Erin Lindquist Wins RESPy Award by Advancing Community Pharmacy

SEPTEMBER 01, 2008
Barbara Sax

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

Erin Lindquist

This month's RESPy Award winner, Erin Lindquist, has wanted to be a pharmacist since eighth grade. "I went to a ?Women in Math and Sciences' day at a local college and have been interested in pharmacy since then," she said. Set to graduate with a PharmD degree from Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy (MWU-CCP) in March 2009, Lindquist believes that it is very important for pharmacists to provide more patient education and counseling services and has dedicated much of her time over the past 2 years to accomplishing just that.

Lindquist has worked with the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists Operation Diabetes program. Most notably, she co-coordinated MWU-CCP's Collaborative Health Advocacy Team (CHAT) program. The program— a collaboration of students from the colleges of medicine, pharmacy, and physician's assistant programs—teaches diabetes self-management classes to patients in underserved communities.

"The 4-series education program not only helps to educate patients with diabetes about how they can better manage their disease, it also promotes the practice of multidisciplinary teams," said Susan Cornell, PharmD, CDE, CDM, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at MWU-CCP, who nominated Lindquist for the RESPy Award.

About the School

The curriculum at MWU-CCP includes a well-integrated collection of lecture courses, workshops, and laboratories, as well as experiential rotations in a variety of pharmacy practice settings. The program provides students with enhanced experiences in the biomedical, pharmaceutical, and clinical sciences. The college encourages the development of professional attitudes and behaviors that will provide pharmacists with the skills to provide exemplary patient care in a culturally diverse society.

A PharmD degree at MWU-CCP can be obtained by full- or part-time students. Students can be enrolled in the full-time traditional PharmD program. Registered pharmacists with a valid US or Canadian pharmacist license can apply to the nontraditional, self-paced, largely self-instructional, part-time program that can be completed in 2 to 4 years. Both programs offer the opportunity for pharmacists to develop the professional skills needed to provide excellent patient care and to become important members of the health care team.

When Lindquist took over the program, it was a small program with 15 student volunteers and 3 clinics. The program now includes 6 clinics and has nearly 80 student volunteers. Cornell, the CHAT program's faculty trainer and advisor, said that the program has benefitted greatly from Lindquist's involvement. "This year alone, Erin has coordinated the training and scheduling for more than 80 students from the various health colleges at MWU-CCP to assist in the diabetes educational sessions at 3 community clinics," said Cornell. "Health care professionals and staff at these clinics value and support our program. Their awareness of the value of pharmacists has increased dramatically due to Erin's presence and professional demeanor. Many of the clinic nurses, physicians, and staff have told me that they think Erin is exceptionally organized, dependable, and a joy to work with."

Lindquist is most proud of her work on the CHAT program. "The most rewarding thing is to finally see a look of understanding on the face of underserved patients with diabetes who realize that they can have an impact on their health," she said. "These patients do not get a lot of face time from health care professionals, and we make a big difference in their lives."

After graduation, Lindquist plans to continue her work in diabetes health education and eventually become a certified diabetes educator. "Many patients do not believe that I am a pharmacist, because they expect pharmacists to be behind the counter counting pills," she said. "Pharmacists did not go to school for 4 to 6 years to stay behind the counter. We are the most accessible health care providers, and patients are grateful for what we can offer them."

The Wal-Mart/Pharmacy Times Respy Award

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. For more information, please visit