RESPy AWARD: A Role Model for Pharmacy Students

OCTOBER 01, 2006
Iris Rosendahl

Calling Andrea Pallotta "the ideal role model for other students" in his letter nominating her for the Pharmacy Times/Wal-Mart RESPy award, Dean Johnnie L. Early II, PhD, RPh, University of Toledo College of Pharmacy, goes on to say that "volunteerism defines Andrea's true passion."

Andrea settled on pharmacy as a profession in the 10th grade. This decision was sparked by a conversation she had with an older student who was on the track team with her at Revere High School in Richfield, Ohio. "I didn't want to be a doctor or nurse, but I was interested in the medical field, and she suggested pharmacy to me," she explained. This suggestion seemed to fit the bill, Andrea said. She feels it is a profession that will blend well with raising a family.

Andrea has always been an active volunteer. She was a volleyball coach in high school and worked with the Special Olympics in her senior year. She continued on this path in college, becoming a part of the Service Learning Community.

She also has been an active participant in an Alternative Spring Break program. Instead of partying with other college students during spring break, Andrea went to Arkansas in 2005 to work at the Heifer Ranch, organized by Heifer International. The goal of this nonprofit organization is to help end world hunger and poverty through self-reliance. Heifer Ranch is a hands-on learning center providing education that promotes sustainable solutions to global hunger.

Saying that her participation in Alternative Spring Break was "a life-changing experience," Andrea followed up the next spring with a trip to Bay St. Louis, Miss. Acting as a student coordinator, she was part of a group of 17 students and 4 adults who helped clean up the debris left in the town by Hurricane Katrina.

Andrea is president of Alpha Zeta Omega Pharmaceutical Fraternity on campus. This coed organization aims to get students involved in volunteer activities, such as working for the Alzheimer's Association, Ronald McDonald House, or Adopt-a-Highway.

As a peer facilitator of Service Learning Community, she leads a group of 10 to 15 students who do volunteer work at Josina Lott Residential and Community Services. This nonprofit organization in Toledo provides services to individuals with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. Andrea says that this work has made her "look at society in a different way."

In addition to volunteering, Andrea works at a Department of Veterans Affairs Center in the Anticoagulation Clinic in Brecksville (Ohio) during the summer months. During the school year, she interns with Heartland Healthcare Services, a longterm care pharmacy.

"Andrea brings a genuine warmth to all she does," said Mary Powers, RPh, PhD, associate professor of pharmacy practice at the college. "She truly is a service-minded individual with unlimited promise who will bring a wealth of compassion to the profession of pharmacy."

Ms. Rosendahl is a freelance writer based in Fort Lee, NJ.

About the College

University of Toledo College of Pharmacy

Founded in 1904, the University of Toledo College of Pharmacy offers a 6-year doctor of pharmacy degree. The college has affiliations with more than 200 pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics throughout Ohio that provide "experiential training to complement the instruction on campus," according to its Web site.

The plan of study, notes the Web site, includes a 2-year "pre-pharmacy" curriculum, focused primarily on the science and mathematical foundation necessary to understand how the body works and responds to disease and its treatment. The professional program of study "focuses on biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, and the design of chemicals that comprise today's medicines. This instruction is complemented with the applied sciences of pharmacology and pharmaceutics that provide insight to the student on how drugs work in the body and the most effective way to deliver drugs to the body."

The final years of classroom study heavily emphasize the administrative and clinical sciences that prepare the student for structuring and providing effective patient care in a variety of practice settings. The professional program also includes opportunities for hands-on training in actual practice settings. The program of study for the student pharmacist is capped off with an 8-month experiential component that offers training in a variety of practice settings with faculty preceptors.