Nesbitt School of Pharmacy wins award from PPA


Courtesy of Wilkes Marketing

Pictured from left to right, Cody Morcom, Nicole Hughes, Kimberly Ference, associate professor of pharmacy practice, Rachel Wood and Dylan Fox.

The Wilkes University Nesbitt School of Pharmacy was awarded the 2019 Public Relations and Awareness Award for the third year in a row from the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association (PPA). The students were recognized at the organization’s annual conference held at Seven Springs Resort on Sept. 21, in Champion, Penn.

The 2019 Public Relations and Awareness Award recognizes the school that worked at scheduling and holding various public awareness and community activities, promoting the role of the pharmacist. The award was earned due to the many programs the School of Pharmacy has, such as Generation Rx and Katy’s Kids.

The PPA’s mission is to promote the profession of pharmacy through advocacy education, and communication to enhance patient care and public health.

“The chapter at Wilkes University goes above and beyond to ensure we meet that mission. We are a very close club that consists of students that have a strong desire for helping our community. We are always looking for new ideas to help educate patients, and most importantly, give back to our community,” said Nicole Hughes, P4 pharmacy student and current Wilkes chapter director of PPA.

Some of the events PPA organizes include education on proper medication disposal, poison prevention and blood pressure screenings. PPA also advocates for the pharmacy profession by sending out postcards to local legislatures about issues related to the profession. PPA members attended Legislative Day at the Capitol last year to meet with legislatures to talk about topics they want to be changed in pharmacy practice.

Katy’s Kids is the main community outreach event that PPA is known for. Katy’s Kids was developed to teach children about medicines and medication safety. The program teaches young children the difference between candy and medicine while also teaching them the importance of safety. Members attend local daycares and stress to children to always ask before taking anything.

Wilkes held six Katy’s Kids events throughout the year, where they attended 11 daycares that reached over 200 children.

“This program allows us to integrate ourselves into a young population and truly keep children safe,” said Rachel Wood, P4 pharmacy student and PPA communications ambassador.

The other program, Generation Rx, focuses on important topics such as the current opioid epidemic, substance misuse disorder and proper medication disposal.

This program allows pharmacists to reach out to a large part of the community through medication safety events. They collaborated with the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists chapter (APhA-ASP) to create a Generation Rx radio show that has the broadcasting range to reach thousands in the local area.

Submitted by Cody Morcom
Cody Morcom and Harrison Ferro during the Generation Rx radio show.

The Generation Rx radio show began last November as a collaboration between Dr. Thomas Franko, assistant professor of pharmacy practice and Generation Rx faculty adviser; Dylan Fox, P4 pharmacy student and former Wilkes chapter director of PPA; Harrison Ferro, P3 pharmacy student and APhA-ASP Generation Rx chair.

They work with Kristen Rock, WCLH station manager, as well as the radio e-staff to produce their show.

Each show airs on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and consists of a discussion between Ferro and Franko or another pharmacy professor. Some shows have had other pharmacy students sit in.

“There are some pharmacy podcasts out there already but this is the first student-run Generation Rx specific radio show that we know of,” said Ferro.

“I think the show is very unique and it’s a new way to get patient education out there in a way that hasn’t really been done before.”

Each Generation Rx radio show requires a licensed pharmacist present in order to give out healthcare information to individuals.

Franko won a Generation Rx award through PPA two years ago from setting up the Pain & Addiction Summit. He runs the conference every year through a collaboration with Wilkes and several medical society organizations.

“Dr. Franko gets a lot of information out on substance use disorders, naloxone and increased accessibility for patients. He talks to providers and he’s a valuable resource. He’s our go-to for all of our events. He’s very knowledgeable and knows this stuff like the back of his hand. He’s very good at explaining it to the layperson,” said Ferro.

There is the potential for the Generation Rx radio show to serve as a model for other radio shows across the country.

“As of yet, no one has reached out to us but I’d like to get it showcased at a conference. We’d be happy to supply the logistics of how we did it, we don’t want to keep it to ourselves. We want to make sure someone else can use it and get the same message out and make it highly accessible.” said Ferro.

“Dr. Franko has connections around the country, so we do have people that listen in that have told him they listen to the show,” he continued.

Generation Rx will be attending an APhA-ASP conference in March to find out if they received a national award for their work.