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Student Pharmacists Advocacy and Relations (SPARx) Program

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Advancing a career can be highly needed but extremely difficult to do, especially when you’re on the outside looking in. As one of the Student Directors of the Texas Pharmacy Association (TPA) representing Texas Tech School of Pharmacy, and with the guidance of TPA, my goal is to advocate for the advancement of pharmacy practice. Why does this need to be done? Pharmacists are highly trained and well versed individuals who have spent four or more years learning about medications, including when to use them, how to use them, how they work, etc. When pharmacists graduate and go into this amazing career field, we are struck with limitations that do not allow us to practice at our level of education. For example, if a patient is wanting to go out of the country, they will most likely need travel medications. To get these, they would have to make an appointment and take more time and money than they need to, to see a physician. In another scenario, what if a patient is feeling sick with a common condition such as strep throat, a common cold, or the flu? As of right now, they would have to go through the same process as they would to get their travel medication; that is, make an appointment with their doctor and take time out of their day to visit the physician for a routine illness. What if a patient could come to the pharmacy, have a pharmacist look up what medications are needed for travel to specific countries, or as in the second scenario, run a quick test and prescribe the patient what they need, if a positive test, and have the patient on their way or feeling better in just a few days?


This is why advocacy through the Texas Pharmacy Association is critical. The TPA Academy of Student Pharmacists is promoting advocating for the profession from several angles through the Student Pharmacists Advocacy and Relations (SPARx) Program. This program is broken up into three sections to be completed over the course of the 2017-2018 school year. The first section, to be completed by December, is the “community” section. The two remaining sections will be completed in the spring.  The second and third sections are the “interprofessional” section, where we will promote pharmacy to other health care professionals, and the “regulation” section, where we will study pharmacy regulation and legislation. With each of the three sections, a student director from each school of pharmacy will host a seminar to explain the individual sections and what we, as students, are working to accomplish. Each section also has a mini-project and a short written reflection. For the community portion, students must make a presentation to educate the communities in which we reside about the training and education needed to become a pharmacist and the roles we can play in everyday life. After the mini-project has been presented or submitted online, students will write the reflection covering what they got out of it and what they think the community learned. When all three sections (community, interprofessional, and regulation) have been completed, students will receive an advocacy certificate that recognizes their efforts in advancing the pharmacy practice.


In a few short years, we as students, will be fully submerged into the profession of pharmacy. After studying hours on end, experiencing stress like we have never had before, and taking test after test in pharmacy school, why would we want to be so limited? Why would we work so hard for our doctoral degree if we do not want to use all this pertinent information to help patients to the best of our ability? I believe I can speak for most students and say that we do not want these limitations and restrictions. It can start at the ground level with pharmacy students and work its way up to improved patient care at a state and national level.


Submitted by

Lucas Cannon

TTUHSC TPA Student Director

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