This month's RESPy winner, UCSF School of Pharmacy's Megan McCurdy, is a true champion of community volunteerism and advancing the pharmacy profession.
This month's RESPy Award winner, MeganMcCurdy from the University of California,San Francisco (UCSF), School of Pharmacy,is truly a champion of community volunteerism andfurthering the profession of pharmacy. Since shestarted at UCSF in September 2006, she has been avery active participant in school, campus, and communityservice activities. Through these activities,she has "repeatedly demonstrated her dedication,drive, caring, and leadership skills," said Donald T.Kishi, PharmD, health sciences clinical professor ofpharmacy at UCSF School of Pharmacy.
McCurdy discovered her desire to pursue a career in pharmacyduring her undergraduate study at the University ofCalifornia, San Diego (UCSD). She could not get enough of thescience curricula at UCSD, especially chemistry, but she knewthat she also wanted to steer her career toward a field thatwould allow her to interact with people and promote health.She soon realized that pharmacy was the perfect way to meldher interests while volunteering at the hospital pharmacy atUCSD Medical Center. "It is the side of chemistry that has anincredible power to heal," said McCurdy. "Pharmacists aregiven the ability to translate chemistry into health and wellbeing.This knowledge enables us to do a lot of good for ourpatients and our communities."
The School of Pharmacy at the University of California, SanFrancisco (UCSF) is dedicated to improving human health worldwideand advancing scientific discovery. The school conductspharmaceutical research; provides world-class education; developsand delivers outstanding and innovative pharmaceutical care; andserves the community by sharing expertise with the public, industryleaders, and policy makers.
UCSF was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the West.Today, it is the top-ranked pharmacy school in the United States,as measured independently by academic quality and perception,funding, and publications, and offers 4 main degree programs: thePharmD; PharmD/MPH; PharmD/PhD; and the PhD. The UCSF Schoolof Pharmacy also offers postdoctoral fellowships and residencies.
Upon entering pharmacy school, McCurdy quickly beganher involvement in community service. Kishi described herleadership role in the UCSF San Francisco Hepatitis BCollaborative—a nationally recognized, student-run interprofessionalprogram that collaborates with the San FranciscoPublic Health Department to provide education, screening,and immunization to underserved communities inSan Francisco. In this role, she served as the undergraduatecoordinator and liaison, which includedorganizing health fairs and providing hepatitis Bscreening and education at these events.
In her first year at UCSF, McCurdy became anactive member of the UCSF chapter of the StudentNational Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA).At the end of her first year, she was elected aspresident of the UCSF SNPhA chapter. In her roleas president, she began 3 new community serviceprojects within the chapter: Project Nutrition, Project HealthDisparities/Stroke, and Project Outreach, otherwise known asthe "Science Squad."
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.
McCurdy was actually cofounder, codirector, and one of thetutors for the Project Outreach program. Through a facultymember, the group became aware of an educational need atRosa Parks Elementary School, a local inner city elementaryschool, where not enough funding was received to afford ascience curriculum. The squad collaborated with classroomteachers to form the Rosa Parks Science Discovery Projectto develop age-appropriate science lessons for fifth-gradestudents. McCurdy helped develop 6 annual lessons, with thegoal of getting the students really involved and excited aboutscience through demonstrations and hands-on interaction.Her hope is that this program continues, with the long-termgoal being to interest students in underserved communities incareers in the science and health professions.
In his nomination letter, Kishi summarized the breadth ofMcCurdy's enthusiasm and her consistent drive to exceedstandards: "although Ms. McCurdy is just now entering herthird professional year, she has already demonstrated thequalities of dedication, motivation, creativity, caring, leadership,and teaching skills in her service to her surrounding community(and particularly to underserved populations), to herfellow students, to the campus, and to the profession."