College of Pharmacy

UNTHSC and TTUHSC Partner Up for Pharmacy Competition

Contributed by Haley Barnes, HSCCP Class of 2024

Despite virtual learning and a historic Texas snowstorm this last spring, UNTHSC and TTUHSC student pharmacists were dedicated to flexing their critical thinking skills in the 2021 Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists (SSHP) Leadership Challenge. The Leadership Challenge Competition is designed to help student pharmacists explore their roles as leaders in the healthcare field. It is typically hosted by the Texas Society of Health-System Pharmacists (TSHP). Unfortunately, the ‘20-21 academic year’s Challenge was postponed until 2022. In a critical moment in healthcare when pharmacists are at the forefront in leading COVID-19 immunizations, it was important to HSC College of Pharmacy and Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy students to make this year’s Challenge happen.

“Organizing a local Leadership Challenge and keeping the authenticity of the annual TSHP competition while navigating remote learning proved to be a

Hope Shrader Sherman, HSC College of Pharmacy, P4

challenge,” reflected HSC College of Pharmacy Class of 2022 student and SSHP Professional Development Committee Chair, Hope Shrader Sherman. “But the SSHP executive committees at TTUHSC & UNTHSC were eager to help.”

Under Sherman’s leadership, the Professional Development Committee took advantage of the asynchronous nature of the ‘20-21 academic year. Typically, each campus will host an individual live competition and will send one group to represent their respective program in the TSHP state-wide Challenge. Without the live nature of the 2021 competition, UNTHSC SSHP partnered with TTUHSC SSHP to design a two-month long, asynchronous challenge from February 22nd through April 9th.

Thanks to Challenge prompt author, Dr. Jennifer Fix of UNTHSC, student teams discussed how to increase patient acceptance of phone- or telepharmacy-based medication therapy management services in the health-system pharmacy setting during a pandemic. By March 31st, 16 teams submitted business plan outlines, SWOT analyses, and presentation recordings arguing their best idea on how to implement this service in the new environment of healthcare.

“It was a pleasure collaborating with UNTHSC in our local SSHP Leadership Challenge! It was so much fun and rewarding to review the submissions full of creative ideas that students were able to generate,” shares Sze Yi Kong, a TTUHSC Class of 2021 student pharmacist and SSHP Student Liaison of the TTUHSC-Dallas campus. “I’m looking forward to collaborating with UNTHSC again next year!”

“We had a diverse set of teams sign up, who each approached the case from a unique perspective. Overall, it was a great opportunity to collaborate with our peers from another college of pharmacy and allow students to practice skills essential to pharmacy practice,” seconded Sherman.

UNTHSC and TTUHSC SSHP congratulate the following Top 3 teams:

  • 1st place: Kate Ball, Matthew Gehrlein, & Mahsa Helforoush (TTUHSC)
  • 2nd place: Thao Aparicio, Haley Barnes, Traci Presley, & Alexis Zamora (UNTHSC)
  • 3rd place: Ramsha Akhtar, Megan Bareis, Vivian Ho & Parker Lenheiser (TTUHSC)

UNTHSC and TTUHSC SSHP also thank our judges: Drs. Ashley Selby, Celine Zhong, and Eric MacLaughlin of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center; Dr. Phu Trinh of University of North Texas Health Science Center; Dr. Randy Martin, Texas Society of Health-Systems Pharmacist. SSHP Leadership Challenge Planning Committee: Chair Hope Shrader Sherman; Student Liaison Sze Yi Kong; Members Haley Barnes, Erin Hust, Angel Nguyenly, Bri Palumbo, and Thara Vadakedom.