Treating Patients, Not Diseases

Pharmacy Times, November 2016 Cough, Cold, & Flu, Volume 82, Issue 11

Dallas Smith, a pharmacy student at the University of Findlay College of Pharmacy, is driven by a passion for improving patients’ overall well-being.

Dallas Smith, a pharmacy student at the University of Findlay College of Pharmacy, is driven by a passion for improving patients’ overall well-being. Initially drawn to a career in pharmacy by the field’s growing focus on preventive care, the 2017 PharmD candidate expressed a desire to see pharmacists play a greater role in preventive health and wellness as the profession continues to evolve.

“Ever since committing to the profession of pharmacy, I’ve wanted to assist in advancing and promoting the role a pharmacist can have in a community,” Smith told Pharmacy Times. “Being integrated into public health initiatives and projects, pharmacists can focus on a patient’s care and well-being by being proactive practitioners.”

As a pharmacy student, Smith put his commitment to the community into practice by organizing health screenings, participating in the Findlay Ministerial Association’s Backyard Mission Trips, and leading first-year students in service activities during orientation. He also took his love of helping others across the globe by serving as a pharmacist at a health clinic in Mexico, volunteering on an organic farm in Canada, working with children at an SOS Children’s Village in Vietnam, providing care and treatment to wounded elephants in Thailand, and promoting environmental efforts in India.

However, the globetrotting pharmacy student considers his most rewarding experience to be his development of, and participation in, Oilers Serving Abroad, a program that enables Findlay students and staff to participate in service projects in the Dominican Republic. As a result of his efforts, the program has sent 8 different volunteer cohorts to the same location in the Dominican Republic, with Smith personally leading the team each time.

“The individuals I’ve been fortunate enough to work with at The University of Findlay and in the Dominican Republic have shaped me into the person I am today,” Smith said. “These service opportunities, and others, have allowed me to gain new perspectives on pharmacy, transform the way I communicate with others, and develop relationships that I will cherish the remainder of my life.”

Inspired by his experiences abroad, Smith hopes to lend his knowledge and talents to the Peace Corps after graduating.

Q: What do you think is the most important quality for a pharmacist to possess?A: The single most critical quality a pharmacist should possess is passion, which should stem from the desire to truly serve patients and assist in their well-being. Compassion flows from passion and creates the atmosphere of assisting in the treatment of a person, and not solely a disease.

Q: What do you think is the most important issue in pharmacy today? Why?A: Opioid abuse has been at the center of attention in the health world for the past several years, and rightfully so. The ability to distinguish between patients who truly require opioid-based pain management for quality-of-life purposes versus those who are abusing the potentially addictive medication class, often puts health care professionals in a difficult position. The desire to do no harm and promote a patient’s well-being hangs in the balance of this decision. Pharmacists and other health care professionals must design effective alternative therapy options for patients for whom opioids are deemed inappropriate or inadequate, while also providing a sustainable approach for patients who use these medications to improve their quality of life.

Q: Is there a specific patient or person you’ve worked with who taught you something that will help you be a better pharmacist?A: Chris Sippel, the assistant dean of International, Intercultural, and Service Engagement at the University of Findlay, has had an indescribable impact on the pharmacist I hope to become. Chris has been present throughout my growth as a professional and continually challenges me to look at health through different perspectives. The way I communicate with others from different cultures has grown considerably as a result of my interactions and travels with Chris. He continually encourages me to reject indifference, promote worldwide social and health equality, and strive toward becoming a global citizen.

About the School

The University of Findlay College of Pharmacy is one of only 10 pharmacy schools in the United States to offer a “0-6” PharmD program, enabling students to pursue the pharmacy degree immediately after graduating high school. The school also offers dualdegree programs that allow students to supplement their PharmD with an MBA or a secondary degree in forensic science, health informatics, or equestrian studies.

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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 PharmacyTimes.com.