Student Pharmacist

Written by student pharmacists for student pharmacists, Student Pharmacist magazine provides the latest on career preparation, leadership, legislative activities and advocacy efforts, patient care projects, APhA–ASP Chapter innovations, life on rotation, tips from new practitioners, and more.

APhA-ASP 50th Anniversary
Jamila Negatu
/ Categories: Student Magazine

APhA-ASP 50th Anniversary

In the spring of 1969, a new APhA subdivision was created at the Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada. Students from 53 APhA student chapters ratified bylaws and created the Student American Pharmaceutical Association, which was known as SAPhA in the 1970s and as Student APhA in the 1980s. Gary Lawless, then a fifth-year student at Drake University, became the first president of SAPhA when he was installed by previous APhA Student Section Chairman Joseph L. Fink III (ex-officio member of the 1969–1970 committee) on May 19, 1969. Lawless led APhA student pharmacists through many changes—most notably, the decision of the APhA Board of Trustees to increase the number of Student APhA delegates in the House of Delegates from one to five.

One of the biggest questions for SAPhA at the beginning how to achieve their mission. A committee led by Joseph Fink examined the relationship between SAPhA and APhA and considered services that the national committee could provide to its members. SAPhA would promote themselves as the association for all pharmacy students, taking advantage of the eight regions already in place that held individual regional meetings that gave members who were unable to attend Annual Meeting a chance to interact with other future pharmacists.

The early SAPhA structure allowed the president to appoint chairpersons to 6 committees and 14 subcommittees. These committees focused on education, professional relations, social awareness, and other issues. Three standing committees responsible for resolutions, nominations, and bylaws were also part of the structure. The APhA President was charged with appointing four faculty members to the SAPhA National Faculty Advisory Committee; in 1970, this committee increased to eight members, with one recommended by each region.

In 1970, SAPhA President Raymond Sattler and President-elect J. Craig Hostetler requested to increase the number of student participants in the APhA House from five to nine. The five delegates originally consisted of the SAPhA President and Delegate-at-large, and three delegates elected on a rotating regional basis. Nine delegates would allow each region to elect their own representative to the House of Delegates.

The national Delegate-at-large was the head of the SAPhA delegation and responsible for keeping other student delegates informed for the APhA House. The SAPhA House was started with the passage of the first policies in 1973 and the role of the Delegate-at-large evolved into the Speaker of the House.

The collective voice of students

The mechanism for passing SAPhA policies became official in 1974. Resolutions could be submitted from members, chapters, and regions before the Policy Committee meeting. The Policy Committee would review all policies from the past 3 yearly meetings (SAPhA held its own yearly meeting in addition to the APhA Annual Meeting) as well as all resolutions from the immediate past yearly meeting. All policies passed were considered temporary for 1 year until the next meeting of the Policy Committee, which could rescind them. 

One of SAPhA’s major initiatives was to turn its focus from information gathering and policymaking to emphasizing involvement and participation by members in health care projects. As a result, students participated in many collaborative projects with other health professionals during the first decade of SAPhA.

Improve patient care

Student pharmacists of this era were often excluded from discussions about the topics important to them. SAPhA’s leaders demonstrated a desire to become socially involved in contemporary health problems. During the 1960s, student pharmacists protesting about the health care system found they needed to speak in an organized voice that could represent their interests and serve their patients.

A coalition of health students formed to increase each other’s understanding, explore the use of the health team approach, develop new directions for health manpower, and strategize for future action. SAPhA led this effort to bring together student professional organizations using a grant from the National Institutes of Health Bureau of Health Manpower Education.

In 1974, SAPhA President Stephen Schondelmeyer testified before a congressional committee that the expanding role of pharmacists in the country’s health care system would require better trained practitioners.

After the federal government cut health professional loans and scholarships, SAPhA stepped forward by sending John Cooper, the 1975–76 SAPhA President, and other representatives, as well as statements to Congress, to show the importance of this funding for students. 

Opportunities for leadership and professional growth

By the end of the decade, SAPhA had made many changes to its structure and organization. The 1978–79 Executive Committee published a white paper on the “new” SAPhA and distributed it to all chapter presidents, advisors, and college of pharmacy deans for comments. This paper more clearly defined the purpose of Midyear Regional Meetings (MRMs) for students. While in the past these meetings focused on bylaw changes and expert talks, MRMs would now emphasize educating students through workshops and group discussions. The committee also announced that the eight SAPhA Delegates would be elected at the MRMs.

