Reaching the Community Through Leadership

Pharmacy Times, December 2014 Heart Health, Volume 80, Issue 12

During his time at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy (STLCOP), Andrew (Drew) Steppleman has distinguished himself as a leader, involving himself in several activities in organizations and dedicating his time to community service.

The 2016 PharmD candidate serves as the president of the college’s Phi Lambda Sigma pharmacy leadership society, class president, and the external vice president of the college’s chapter of the pharmacy fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha. He has also served as the vice president and secretary of the STLCOP student government association.

“As you can see from his CV, Drew is an experienced leader,” Kenneth W. Schafermeyer, PhD, wrote in his nomination. “What you cannot tell from his CV is that he is selfless, caring, helpful, collegial, and helps others by empowering and supporting them.”

Steppleman is actively involved in campus service projects, including the college’s annual outreach and advocacy day. He also serves as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity within the local St. Louis community and abroad on service learning trips.

Steppleman traveled to Jutiapa, Guatemala, in January 2013; Gilwice, Poland, in July 2013; and Tecpán, Guatemala, in January 2014, as part of an international service learning course offered at STLCOP. While in Poland, he served as a student leader and was responsible for organizing service learning projects and other on-site responsibilities.

“We worked with Habitat for Humanity in these countries, building affordable housing units in Guatemala and rehabilitating a homeless women’s shelter in Poland,” he said. “Meeting the local people and working with them was such an eye-opening and enriching experience that I will never forget.”

Q: Why did you decide to become a pharmacist?

A: I decided to become a pharmacist when I was 16 years old and started working in a community pharmacy. I saw the great knowledge pharmacists have and how large of an impact they make on patient outcomes and their quality of life. I have always wanted to be in the medical field, and being a pharmacist is the perfect fit for me.

Q: What has been your most rewarding extracurricular activity, and why?

A: My most rewarding extracurricular activity has been being in a fraternity. We participate in community outreach and community service projects multiple times every semester. Even if it is not a fraternity-sponsored event, if one of the brothers is active in the organization hosting the event, many of us will attend in support of each other. I have learned a lot from the guys older than me and have become well-rounded and a very influential leader on campus myself.

Q: What is the most important issue in pharmacy today? Why?

A: The most important issue in community pharmacy is requiring pharmacists to do more with less. I see community pharmacy technician hours being cut, requiring the pharmacists to do more. Seeing pharmacists working the register and working with the technicians as a fluid team is great, but this is taking away from their time using their clinical expertise. Patient consultations are rushed and usually take place while the pharmacist is multitasking. Companies want to increase pharmacist outreach via immunizations, mediation therapy management, and adherence and new-to-therapy consultations, in addition to continuing to increase prescription volume. This is applying an incredible amount of stress on the pharmacists, which I think will result in a higher number of errors.

Q: Has a patient or coworker taught you something that will help you be a better pharmacist?

A: The person who taught me to be a better pharmacist is the first pharmacy manager I worked for. He has had such an influential role in who I have become in terms of pharmacy—not only regarding my interactions with patients, but also my work ethic and management skills. I hope to be as much of a mentor to someone as he was to me, and I am sure many others.

About the School

The St. Louis College of Pharmacy enrolls students directly from high school into its 6-year PharmD program. The curriculum integrates courses in liberal arts and sciences. The college partners with nearby institutions, including Washington University, Saint Louis University, and Goldfarb School of Nursing.

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