Leading through adversity
Ngoc Phuong Mai Le is a final-year PharmD candidate at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Boston and the 2023–2024 chair of the APhA–ASP Communications Standing Committee.
“And the most Outstanding IPSF Activity Award goes to … Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Boston!”
It was a delightful moment to hear the announcement that our chapter had won the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF) award at the 2023 APhA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Phoenix. Despite all the challenges during the 2021–2022 academic year, with the transition to in-person activities after the initial impact of COVID-19, our chapter demonstrated resilience and grit to overcome the obstacles and achieve a phenomenal award.
The IPSF activities conducted by our chapter that led to this recognition included the Student Exchange Program (SEP), medicine awareness, Vampire Cup, international student panel, and smoking cessation/tobacco awareness event.
The chapter invited two guest speakers from the APhA–ASP International Standing Committee to discuss how student pharmacists could get involved with IPSF on a national level. Students also learned about the application process and how to apply for SEP to join a summer internship outside of the United States. Student pharmacists from our chapter applied and were accepted into the program.
Collaboration with OTC Medication Safety
Our IPSF committee also collaborated with Operation OTC Medication Safety to host a creative and informative event named OTC Medication vs. Candy Game Night to raise awareness of medication safety. Student pharmacists shared personal stories and experiences as well as devised strategies on how to differentiate between medications and candies. A chapter member shared that the event helped her realize how medications and candies can be very similar to each other and that it is important to distinguish these differences to protect her younger brothers and sisters in the family.
Virtual Vampire Cup
Due to campus restrictions with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vampire Cup blood drive was held virtually, where participants were asked to submit proof of blood donations via an online form. The chapter was not able to organize an in-person blood drive like previous years. Although the turnout was not as expected, our chapter hopes to organize an in-person blood drive donation in the future within campus regulations.
International student panel
This event welcomed three former chapter APhA–ASP Executive Board members who were international final-year student pharmacists. In this event, they shared their academic journey and offered advice for international students in the PharmD program. Student pharmacists were engaged in the session and even requested a recording of the event for future reference.
This event was a collaboration between IPSF and Operation OTC Medication Safety, Operation Heart, Operation Reproductive Health, and Operation Substance Use Disorder. This in-person, patient-centered event focused on spreading awareness of smoking and vaping among college students and the importance of cessation in the reduction of morbidity and mortality.
The chapter would like to pay tribute to Jiwon Jeong, 2021–2022 international vice president, for her committee’s excellent work with IPSF initiatives and activities.