Ron Williams also played a major role in influencing the Academy during its first decade as SAPhA Executive Secretary. 

In a 1971 JAPhA article, Williams reflected on his experiences with the early days of SAPhA and looked toward the future of the Academy. “In short, the mechanism has been set in motion and the power has begun to be unleashed, but the potential and impact of Student APhA upon the profession has just begun to be felt. Student APhA has been fortunate in having a series of strong and dedicated leaders. It is a source of pride for me to have been involved in an era in the history of pharmacy in which the Student American Pharmaceutical Association emerged as a power with which to be reckoned,” he said.

From the 70s into the 80s

During the 1970s, student pharmacists created a foundation for student involvement in APhA and a mechanism for student-driven change within the profession. In the 1980s, inspired by the 1979 white paper on the future of SAPhA, the Executive Committee gained a renewed vision and direction for the organization. The objectives and purpose of SAPhA would focus on student pharmacists as individuals and on SAPhA Chapters. The Executive Committee recognized the important contributions members could make, realizing that without their support, SAPhA would not exist.

A strengthened voice

The first initiative to strengthen students’ role in the Association and profession came in 1979. Student representatives brought forth a proposal to the APhA House of Delegates to increase the number of student delegates from 9 to 12. The House agreed and actually went further than the original proposal, incorporating 15 student delegates. To further recognize the student subdivision, SAPhA began calling itself Student APhA in 1983. Student pharmacists and Student APhA also continued pushing the Association to include a student pharmacist representative on the APhA Board of Trustees, reaffirming a prior resolution at the 1984 Student APhA House of Delegates. While this proposal would not be implemented for another 14 years, Student APhA delivered a clear message that student pharmacists would continue to play a vital role in the Association.

Having secured a strong voice in APhA, student pharmacists began working with outside associations to further increase their role in the profession. Lucinda Maine, 1979–80 SAPhA President, addressed the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) on students’ concern over their lack of interaction with faculty advisors in the fall of 1979. She reported that this resulted in student pharmacists hesitating to participate in activities extending beyond the classroom. “Faculty members can be of tremendous aid to students as models for professional development and in their support of these kinds of activities,” Maine asserted. She urged the AACP Council of Deans and Faculty Advisors to take action to promote student–faculty relationships. 

In the summer of 1981, Williams also urged faculty and administration to support the involvement of students in professional associations, 
recommending that students receive credit for such participation. SAPhA supported a study, conducted by the Kentucky Pharmacists Association Student Affairs Committee, investigating the possibility of students receiving academic credit for active participation in a SAPhA Chapter. “What better way to gain knowledge of a profession than to become actively involved as a student? If acquiring that knowledge makes a significant contribution to the student’s overall professional development, why shouldn’t they receive credit?” asked Williams in the summer 1981 issue of The Pharmacy Student.

Students making an impact

On the policy side, the rampant drug abuse of the 1970s caused a public outcry for reform during the following decade. In the winter of 1981, a multidisciplinary group of health professionals, industry representatives, and state drug enforcement officials met at the White House Conference on Prescription Drug Misuse, Abuse, and Diversion. Maine, then SAPhA Immediate Past-President, represented APhA at this meeting. The conference signaled the beginning of more active state and federal activities aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse.

The effects of drug and alcohol abuse were not limited to the patients that pharmacists served; practitioners and student pharmacists also fell victim to this disease. Recognizing the need for increased support for their colleges, the 1982 SAPhA House of Delegates adopted a policy supporting “counseling, treatment, prevention, and rehabilitation programs for pharmacists and student pharmacists who are subject to physical or mental impairment due to influence of drugs.” The policy led to a cooperative effort between APhA and the University of Utah School on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies. Since then, the school’s pharmacy section has provided information, motivation, and guidance for pharmacists and student pharmacists who suffer from chemical dependencies.

