SNPhA student chapter shines at national meeting

Members of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, or SNPhA, student chapter at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy took home several top honors at the SNPhA and National Pharmaceutical Association National Convention in Atlanta, July 29-31. The event attracted students and pharmacists from across the country to celebrate diversity, raise awareness of disparities in health care and devise solutions to improve the lives of patients they serve.

SNPhA National Convention 2022
The UF College of Pharmacy team (pictured left to right) of Alexandra Milfort, Nicole Donato, Gino Tornese and Jorge Valedon placed second overall in the LEAP at Lilly® Business Competition.

This year, the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, or SNPhA, offered several academic competitions in conjunction with sponsors to provide students with platforms to elicit real change within the community. SNPhA and Eli Lilly collaborated on the LEAP at Lilly® Business Competition, which challenged students to identify health care gaps and create solutions for minority and chronically ill patients through a business proposal and formal presentation.

The UF College of Pharmacy team of Nicole Donato, Alexandra Milfort, Gino Tornese and Jorge Valedon placed second overall in the national competition. The “Bird’s Eye Consultants,” as they named their team, focused on solutions to enhance the diversity of clinical trial populations, a medical science liaison-led continuing education program and a longitudinal internship experience focused on health outcomes. The team received a cash prize and career coaching courtesy of Eli Lilly. In addition, for the first time in the competition’s history, the first- and second-place teams were invited to Indianapolis to present their ideas to company leadership.

SNPhA and AstraZeneca hosted the inaugural Medical Science Liaison, or MSL, Simulation Competition. During three rounds, students were tasked with developing an understanding of and applying skills to the MSL role. In the final round at the conference, students presented an assessment of an oncology drug trial and its market impact to a panel of key stakeholders. Nicole Donato, a fourth-year UF College of Pharmacy student, was a national finalist in this competition, presenting AstraZeneca’s ELEVATE-RR trial on Calquence (acalabrutinib). Donato said the experience allowed her to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of oncology and the value that MSLs bring to biopharmaceutical companies.

UF College of Pharmacy students also participated in a Clinical Skills Competition, presented by Kroger, at the conference. Fourth-year students Amethyst Leon and Belen Gonzalez competed against students from around the country reviewing a patient case, analyzing it and making clinical recommendations.

SNPhA National Convention 2022
Joseph Washington, ’22, pictured center, with SNPhA student chapter members from the UF College of Pharmacy.

The conference also saw the beginning and end of an era. Joseph Washington, ’22, finished his term as SNPhA national’s immediate past president. Washington said this about his experience leading the national organization: “The presence and engagement of the UF College of Pharmacy’s SNPhA chapters have steadily increased year to year, and I am tremendously grateful for the role I have had along that journey.”

Additionally, fourth-year student Megan Mizusawa was elected to a national position, SNPhA National Mental Health Initiative Chair. Her position seeks to break down the stigmas and barriers associated with achieving mental wellness among health care professionals, communities and especially in minority and underserved populations. She looks forward to collaborating with the entire National Officer team to bring more programming to SNPhA members across the country.

SNPhA National Convention 2022
Megan Mizusawa was elected the SNPhA National Mental Health Initiative Chair.