benefit the Alliance.

In addition to these leadership roles, Denney has volunteered her time to provide health care and education to patients who need them most. She participated in a health and exercise fair for underserved elementary students in Oklahoma City; completed medical mission trips to Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, and Haiti; and helped develop pharmacy services at the City; Rescue Mission, a local homeless shelter.

OUHSC College of Pharmacy Associate Dean for Student Affairs Jane E. Wilson, PhD, said of Denney, “[She] is a lifelong learner who will continue to contribute in meaningful ways to the profession of pharmacy.” Pharmacy Times’ interview with Denney revealed that she does indeed push herself to learn and grow as a pharmacist, and will certainly impact the profession by educating patients, health care colleagues, and future generations of pharmacists.

Q Was there a specific moment when you knew pharmacy was right for you?

A My first patient on my adult medicine clerkship confirmed that I was in the right profession. The medications she was taking required significant monitoring, and so I got to talk with her and the team daily about therapeutic end points and safety for her. This showed me the immense impact that pharmacists can have on multidisciplinary teams and in the lives of patients.

Q What are your long-term professional goals?

A I am currently pursuing a PGY1 pharmacy residency position. I am excited to see what lies ahead in the near future. My current interests are pediatrics and infectious disease. Long term, I plan to work in a clinical setting on a multidisciplinary team, ideally at an academic institution. I enjoy teaching, and look forward to helping develop future practitioners for the profession of pharmacy.

Q How do you utilize technology as it pertains to pharmacy?

A Technology is an integral part of pharmacy education and the workplace. I am a part of a campus that is joined to another campus via distance learning. Daily we connect in class and 1 campus watches the lecture via teleconferencing technology. In the clinical setting, technology is an indispensable asset, providing a much more efficient means for monitoring patients’ medications.

Q What do you think is the most important issue in the field of pharmacy today?

A With the increasing innovation in pharmaceutical development, the role of the pharmacist in managing pharmacotherapy is growing. Pharmacists bring a unique perspective to health care as medication experts. As health care evolves, it is essential for pharmacists to be incorporated into the multidisciplinary care of patients.

Q Is there a funny story you would like to share about your time in pharmacy school?

A One of my good friends is a middle school teacher. Last flu season, when her students were getting the H1N1 “mist,” she was concerned that children were going to have to remove their clothing in order for the vaccine to be misted onto their bodies. I promptly explained that the vaccine is a nasal mist delivery system, and we both had a good laugh. It was funny, but it also teaches us that the public has different perceptions of health care and we must be considerate of that when communicating to our patients.

About the School
The University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy is part of the multidisciplinary University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 1 of 4 comprehensive health sciences centers in the United States. Founded in 1896, the College of Pharmacy has locations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. It offers the doctor of pharmacy professional degree program and graduate programs in the pharmaceutical sciences, which lead to the master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees. 

About RESPy
The RESPy (Respect, Excellence, and Service in Pharmacy) Award 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

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