In 1981, SAPhA recommended that state boards of pharmacy and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) increase their acceptance of nontraditional internship opportunities and encourage students to participate in such opportunities, also urging NABP to establish guidelines, with student input, for state boards of pharmacy. These guidelines would provide direction on accepting internship credit hours for experience gained in non-traditional pharmacy roles. NABP agreed with these recommendations and recognized the limited exposure given to nontraditional pharmacy practice roles in the current curricula. In order to make further recommendations to NABP, SAPhA and the National Pharmaceutical Council surveyed state boards of pharmacy to determine the number of states accepting non-
traditional practice experiences and the criteria required to grant credit for completing the experience.

Watershed moment

This period saw increased scrutiny on other elements of pharmacy education as well. Heated debate followed the proposal to move from a 5-year bachelor’s degree in pharmacy to a 6-year entry-level Doctor of Pharmacy degree. To respond to this debate, SAPhA leaders chose the theme “Shaping Pharmacy’s Future” for the 1981 APhA Annual Meeting and held a full hearing to discuss the controversial issue. 

Discussion was intense on both sides. Supporters of the PharmD-only proposal argued that the switch would provide the public with better-trained practitioners and pharmacists with economic viability. Those who favored the traditional bachelor’s degree suspected conspiracy by schools and colleges of pharmacy and certain “elitist factions” in the profession to undermine the credibility and relevance of the BS practitioner. These types of discussions would lay the groundwork for student pharmacists in the APhA House of Delegates to play an important role in the adoption of policy supporting the PharmD as the entry-level degree.

Coinciding with this change in the role of the pharmacist was a demographic shift in the profession. The 1980 Scientific Manpower Commission report showed that women earning degrees in medicine had increased to 23% from 8.5% in 1970. In 1981, due to the dramatic increase in the number of women in pharmacy, APhA formed a Task Force on Women in Pharmacy. The group worked to ensure equal pay and opportunities for female pharmacists, encourage women to actively pursue leadership roles, and increase female enrollment at schools and colleges of pharmacy. Women outnumbered men by 51% to 49% on pharmacy campuses by 1983.

The expansion continues

The 1980s produced steady growth in student members, Student APhA chapters, and participation in Student APhA initiatives. Major structure changes for Student APhA came at the end of the decade. Changes to the APhA bylaws in 1987 gave students pharmcists even more opportunities to become involved within the Association. The changes officially created the APhA Academy of Students of Pharmacy (APhA–ASP) and expanded the APhA–ASP National Executive Committee. Students were given greater input on APhA polices by increasing student votes in the APhA House of Delegates from 15 to 28. APhA–ASP was also given a standing committee structure similar to APhA–APPM and APhA–APRS. A total of 16 student pharmacists made up APhA–ASP’s four standing committees for awards, education, policy, and publications.

Stage set for the 1990s

At the end of the 1980s, the stage had been set for new APhA–ASP opportunities, greater participation in the Association, and a stronger, more active role in the profession. The momentum built in this decade would lead to a greater focus on developing chapters, building leaders in colleges and schools of pharmacy, and influencing and initiating policy. The efforts of student pharmacists during these years had demonstrated their vital role as the future of the profession.

1989–1999: Developing professionalism and student leadership 

Driven by the release of the draft PharmD standards by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), APhA Executive Vice President and CEO John A. Gans, PharmD, presented to the AACP Council of Deans (COD) in July 1993. The focus of the discussion was to invite AACP to join with APhA–ASP to look at the issue of professionalism and determine how the  two organizations could coordinate efforts to ensure the development of professionalism among the nation’s student pharmacists. 

The task force culminated in the development and publication of the White Paper on Student Professionalism, which provided recommendations for students, educators, and practitioners, and is still relevant today. As part of the white paper, the Task Force revised the Oath of a Pharmacist, developed a commentary to accompany the Oath, and adopted a Pledge of Professionalism.  

Fostering leadership and growing membership

As the number of student members of the Association grew exponentially, the Academy developed and implemented new programming to help provide leadership training and support to each local chapter. The Student Outreach Program was expanded to ensure that every school and college of pharmacy was visited by a national officer or an APhA–ASP staff liaison each year. Visits typically occurred during fall membership recruitment and consisted of presentations to students and meetings with chapter officers, chapter advisors, and the dean of the school or college. 

In 1997, APhA–ASP also implemented the APhA Summer Leadership Institute, a program that invites the incoming chapter presidents to participate in a 3-day workshop at APhA Headquarters in Washington, DC. These programs built significant interest in and loyalty to the Academy, resulting in a better experience for chapters and chapter presidents.

