Communicating Through Care

Pharmacy TimesJanuary 2016 The Aging Population
Volume 82
Issue 1

Like many pharmacy students, Shiny Parsai has long had a passion for helping others by providing health care.

Like many pharmacy students, Shiny Parsai has long had a passion for helping others by providing health care. Although the 2016 PharmD candidate initially completed a master’s degree in nutritional sciences, her research on drug—nutrient interactions prompted her to explore ways to use that knowledge to improve patient health, which led her to pursue a career in pharmacy.

“I soon realized the impact pharmacists have in patients’ lives, and I wanted to be a part of that care,” Parsai told Pharmacy Times. Since enrolling at the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy, Parsai has become heavily involved in campus efforts to provide care to patients inside and outside the pharmacy. Through the National Paul Ambrose Scholars Grant, she developed a partnership with Proteus, a migrant farm workers organization in Iowa, to provide workers with medication boxes, medication list pocket cards, and educational materials related to medication adherence. Additionally, Parsai organized a medication packaging service event in which student pharmacists prepared medications for summer clinics.

Parsai also participated in her school’s first alternative spring break trip to Memphis, Tennessee, where she and her peers helped the local community with gardening projects that improved access to fresh produce. “It was great to see how everyone worked together and the progress we were able to make on the garden,” she stated.

Parsai considers her most rewarding experience to be her role in developing a 6-week medical Spanish pilot program at her school—a project inspired by an interaction with a non—English-speaking patient whom Parsai felt she could not adequately treat due to the language barrier. “It was a great learning experience in leadership to navigate the process of developing such a program, and I am proud to see that my efforts helped pave the way for the College of Pharmacy’s recently developed medical Spanish, semester-long elective,” Parsai said.

Q: What is the most important quality for a pharmacist to possess?A: Innovation and being resourceful are important traits for pharmacists to possess, especially in today’s health care market as organizations look to minimize costs while meeting metrics on safety and quality. These traits can be used to advocate for patient needs while advocating for the pharmacy profession and services.

Q: Has a specific patient or coworker taught you something that will help you to be a better pharmacist?A: One of my favorite rotations has been executive administration with Dr. Phil Brummond. As I pursue a career in pharmacy administration, Dr. Brummond has assigned me several projects during the rotation and allowed me the freedom to figure out how to deliver on those projects. Through this rotation, I gained more confidence in my skills as I realized that through my past experiences in research and leadership, I have built the skills needed to solve unique projects. Even more valuable were the various leadership discussions we had on topics such as delegation, developing soft skills, and networking.

Q: What is the most important issue in pharmacy today? Why?A: Provider status continues to be the most important issue. The pharmacy profession has made strides in providing additional patient care services, and provider status would allow even more pharmacists to help fill the gap in patient care needs.

About the School

The University of Iowa College of Pharmacy offers a traditional PharmD program, as well as programs that allow students to pursue a PhD in pharmaceutics, clinical pharmaceutical sciences, medicinal and natural products chemistry, and pharmaceutical socioeconomics. Students can also apply to one of the school’s postgraduate residency and fellowship programs, which provide participants with clinical and research experience.

About RESPy - Brought to you by Walmart and Pharmacy Times

The RESPy (Respect, Excellence, and Service in Pharmacy) Award is presented to the student who has made a difference in his or her community by demonstrating excellence in pharmaceutical care. For more information, please visit

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