PINK colors and beyond
PINK events, the creation of Nhung Nguyen (left), have enjoyed huge success at Rosalind Franklin University.
APhA–ASP provides a unique place for student pharmacists to cultivate ideas into actionable projects, events, and policies. What drives the Academy is the amazing student ideas for serving the community and advancing the profession. As future pharmacists, it is up to us to shape the profession in which we want to work, live, and grow.
During my time as the APhA–ASP Chapter President at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science College of Pharmacy, I wanted to leave behind a legacy that would help our chapter and its members grow for years to come. When I was first introduced to the Women’s Health Campaign initiative at the 2018 ASP Summer Leadership Institute, a flame ignited within me and I knew I found my passion. My primary goal for the chapter was to initiate the Women’s Health Campaign and to mold it into its own operation before the end of my term.
Exciting campaign events
As a young woman, I know how important it is for women to have the right education about, and access to, proper health care. To that end, I encouraged all of my patient care operations to incorporate women’s health into their projects. However, I did not want to just “talk the talk”; I wanted to “walk the walk” and lead by example. Last year, I decided to initiate the Women’s Health Campaign by raising breast cancer awareness to our local and university community during the month of October.
I created a series of events, called the PINK events, to promote awareness, and collaborated with both students and faculty to increase the excitement of the campaign. The first event was a pink lemonade stand where chapter members interacted with our university community while sipping on a delicious cup of pink lemonade. We sold merchandise that helped promote breast cancer awareness and provided educational booklets on conducting self-breast examinations that were donated to us by the National Breast Cancer Foundation. We connected this to our second event, “Pink Pie Your Professor,” where faculty involvement was crucial to its success. We sold pink ribbons at the lemonade stand to the university community—whoever bought the ribbons was asked to affix those ribbons on the office doors of the pharmacy faculty. The faculty members with the most ribbons were graciously selected to be “pink pied” in the face by a student.
On the day of the “Pink Pie Your Professor” event, we styled the day to be carnival-themed and included theme-based refreshments and food. Other creative activities included a decorative photo booth and temporary pink hair dying station. Our faculty, staff, and students had a fantastic time as they enjoyed each other’s company and watched our favorite professors get pink pied in the face. We raised a total of $782 for the PINK series events, all of which was donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. This was a profound moment for us. Not only did we have a great turnout from participants, but this is the most funds our small chapter has raised for a pilot event.
Other committees join the cause
With such high spirits and great energy among our chapter members from these PINK events, it only motivated us to do more with our Women’s Health Campaign. Operation Immunization created an educational speaking engagement with a sorority at the University of Illinois to raise HPV vaccine awareness. Operation Heart coordinated a Wear Red Day during American Heart Month to promote and raise awareness about the impact of heart disease among women.
Lastly, we will have a Women in Pharmacy Panel consisting of women pharmacists with various backgrounds in the pharmacy profession. The purpose of the panel will be to raise awareness and celebrate the important role that women pharmacists play in advancing and delivering quality care to patients in a variety of settings. We hope to encourage leaders in all fields of pharmacy to create meaningful mentoring relationships in order to foster leadership among female pharmacy students and pharmacists.
A dream come true
These events were successful because of the support from my peers, chapter members, chapter advisors, and university administrators. They all helped me develop and execute my ideas in ways that I could never have imagined. From the beginnings of the planning stage to executing the events, all of this was a dream come true. It comes to show that anything is possible with the right mindset as well as a good support system.
Being a small chapter, early planning was a key component to ensure that the campaign was a success. By starting early, you can create and develop event/activity ideas that incorporate the major goal objectives of the campaign, such as the importance of the HPV vaccine in preventing cancer, with the assistance of your chapter. With a new initiative, you want to attract as much interest as possible in your community, so creativity here has no limits. Most of our events occurred through internal collaborations with our existing patient care operations. Since this is our pilot operation for women’s health, having each operation contribute to this initiative was essential as it only made the foundation stronger. Once we had an idea of what we wanted to do with the campaign, our execution was met with such ease because of all the prior planning that was done beforehand.
APhA–ASP helped further my passion for pharmacy by allowing me to pursue my goals. I learned to look more closely at what fuels my inner drive and in turn, use that passion to drive my professional journey and lead my chapter by being “Fearlessly Authentic.” The Academy has helped me grow academically, professionally, and personally.
Through APhA–ASP, I am able to share what is important to me, which is what drives my motivation every day.
Nhung Nguyen is a fourth-year PharmD candidate at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science College of Pharmacy.