Providing unique training

In the 1990s, APhA instituted two types of student training: the APhA–ASP Experiential Externship Program and the APhA–ASP Summer Internship Program. These competitive application programs provided opportunities for students to work at APhA Headquarters for one, 3-month assignment in a variety of key programmatic areas. Students gained experiences in professional practice activities, policy and advocacy, education, and marketing.

APhA–ASP’s first experiential extern was Kimberly A. Chappell from the Medical University of South Carolina. Chappell petitioned the Association to develop student externship opportunities and spent her time working with the Student Affairs Department. According to Chappell, the externship experience “opened my eyes to career choices that were available to me beyond traditional pharmacy opportunities that allowed me to pursue a different path with my personal career. I also learned the importance of networking and giving back to the profession, both still relevant in what I do today.”  

Expanding programming 

As pharmacists were in the beginning stages of providing immunization services to patients, APhA–ASP student leaders developed a national program to encourage and support students to provide immunizations in states where pharmacists were permitted to administer and to advocate for policy change in states that did not. Operation Immunization provided a toolkit to schools with all the resources, information, and protocols needed to develop and implement local services. 

In the early 1990s, the Merck Foundation funded the APhA–ASP/Merck Student Pharmacy Project Grants Program. This program awarded funding and provided national recognition for projects that foster pharmacy association activities as a vital element of pharmacy education. These local chapter projects were then published in a catalog of winning projects that provided ideas and resources for other chapters wishing to implement similar programs. The program resulted in strengthening chapter level programming and provided grant writing experience to students.

Formalizing a student voice

Probably the most important development for students in the 1990s was when the APhA Board of Trustees voted to allow each of the Academy Presidents to have a voting seat on the APhA Board. Prior to 1998, the APhA–ASP President was an ex-officio member of the Board with a voice at the table, but no vote. This decision, almost 30 years in the making, finally provided a vote for a significant percentage of APhA’s members. Jay Phipps, 1998–99 APhA–ASP President from the University of Tennessee, was the first APhA–ASP President to vote on the APhA Board of Trustees.

1999–2009: Making this millennium our milestone

By the late 1990s, students were becoming actively engaged with their communities through Operation Immunization, and plans were underway to launch Operation Diabetes as the second national patient care project by 2001. Throughout the past decade, both projects helped to lay the cornerstone for greater student involvement in clinical activities and to move the profession closer to the vision of the pharmacist as the medication expert rather than a medication dispenser. 

Policy development early in the decade focused on payment for pharmacist clinical services and greater involvement of students within disease state management programming.

Clarence McMillan Jr., 1999–00 APhA–ASP President, developed the theme, “Making This Millennium Our Milestone,” and after looking back on this decade, it truly has been a milestone for the Academy and the profession. Since 1999, there has been tremendous growth in the number of leadership positions, patient care projects, schools and colleges of pharmacy, student involvement at MRMs and Annual Meetings, and most importantly, membership. 

Education expansion

Pharmacy education had a significant makeover throughout the decade with the transition from the 5-year BS degree to the 6-year entry-level PharmD at all schools and colleges by 2004. The acronyms IPPE (introductory pharmacy practice experiences) and APPE (advanced pharmacy practice experiences) were added to the vernacular and the residency debate moved to the forefront of House of Delegates discussions. As technology related to interactive television and smart classrooms expanded, so too did the schools and colleges of pharmacy. Three satellite campus programs were available in the early part of the decade; that number has grown to more than 30 programs in 2019. This expansion in pharmacy education has shaped APhA–ASP policy discussions and brought students in greater contact with ACPE.

Since 2003, APhA–ASP has participated in the review of the most recent updates to the standards and guidelines and graduation survey, held an annual open forum with ACPE at the Annual Meeting, and participated in pharmacy education stakeholders meetings. The Academy also passed policy to implement and enforce more stringent accreditation standards for pharmacy faculty deficient in communication and teaching skills, and requested the creation of a permanent APhA–ASP student pharmacist position (with voting privileges) on the ACPE Board of Directors.

