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Doing more for you

Pharmacy students in top form for Pharmacist Awareness Month

Student Life

By Heidi Wicks

Students are kicking off Pharmacist Awareness Month (PAM) 2016 with tack-sharp wit, wisdom and style.

Can a pharmacist’s white coat scream, “fashion!”? Pharmacists know the name of just about every drug there is, but can they spell them? What are our pharmacy students’ hidden talents?

The Newfoundland and Labrador’s Next Top Pharmacist competition, hosted by the Canadian Association of Pharmacy Students and Interns (CAPSI) and the Memorial University Pharmacy Students (MUPS) society, will launch PAM 2016. With four contestants to be revealed during the Saturday, March 5 event, the victor will receive funding to attend next year’s CAPSI Professional Development Week in Manitoba.

Extra inspiration

Memorial’s pharmacy students received several awards at the CAPSI 2016 Professional Development Week in Niagara Falls, Ont., this past January, including the Award of Professionalism, which is given annually to the school that holds the most organized and professional Pharmacist Awareness Month activities.

Memorial University pharmacy students at the 2016 Professional Development Week in Niagara Falls, Ont.
Memorial University pharmacy students at the 2016 Professional Development Week in Niagara Falls, Ont.
Photo: Submitted

Sydney Saunders, Class of ’17 and former CAPSI junior representative, was the lead for PAM 2015 initiatives. Traditionally, the CAPSI junior representative is tasked in leading the planning for the month’s events. This year Ms. Saunders is the CAPSI senior representative, and is the lead organizer for the Newfoundland and Labrador’s Next Top Pharmacist competition.

“The event, previously named Mr. Pharmacy, was started at pharmacy schools across the country to encourage male participation. However, this year, CAPSI national felt that the face of pharmacy is much more diverse, so we’ve decided to make it gender neutral,” explained Ms. Saunders. “The action-packed competition tests contestants professionalism, academics and communication skills through various activities such as a drug name spelling bee and mock counselling sessions.

“The winners will be selected by our judging panel comprised of Dean Carlo Marra; Glenda Power, the executive director of the Pharmacists’ Association of Newfoundland and Labrador; Margot Priddle, the registrar of the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board; and Mark Browne, member of the House of Assembly, to represent the premier.”

Video premiere

The students have produced a video to reveal this year’s candidates, which they will premiere at the PANL opening reception for PAM 2016.

“We plan to show the video to the pharmacy community for the very first time at the reception, and we will then post it on our social media channels,” said Ms. Saunders. “We hope this will drum up interest in the event and entice people to join us on March 5. We’ve got a nice big venue this year so we’d love to see as many of our colleagues as possible!”

The PAM plan

Sydney Saunders poses at the 2015 Public Pill Drop. This year's event takes place on Sunday, March 19, at the RNC headquarters.
Sydney Saunders at the 2015 Public Pill Drop. This year’s event takes place on Sunday, March 19, at the RNC headquarters in St. John’s.
Photo: Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

The School of Pharmacy is collaborating with CAPSI, MUPS and the Pharmacists Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL) on a number of initiatives throughout March to promote the full scope of pharmacy practice.

Kyia Hynes, Class of ’18, is the committee lead for PAM 2016.

“As a result of our recognition at Professional Development Week in January, we decided to create five sub-committees to aid in the running of our campaign; these include school outreach, community outreach, communications, university and school of pharmacy outreach and social media,” she said. “The campaign theme is Pharmacists Doing More. For You.”

Full slate

Some of the events the students are planning include school presentations on the pharmacy profession, media interviews to talk about the profession and the annual Public Pill Drop on March 19.

Dr. Marra says he is impressed that the students have taken such an initiative in such an organized and professional manner.

“Pharmacists of the future need to be ambassadors for our profession, and our students are poised to be great leaders. We are very proud of their hard work and achievements, and we’re so pleased to be collaborating with them on a number of PAM 2016 events.

“The Newfoundland and Labrador Next Top Pharmacist event will be a lot of fun and a great opportunity to chat with our colleagues in the pharmacy community, so it would be great to have a full turnout,” he said.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Next Top Pharmacist competition, a fundraiser for the new CAPSI and MUPS award, will take place on Saturday, March 5, at The Breezeway on the St. John’s campus. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For information on ticket purchase, contact Sydney Saunders. Tickets are $20.

Be sure to follow the School of Pharmacy on Facebook and Twitter for updates on all of Memorial’s PAM activities. The school will be using the hashtag #MUNPAM16.

A full schedule of events is available on the School of Pharmacy website.


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