Community Commitment Earns RESPy Award

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Community pharmacy and community service have avery close association for Laura Marran. The winner ofFebruary's Pharmacy Times/Wal-Mart RESPy Award,Marran has worked in a community pharmacy since she was 16.

Now in her third year of pharmacy school, Marran has "set apattern of effort and contribution," according to Theodore Tong,PharmD, associate dean of academic and student affairs andprofessor of pharmacy, toxicology, and public health at theUniversity of Arizona (UA) College of Pharmacy. "Laura came topharmacy school after working in a community pharmacy setting,so she saw pharmacists contributing to community serviceand had already adopted that value system," said Dr. Tong. "Shequickly saw opportunities and addressed them."

Her experience working in a community setting has helpedher identify needs. In early 2006, with the help of her advisor,Kevin Boesen, PharmD, Marran developed a program thattrained pharmacy students to explain the complexities ofMedicare Part D to seniors. Many of the patients had lowincomes, limited literacy, and poor language proficiency andwere eligible for benefits under Medicare and ACCESS—Arizona's program of subsidized assistance for health care servicesto qualified state residents.

Students gave a presentation to seniors and followed with aquestion-and-answer session. "I'm most proud of being able tosit one-on-one with seniors to access the Medicare D Web site,plug in their medications, and help them make the selection thatwas best for them," said Marran. "Having a direct impact on thequality of their health carewas very fulfilling."

Marran's outreach effortshave also included children. Aspresident-elect and presidentof the UA's studentchapter of the National CommunityPharmacists Association,Marran created a chaptermembership outreachprogram to increase participationof fellow students inthe organization's serviceand social activities.

Part of that effort wascreating volunteer serviceopportunitieswith the localRonald McDonaldHouse."I'm proudof our ‘Katy'sKids' program," she said of theeducational programthat teacheskindergartenchildren aboutthe proper usesof medication and the role of the pharmacist. She also taughtkindergarteners about the proper care and management ofasthma through the American Lung Association's Open Airwayscurriculum. "We teach them how to use an inhaler and how tomanage their asthma," said Marran.

Marran believes that pharmacy's role in health care will continueto expand as long as "pharmacists show how useful andaccessible they are."

"Every day I go to work, patients are asking more and morequestions about their medication, she said. " It makes me veryexcited to get out there and practice."

About the College

The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy

The UA College of Pharmacy was founded in 1947 and remainsthe only college of pharmacy at an Arizona public university.Regarded as one of the premier colleges of pharmacy in the nation,was ranked fourth in America's Best Graduate Schools last year byUS News & World Report. The College of Pharmacy is home to thefirst poison control center in Arizona and is a leader in toxicologyresearch and training. Its Center for Health Outcomes andPharmacoEconomics Research is one of the first centers in the worlddevoted to the study of pharmacoeconomics.

The college offers a professional PharmD program, as well as amaster of science and PhD program in the pharmaceutical sciencesand in pharmacology and toxicology to students who have completeda minimum of 67 college credits of specific pre-pharmacy courses.Completion of PharmD course work requires 4 years and includesclinical rotations in hospitals, nursing homes, and communitypharmacies.

The Wal-Mart/Pharmacy Times RESPy AWARD (Respect,Excellence, and Service in Pharmacy) ispresented to the student who has made a differencein his or her community by demonstratingexcellence in pharmaceutical care.

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