This month's RESPy Award winner, Dachelle Johnson, has proven her commitment to the community, advancing the pharmacy profession, and excelling academically.
Dachelle Johnson, a fourth-year pharmacystudent at the Medical University of SouthCarolina (MUSC), is "the epitome of studentinvolvement," said Arnold W. Karig, PhD, campusdean of the College of Pharmacy at MUSC, in hisnomination of Johnson that earned her this month'sRESPy Award. Johnson has not only been involvedin many different school organizations, but shehas been an active leader at the MUSC College ofPharmacy and has spent considerable time organizing,coordinating, and participating in pharmacy andgeneral community health programs and has demonstrateda high level of effort to advance the pharmacy professionthrough her academic accomplishments.
Even though she did not decide to pursue pharmacy as acareer until her second year of undergraduate courses, sheimmediately knew that this was the field for her, because sheenjoys collaborating with other health care professionals toimprove patient outcomes, the gratification obtained fromdirect patient care, as well as the countless opportunitiesthat are available within the profession. She quickly becameinvolved in various professional organizations on campus,which allowed her to participate in many volunteer activitiesand learn new leadership skills.
One of the organizations to which she devotes much ofher time is the Student National Pharmaceutical Association(SNPhA). Over the past several years, she has served aschapter delegate, regional meeting coordinator, chapter vicepresident, and national Region II facilitator of SNPhA. Shehas really enjoyed her work with SNPhA—"It is easy to giveso much of yourself to an organization when you are workingwith wonderful people for one mission—to serve theunderserved," she commented. With SNPhA, she participatedin the Women's Health Symposium, in which sheand other student members educated patients ondiabetes and medication management.
The South Carolina College of Pharmacy (SCCP), a statewide education,research, and service institution, was formed in 2004 throughthe integration of the Colleges of Pharmacy at the University ofSouth Carolina (USC) in Columbia, and the Medical University ofSouth Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston. The integrated college bringstogether the nationally recognized faculty, staff, and resources ofMUSC, a major academic medical center, and USC, a large comprehensiveuniversity, to create a statewide approach to pharmacyeducation that is on par with some of the most highly regarded collegesin the United States. SCCP offers the full 4-year PharmD andgraduate programs on both campuses.
In addition, Johnson served as vice presidentfor programs with the MUSC Student GovernmentAssociation and planned and executed a varietyof extracurricular campus-wide social and culturalevents. She also served as vice presidentand community service chair for Phi Delta ChiPharmacy Fraternity. In this role, she coordinatedmany service projects, including 2 Martin LutherKing service projects that served Hispanic students and theirfamilies at an inner city school. With this organization, shealso assisted on a regular basis with the Harvest Free MedicalClinic, where she obtained patient drug histories, provideddrug information, and dispensed medications. Johnson hasalso volunteered her time in her community with the AmericanRed Cross Blood and Bone Marrow Drive, Relay for Life, St.Jude's Hospital, World AIDS Day, Medicare Awareness Day,the Sugar Free Fall Festival, and others.
On the MUSC campus, Johnson serves on the MUSCCreating Collaborative Care Committee. The membership ofthis committee, according to Dean Karig, "is a mix of facultyand student leaders charged with developing and implementinga long-range plan for promoting interdisciplinary educationand service." Thanks to all of her accomplishments andleadership skills, she was selected as one of 9 students as thefirst inductees of the MUSC Student Leadership Society in itsinaugural year—a very high honor recognizing university-wideservice, commitment, and leadership.
Johnson is now completing her pharmacy clinical rotationsand applying for residencies. Her rotation experiences havebeen very educational, and she stated, "I believe I am helpingto advance the profession of pharmacy by coming to rotationprepared to make medical interventions that are best for thepatient and aid other health care professionals in making decisions?."She plans to begin a pharmacotherapy residency ora PGY1 after graduation.
The Wal-Mart/Pharmacy Times RESPy Award
The 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.