RESPy AWARD: Teamwork Is the Thread That Binds

MAY 01, 2007
Barbara Sax

Jalpa Patel, a third-year pharmacy student at Midwestern University's Chicago College of Pharmacy and this month's RESPy Award winner, initially had hopes of one day becoming a physician. "I realized, however, that I would be seeing patients for 10 to 15 minutes, and I wanted more patient interaction. I was happy to find so many more options in pharmacy than I realized existed."In her current ambulatory care rotation, Patel is spending a half hour to 45 minutes with each patient—enough time to make a difference.

The experience has made such an impact on Patel that she is certain she will pursue a clinical career after graduation. "Inpatient and ambulatory care really gives you an opportunity to be a part of the health care team,"she said.

Being part of a team is something Patel really understands. She has played a big part in pharmacy student council during her years at Chicago College of Pharmacy. She served as her class liaison in her first year and as class president in her second year, and she is now executive student council president, where she presides at all general and executive board meetings, appoints committee and election judges, among other responsibilities. The experience, she said, has helped her to become closer to faculty members as well as to her peers.

"Jalpa possesses a wonderful blend of people skills and task skills,"said Thomas J. Reutzel, PhD, professor of pharmacy administration at Chicago College of Pharmacy. "Jalpa is compassionate, understanding, and patient. She is very influential and respected by her colleagues. She knows how to get group members motivated to work together, and she enjoys teamwork."

Jalpa also embodies the spirit of volunteerism in her community. She has been a leader in BAPS, a nonprofit, socio-spiritual organization recognized by the United Nations, for nearly 13 years. She has served as a project manager for a regional children's leadership convention, where she compiled registration information, oversaw all logistics, and was master of ceremony for the final award ceremony. She also has been active in her Hindu temple, has volunteered as a math instructor to prepare high school students for the ACT, and has participated and served as public safety guard in BAPS annual walkathons. Jalpa also has volunteered over the years at St. Alexius Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, and Lexington Nursing Home.

Balancing a number of commitments with her academic responsibilities has not proved too great a stress for Patel. "It is really rewarding to see the results of your hard work,"she said. That dedication has earned her academic recognition as well as skills she will take into her pharmacy career. "Her organizational skills and leadership savvy give Jalpa the ability to negotiate complex organizations and to understand and meet organizational goals and integrate them with her own principles and patient care goals,"said Dr. Reutzel.

Patel's patient care goals are a big part of her success as well, since she is dedicated to the profession and to enhancing the role of the pharmacist as the drug therapy expert. She also believes pharmacists should play an important part in a community's health care system.

About the College

Midwestern University is a graduate degree-granting institution specializing in the health sciences, with 6 colleges of specialty—the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Chicago College of Pharmacy, the College of Health Sciences, the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, the College of Pharmacy—Glendale, and the College of Dental Medicine.

Midwestern University's Chicago College of Pharmacy's highest priorities are teaching and lifelong learning. The school's faculty is focused on developing and offering a Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum that enables students to prepare for successful careers as pharmacists.

The curriculum includes a well-integrated collection of lecture courses, workshops, laboratories, and experimental rotations in a variety of pharmacy practice settings. The PharmD program provides students with enhanced experiences in the biomedical, pharmaceutical, and clinical sciences.

Ms. Sax is a freelance writer based in Chevy Chase, Md.

The Wal-Mart/Pharmacy Times RESPy AWARD (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. Visit for more information.