The millennial generation

The racially and ethnically diverse, independent, optimistic, and technologically-savvy Generation Y (the Millennials) brought forth their values and ideals. As the bar was raised for didactic and experiential pharmacy education, expectations for enhanced leadership, professional development, and community service programming also increased. These greater expectations helped to shape APhA–ASP national presidential themes, which focused on the aforementioned areas, as well as diversity training, public relations, low health literacy, and becoming agents of change. Through these year-long themes, national and regional programming and resources were developed in addition to external committees, such as the APhA–ASP/AACP Committee on Student Professionalism. One major resource developed by this committee was the 2003–2004 Pharmacy Professionalism Toolkit for Students and Faculty that provided guidance and instructions on how to coordinate professionalism programming such as white coat ceremonies.

Throughout the 2000s, the United States suffered a few catastrophic events. September 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina shifted the mindset of the nation from an inward to an outward focus. As such, APhA–ASP experienced an increase in volunteerism and active involvement in patient care projects. This set the stage for an expansion in the number of blood pressure screenings, health fairs, and other community outreach events. APhA–ASP also added two new patient care projects: Project CHANCE (2004) and the Heartburn Awareness Challenge (2004). The Heartburn Awareness Challenge provided students with resources and tools to improve their presentation skills. Project CHANCE focused on underserved patients with the addition of a grant-like application, regular hours spent at a 340B government subsidized clinic, and a year-end poster presentation on the results of the project.

The Millennials also redefined their title of “pharmacy student” to “student pharmacist” after the American Pharmaceutical Association changed its name to the American Pharmacists Association in 2003. The Academy of Students of Pharmacy officially became the Academy of Student Pharmacists in 2004, and Pharmacy Student was renamed as Student Pharmacist.  

APhM and public relations

In 2004, National Pharmacy Week was expanded to American Pharmacists Month throughout the month of October. Chapters in the northeast United States represented APhA–ASP and the profession throughout the decade on various morning shows, including ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’ Early Show, and NBC’s Today Show. Student pharmacists around the nation also promoted the profession through regular contacts with local media. 
Realizing the potential of the media, 2006–07 APhA–ASP National President Daniel Zlott developed his presidential theme of “Promoting the Profession: Changing the Perception of Pharmacy.” Student pharmacists participated in media training to acquire the tools needed to deliver pharmacy’s message to lawmakers, patients, and other health professionals. Student pharmacists have used this expanded platform to promote the profession and display pharmacists as an important asset to optimal health care.

APhA–ASP made great strides in enhancing communication to chapter leaders, chapter advisors, regional leaders, and student members. Starting in 2004, chapter leaders were kept abreast of issues pertaining to ideal chapter operations, deadlines, and preparation for upcoming APhA meetings through a bi-weekly From Your National Executive Committee e-newsletter. The previous monthly communication sent to all students, APhA–ASP E-News You Can Use, was replaced with the current Student Pharmacist Connection

APhA–ASP’s Web site grew and has served as a resource for members by providing general information on the Academy, membership, awards, policy process, legislative advocacy, patient care initiatives, and contact information for regional and national leaders.

Legacies begun, legacies continued

As the early 2000s came to a close, 2009–10 APhA–ASP National President Adriane Irwin called upon student pharmacists to gather together as one voice in the midst of great change in the health care environment. With her presidential theme, “Many Paths, One Purpose: Inspiring Student Pharmacists to Unite the Profession,” the new decade was off and running, laying the foundation for the development of multiple national patient care projects in the 2010s.

Developed in response to the rapidly increasing number of patients and needs of Baby Boomers and the elderly in health care, these patient care projects were crucial to the growth of APhA–ASP. Launched in 2010, both Generation Rx and Operation Heart would go on to provide student pharmacists with thousands of opportunities to interact with patients in their communities and put their clinical skills into action. 

Reflecting on the impact of Generation Rx, Nick Dorich, 2010–11 APhA–ASP National Member-at-large, noted, “Prescription drug abuse was certainly discussed at that time, but there was not an understanding of the extent. The efforts by APhA–ASP have not just focused on reducing medication abuse, but also on mitigating stigmas and increasing access for medications, such as naloxone. This approach by student pharmacists far exceeded any expectations we had when launching 
Generation Rx!” 

