Hui Earns RESPy Award Through Dedication to Advancing Pharmacy

DECEMBER 01, 2008
Alicia Rybovic, Associate Editor

Although she was not immediately sure that she wanted to be a pharmacist upon entering pharmacy school, Bonnie Hui, this month's RESPy Award winner, feels positive now that she made the right decision to pursue pharmacy as a career. Once she entered pharmacy school at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Pharmacy, Hui immediately started gathering as much information about the profession as possible, which is what led her to become actively involved in various professional pharmacy organizations. R. Pete Vanderveen, PhD, RPh, dean of the USC School of Pharmacy, has recognized Hui's commitment to the profession and stated in his nomination letter, "She has demonstrated outstanding commitment to public and professional service, both on local and national levels, representing our student body regionally and nationally, repeatedly being identified and selected by her peers to serve in substantial leadership roles."

Bonnie Hui

In her first year of pharmacy school, in order to learn more about the profession of pharmacy, Hui joined several professional organizations, including the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA), and the American Pharmacy Student Alliance (APSA)—an umbrella organization involving APhA, CPhA, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and the International Pharmaceutical Students' Federation (IPSF). Now in her third year at USC School of Pharmacy, Hui is currently serving as copresident of APSA. This year, in celebration of American Pharmacists Month, she helped to manage the planning process and secure financial support for a campus-wide, interdisciplinary event to promote the unity of the pharmacy profession along with other health care disciplines on campus—over 500 students and faculty attended. In addition, a local popular radio station attended the event and allowed the students to promote the event; one student even spoke with Ryan Seacrest about how "pharmacists can save your life!"

About the College

Founded in 1905, the University of Southern California (USC) School of Pharmacy has a vision of "setting the direction for pharmaceutical care, education, and research." The school has an annual average student body of approximately 743 full-time students in the Doctor of Pharmacy program. The USC School of Pharmacy is located next to the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, one of the largest teaching hospitals in the world, where USC health sciences students receive much of their clinical training.

USC, an innovator, was the first school of pharmacy to establish the Doctor of Pharmacy degree as the first professional degree. In the USC program, emphasis is given to the application of drug knowledge in patient care. The pharmacist becomes an active and integral member of the patient care team.

Hui has also coordinated and participated in numerous health fairs throughout Los Angeles. Most notably, for the past 2 years, she has helped put together the annual USC Legislative Day Breakfast and Health Fair. These events brought together state and local legislators and association representatives and included 22 booths where student pharmacists provided various clinical services.

Volunteerism is also central to Hui's pharmacy career. This past summer, Hui volunteered at a rural hospital in Ghana, Africa, through the IPSF's student exchange program, where she dispensed various medications, counseled patients on the proper usage of the medications, and shadowed health care professionals in several wards. While in Ghana, she also participated in the Ghana Drug Safety Outreach Campaign 2008, where she helped educate over 1500 students about the proper use of drugs and discussed topics like HIV/AIDS, vaginal infections, and other common health problems.

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.

Hui believes that the media is an essential tool for promoting the pharmacy profession. She has produced 2 short films for this purpose; the first, which demonstrated how medication errors can be prevented, took top honors at the first annual Pharmacy Foundation of California Pharmacy Film Festival. Hui also produced a short commercial on educating the public on proposed California budget cuts, which won first place in a contest sponsored by the California Democratic Party.

After graduation, Hui plans to pursue a residency in community pharmacy practice. Because of her strong interest in promoting pharmacy internationally, she would also like to implement interdisciplinary health programs abroad.