Dr. Kimberly Ference, a professor in the pharmacy department, was recently elected to the Pennsylvanian Pharmacist Association (PPA) Educational Board.
Ference has been involved with the PPA for nine years, and said, “I fell in love with the association because it’s just got a great energy about it. It’s a great place to meet other pharmacists across the state and get involved with state initiatives.”
Ference has been the adviser for the Wilkes University student chapter of PPA for eight years, and served on a variety of committees before her election to the board.
“When I was asked to run on the education board I didn’t hesitate at all because of my involvement with the rest of the organization,” Ference added.
One of the key missions of PPA is to legislate for pharmacists and educate its members on new and current topics and to also foster leaders in pharmacy.
Last year the association created a new program called “LEAD.” Available to pharmacists who have graduated within the last 10 years, those who join the program tke online modules that focus on improving leadership skills.
“The purpose of this program is to foster leaders and grow leaders that will help serve the association in the future or beyond PPA after they have helped out – perhaps some of the national organizations,” Ference said.
Another key thing the association does is provide grants for research projects. Four grants are given out every year, and they each are around $1,000.
“Students and new practitioners apply for grants to help get research off the ground and help advance the pharmacy practice in the state,“ Ference explained.
Ference graduated from Wilkes University. After spending four years teaching at the University of Oklahoma, Ference talked about her return to Wilkes University as a professor.
“University of Oklahoma is a division one school with very large class sizes. It was really hard to get to know the students I was teaching – I felt disconnected from my students,” she said.
“What I loved about being a student was the mentorship I received and the fact that we had small class sizes – I knew all of my classmates, I knew all of my professors and they knew my name,” Ference continued. “Although I had a good experience at the University of Oklahoma, I was craving that environment where I really knew my students well, and that’s what brought me back here.”
At Wilkes, Ference teaches the Foundations of Pharmacy Practice course, which is for P1 pharmacy students. As part of the course, they learn how to advocate for themselves and their patients, and talk about leadership and professionalism. She also teaches final-year students at her practice site, at which she specialises in diabetes and smoking.
This semester, Ference has also taken up a new role as Director of Care Labs, which is a skills-based course.
Ference is an appreciated professor at the university. Kayla Reece, a junior pharmacy major, said that she “made class enjoyable, and learning worthwhile.”
The association also holds a “Know Pain Know Gain Competition” at the annual conference each year for pharmacy students to take part in. This year Dylan Fox, pharmacy student and future PPA student chapter president, was a finalist.
“Obviously a big congratulations to Dr. Ference. The PPA education board works really close with us, so it’s important we have her as a large voice,”