In 2015, an additional patient care project was launched to educate youth about the safe use and storage of OTCs, known as the OTC Medicine Safety campaign. Apart from the newest operations and campaigns, during the late 2010s, a renewed focus on mental health entered the spotlight. In 2017, a policy to Reduce Mental Health Stigma was passed by the APhA–ASP House of Delegates to “encourage all stakeholders to develop and adopt evidence-based approaches to educate and reduce stigma surrounding mental health conditions.” This policy also called for increased utilization of pharmacists and student pharmacists in mental health destigmatization, and expansion of education and training in the curriculum of schools and colleges of pharmacy and postgraduate opportunities.

Coinciding with the focus on mental health was the continued efforts to destigmatize    adiction and educate pharmacists and student pharmacists in 2015 at the inaugural APhA Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependencies after the previous school closed.

Impactful policies

As student pharmacists continued interacting with their local communities through the various patient care projects, significant policies passed in the APhA–ASP House of Delegates also acknowledged the growing changes in health care. 

APhA–ASP supported many issues, such as reform of the U.S. health care system, the use of e-prescribing, proper medication disposal, drug take-back programs, personalized medicine and pharmacogenomics, and providing quality care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other (LGBT+) patients. Over the past 50 years of policy, student pharmacists have been right in step with the ever-progressive profession, adapting to changes that will continue to shape the future of pharmacy.

Member engagement

While there have been many changes in health care, there have additionally been great developments in APhA–ASP member engagement. This has especially rung true in areas of social media and networking.

In 2011, APhA–ASP officially launched its Facebook page, one that would continue to grow to more than 17,800 followers in 2018. Shortly after the launch of the Facebook page, APhA–ASP settled on the branches of the “Twittersphere,” tweeting their first update in July 2012 and gathering more than 4,000 followers as of late. By 2014, the social media platform Instagram rose in popularity, prompting the first Instagram photo posted by APhA–ASP in July and gaining more than 4,000 followers by 2018. With the introduction of so many media platforms, information dissemination, collaboration among members, and reinforcing connections following meetings and conferences became as simple as a follow, like, or message click away.

As more chapters established an online presence, chapter activities additionally were seen by a wider audience. What was once an audience limited by local attendees was now expanded to the state, national, and international spotlights. Use of social media also made powerful impacts by increasing communication among leaders. These impacts include multi-school community outreach events and creating a collective voice of student pharmacists who advocate for their profession.

This growing field of media has also impacted APhA–ASP meetings. Starting in 2009, the Pharmflix campaign was launched, with the goal of showcasing the talents and creativity of student pharmacists through public service announcements (PSA) surrounding a yearly theme. These PSAs were open to various genres, including parodies, music videos, and even documentaries. From Mercer University’s “PharmCATS” in 2014, to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy’s “Batman the Pharmacist” in 2016, the bar was set high.

An international spotlight

APhA–ASP was recognized in the international spotlight in 2018 as the “Best Association of the Year” at the 64th IPSF World Congress in Mendoza, Argentina. Over the past 10 years, the combined efforts of multiple individuals have contributed to the international success of APhA–ASP. From Dayl Eccles (University of Washington) as IPSF President from 2015–16 to Louisa Sullivan (Creighton University) as Chairperson of Pharmacy Education from 2017–18, and Allie Jo Shipman (Mercer University) as Secretary General in 2016–18, involvement on the IPSF Executive Committee were key factors to both the growth and influence of APhA–ASP within the organization. 

Collectively, the efforts of past and current APhA–ASP leaders have inspired countless student pharmacists to embrace the fact that APhA–ASP activity is also IPSF activity. As such, the essence of the message can be summed up by Vineeta Rao, a final-year student pharmacist from Cedarville University: “IPSF activity is not just about throwing cultural events and international nights. It is about thinking globally and acting locally, and American student pharmacists are
doing that every day!”

A new image

During the 2013–14 year, APhA–ASP National President Brandi Hamilton challenged student pharmacists to “Be the Change” for their profession. What followed were student pharmacists who sought to change the public perception of pharmacy from a product to a service, becoming an instrumental part of the provider status campaign launched in 2013.
In October 2013, APhA–ASP visited Capitol Hill, bringing student pharmacists to host the first of multiple annual health fairs, showcasing to members of Congress, their staff and aids, and the general public the valuable role that pharmacists play as members of the health care team. In the same year, student pharmacists began merging their patient care activities with grassroots advocacy with the launch of the APhA–ASP Policy Postcard Challenge. Since its launch, thousands of letters have been sent to state and federal legislators, and by 2015, members of Congress were taking notice of the impacts made by student pharmacists.

