Advancing the Profession of Pharmacy Earns Graham RESPy Award

Pharmacy Times
Volume 0

Heather Graham, this month's Pharmacy Times/Wal-Mart RESPy Award winner, has dedicated herself to advancing the practice of pharmacy.

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

Heather Graham

Heather Graham, a third-year pharmacy student at FerrisState University's College of Pharmacy, believes that,since health care is a limited resource, pharmacistsprovide plenty of value to patients.

This month's Pharmacy Times/Wal-Mart RESPy Award winneris convinced that educating patients about their medication andhelping them manage their health care is a job that is best doneby pharmacists, and she is already committed to providing thatcare for patients through her work with professional and publichealth?related activities, such as Operation Diabetes screeningevents and Operation Heartburn.

"I organized 2 glucose test screenings by myself and helpedto organize a third. We screened a total of 100 patients," saidGraham. She is proud of her ability to make a difference and tohave made a connection with many of the patients shescreened. "One patient wrote me a poem about phlebotomy,"she said. "It was really cute."

The Wal-Mart/Pharmacy Times RESPy AWARD(Respect, Excellence, and Service inPharmacy) is presented to thestudent who has made a differencein his or her community by demonstratingexcellence in pharmaceuticalcare. For more information, pleasevisit

Graham's commitment to pharmacy extends beyond theclassroom and her volunteer efforts, according to NabilaAhmed-Sarwar, PharmD, assistant professor of pharmacy practiceat Ferris State. "Heather has demonstrated a continuedcommitment not only to developing as a pharmacy professional,but also to promoting public health issues," said Dr. Ahmed-Sarwar. Graham also is very involved in voluntary public serviceactivities. "Heather feels that it is important to serve as a rolemodel for young lives. This led her to serve as a volunteer for theBulldog Area Reading Klub, reading to young students andassisting in homework completion, and working with elementarystudents on science projects at the local school district'sMath/Science/Technology Center OutreachProgram," said Dr. Ahmed-Sarwar.

As a volunteer at the KalamazooCaring Network, a resource for singlemothers with small children, Grahamhelped organize food and gift donationsfor the holidays. Part ofthat project included hosting aThanksgiving dinner for needyfamilies.

About the School

The College of Pharmacy at Ferris State University is the principalsource of pharmacy practitioners for the state of Michigan. The collegeis committed to preparing students to meet the challenges of aconstantly changing global society through programs that reflectcontemporary practice. The college is focused on maintaining anoptimal academic environment through faculty development, anactive service component, a commitment to scholarly activity, andresource development.

Ian Mathison, PhD, DSc, dean of the college of pharmacy, saidFerris's pharmacy program is one that has enjoyed an exceptionalreputation, both within the state and throughout the nation, forover 100 years.

She brings that upbeat attitudeto her extracurricular universitywork as well. Dr.Ahmed-Sarwar said that Graham notonly participated in the honors program, she was activelyinvolved in improving the program by serving on its advisorycommittee. "Heather's excellent leadership skills contributed toher role as chair of the Dean's Advisory Board, where herresponsibilities included organizing elections, student volunteersfor orientation, and meetings with the dean of the collegeof pharmacy to discuss student issues," said Dr. Ahmed-Sarwar.

"As the chair of the advisory board, I had to know the students'concerns and not be afraid to tell them what was happening,"said Graham. The biggest student concern was balancingcompeting demands from the university's honors programand its pharmacy track. "While we did not solve the issues, wewere able to open a dialog to encourage people to find ways tomeet the demands of both areas," she said.

Ambulatory care, hospital pharmacy, and community pharmacyall appeal to Graham. She plans on pursuing a residency,but she is not certain which practice setting will be her finalgoal. "Ambulatory care offers the chance to be involved in drugtherapy right at the beginning of a patient's treatment; hospitalpharmacy provides an opportunity to really see the effects ofdrug therapy quickly; but I cannot imagine not working in acommunity setting," she said. "I would like to find a job thatallows me to do all 3."

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