RESPy Winner Swain Already Swaying Health Policy

Pharmacy Times
Volume 75
Issue 12

Among a wide array of accomplishment, Steph Swain helped to draft pro-pharmacy provisions for health care reform legislation in Iowa.

If countless hours of studying, tireless volunteerism, and avid involvement in pharmacy organizations were not enough to set Steph Swain apart from the crowd, the fact that she has already had a hand in shaping pro-pharmacist health care reform legislation certainly does. All of these things combined have made Swain the December Walmart/Pharmacy Times RESPy winner.

“I had the opportunity to work on a very exciting and progressive health care reform bill that was drafted by [Iowa] State Senator [Jack] Hatch,” said Swain, who not only worked on the bill’s sections that expanded the role of pharmacists and afforded them reimbursement for medication therapy management and other services, but also presented portions of the bill at a Senate subcommittee meeting.

The opportunity was opened to Swain through a legislative internship. As the Max W. Eggleston Executive Intern in Association Management through the Iowa Pharmacy Association (IPA), she gained a true sense of the value of advancing pharmacy by working with lawmakers, Swain said.

Now in her last year of the PharmD program at Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Swain credits the school’s promotion of volunteerism for her many service activities. “The culture at Drake is one that emphasizes the importance of getting out into the community and showing the public what pharmacists do,” said Swain.

She has done just that, taking every opportunity to lend a hand. Swain has participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, also taking part in runs, auctions, and educational seminars for the Juvenile Arthritis Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Serving as both president-elect and president of the Drake University chapter of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP), Swain led members to become involved. Under her leadership, the chapter conducted heartburn awareness screenings at area pharmacies and the Iowa State Fair, where they introduced their “Prilosec on a Stick” promotion.

Not only spurred by her school, Swain’s volunteer efforts go beyond health promotion and education, such as giving her time to the Urban Youth Ministry breakfast club, helping to provide a safe environment for trick-or-treaters at the Blank Park Zoo, or offering companionship to the elderly.

Swain’s striving for involvement does not end there. Through her membership in APhA-ASP, she participated in the Student Leadership Institute in Washington, DC, also attending the organization’s regional and national meetings. In addition, Swain became the founder and publisher of the APhA-ASP Drake Chapter Newsletter. Also very active with the Drake Pharmacy Unified Group of Students as a member of the board of trustees and the IPA, Swain worked with the IPA to update “Katy’s Kids,” a medication safety program for children. “Getting to be involved and organize every step of the program update was an outstanding experience,” said Swain.

Devotion to the 2 fraternities to which she belongs—Phi Delta Chi Professional Pharmacy Fraternity and Phi Lambda Sigma—helped Swain get selected as Phi Lambda Sigma 2009 Member of the Year.

Balancing so much activity while still excelling academically, Swain undoubtedly has a bright future ahead—one with unflagging passion for pharmacy. “Being able to have an impact on the profession and ultimately, on the lives of patients in my community, is what gets me fired up about being a pharmacist,” explains Swain. â– 

About the School

Based in Des Moines, Iowa, Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences offers a 2-year prepharmacy program to which students can be admitted after high school graduation. Upon completion, students may then enter the 4-year professional program. In addition to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree, the school offers joint degree programs, including the PharmD and Master of Business Administration, the PharmD and Master of Public Administration, and the PharmD and Doctor of Jurisprudence degree, which is offered by the college along with Drake Law School.

The Walmart/Pharmacy Times RESPy Award 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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