Celebrate the past … Embrace the future

As we look back on the past 50 years, consider the rapid growth and development of APhA–ASP. Consider the impacts we have made in our communities regionally, nationally, and internationally. As we turn our attention to the future of APhA–ASP, what will come of the next 50 years? 

Reflecting on 2017–18 APhA–ASP National President Michael Murphy’s call to “Begin Your Legacy,” APhA–ASP has truly established a legacy here in the 2010s and will continue to build upon it with the collective efforts of more than 31,000 student pharmacists across the nation.

Vital Statistics By the Decade: 1970s
Name of Academy: Student American Pharmaceutical Association (SAPhA)
Number of members: 12,419
Number of schools: 76
APhA CEO: Williams S. Apple  (1959–1983)

J. Craig Hostetler (University of Kansas)
1971–72 SAPhA President

I am a retired as a Captain from the U.S. Public Health Service after a 31-year career, with positions in the Indian Health Service, National Health Service Corps, and Office of Pharmacy Affairs. My last special assignment was as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Senior Public Health Advisor in Afghanistan. I reside in the Washington, DC, area where I do volunteer work at my church and in the community. I especially enjoy my monthly speaking engagement with the student pharmacists on rotation at FDA.


Vital Statistics By the Decade: 1980s
Name of Academy: Student APhA (name changed in 1983)
Number of members: 13,550
Number of schools: 72
APhA CEO: John F. Schlegel (1984–1989)

Donna J. Walker (University of South Carolina)
1980–82 SAPhA Executive Secretary

My husband and former student leader, Mark Pulido, and I are the Proprietors of Pulido~Walker,  a boutique winery crafting extraordinary single vineyard designate Cabernet Sauvignon wines authentic to its unique terroir, made by award-winning winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown. In addition, we founded the Pulido Walker Foundation, which is focused on youth development. I devote my time to the Walker Leadership Scholars program at the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy. This program provides high-capacity, student pharmacist leaders the opportunity to accelerate their leadership development through experiential learning and mentorship. 


Vital Statistics By the Decade: 1990s
Name of Academy: American Pharmaceutical Association Academy of Students of Pharmacy (APhA–ASP) (name changed in 1987)
Number of members: 12,000
Number of schools: 74
APhA CEO: John A. Gans (1989–2009)

Todd D. Sorensen (University of Minnesota)
1993–94 APhA–ASP National Member-at-large

I am a Professor and Associate Head, Department of Pharmaceutical Care and Health Systems at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, and also serve as the Executive Director of the Alliance for Integrated Medication Management. My academic work concentrates on identifying strategies that facilitate clinical practice development, as well as developing change management and leadership skills in student pharmacists, pharmacy residents, and practitioners. I am honored to serve as the 2019–20 President of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.


Vital Statistics By the Decade: 2000s
Name of Academy: American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) (name changed in 2004)
Number of members: 18,400
Number of schools: 81
APhA CEO: John A. Gans  (1989–2009)

Heather Ferguson 
(The University of Georgia)

2001–02 APhA–ASP National Member-at-large, 2002–03 APhA–ASP Speaker of the House
As the Drug Diversion Prevention Specialist at UW Medicine, I work with leaders across the health system to ensure that we have a comprehensive Drug Diversion Prevention Program, which includes prevention through education and awareness, detection through appropriate monitoring, and consistent response when concerns are identified. The primary goals of the program are to keep patients safe and promote staff welfare, as well as ensure regulatory compliance.


Vital Statistics By the Decade: 2010s
Name of Academy: American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA–ASP)
Number of members: 32,000
Number of schools: 118 (141 in 2019)
APhA CEO: Thomas E. Menighan (2009–Present)

Veronica Vernon (Purdue University)
2010–11 APhA–ASP Speaker of the House

I have a co-funded faculty position with Butler University and the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, IN, and teach student pharmacists and physician assistant students. I practice  in an internal medicine residency teaching clinic, working under a collaborative practice agreement that allows me to initiate, adjust, and discontinue medications, and order labs and imaging when needed. I am also a co-director for the PGY2 Ambulatory Care/Education program with Butler University and the VA.

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