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How pharmacy students across PA came together to promote PAI

Friday, December 2, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Elizabeth Maynard
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By: Jenna L. Fancher, M.A.

PharmD Candidate 2017


            In 2010, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) launched the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative (PPMI). Recently, this initiative was renamed the Practice Advancement Initiative (PAI) to be more inclusive of all pharmacy practice types and sites. To promote PAI, the ASHP Foundation offers a grant to state affiliates to hold a leadership workshop that focuses on developing programs that will facilitate advancing patient care and pharmacy practice. Pennsylvania Society of Health-System Pharmacists (PSHP), following receipt of this grant, extended a call to its members seeking volunteers to promote PAI in Pennsylvania. Having served as President of Jefferson College of Pharmacy’s Student Society of Health-System Pharmacy (JCP-SSHP) and Vice Chair of ASHP’s Pharmacy Student Forum, I have knowledge of PAI and thought this would be a valuable opportunity to bridge the student chapters to the state society’s goals and objectives.

A primary goal of the PAI project for PSHP is to increase institution response rate with the ASHP Hospital Self Assessment (HSA) and to identify ways to incorporate the three student chapters associated with the Delaware Society of Health-System Pharmacists (DVSHP). The HSA is a 106-question survey developed following the PPMI Summit in 2010. This tool evaluates the level of adoption of PAI recommendations at the hospital level. Current PSHP President, Dr. Bill O’Hara, would like to challenge the state to improve the participation rate. Very few states have high completion rates but in those states that do, such as Wisconsin, pharmacy leaders are able to use this information to advance services within their institutions and compare provided services and outcomes.


Under the direction of Dr. Jacqueline Theodorou, the first step of this process was to form a core group of students consisting of representatives from each of the pharmacy schools in Philadelphia. These four students were myself and Brittany Tschaen (Jefferson College of Pharmacy), Rebecca Davner (Temple University School of Pharmacy), and Shivani Bhanderi (Philadelphia College of Pharmacy). The overarching steps of the project included retrieving a list of hospitals/health-systems in Pennsylvania, expanding the taskforce to include more representatives from the individual pharmacy schools, expand the number of schools represented, and to eventually reach out to Directors of Pharmacy (DOPs) to offer assistance in completing the HSA. Following outreach to other programs and our current schools, the taskforce was expanded to include a total of 11 members (Table 1). The taskforce drafted an e-mail template to be sent out to the DOP for each hospital that had not completed the survey. E-mails were distributed in mid-September in which we provided a brief introduction of the HSA and offered to facilitate its completion with DOPs by visiting their institution or setting up a phone call. A second round of e-mails went out at the beginning of October to the institutions that did not respond to the first e-mail. Following completion of the HSA, a report is generated that provides the institution with a breakdown of its individual scores in each of the main categories of the survey, which the student provided to the DOP. The taskforce members were also invited to attend PSHP’s Annual Assembly, where the PAI workshop resulting from the ASHP Foundation grant was held.

Table 1: Taskforce members (an e-mail address indicates the student is willing to be contacted)

Pharmacy School

Students (e-mail)

Jefferson College of Pharmacy

Jenna Fancher (

Brittany Tschaen (

Hanifah Davis (

Deirdre Yarosh (

Philadelphia College of Pharmacy

Shivani Bhanderi (

Bailey Colvin (

Kayla Garzio (

Temple University School of Pharmacy

Rebecca Davner (

Mia Ro

University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy

Rachel Cartus (

Jessica Chmielinski



By mid-October, the 11 students that made up the taskforce reached out to a combined total of 75 institutions. Of the 75 institutions, the student committee was able to complete three HSAs and currently have four more scheduled to be completed, resulting in a 9% increase in completed surveys for the institutions contacted. Overall, the completion of an individual survey took anywhere from 30-45 minutes. The DOPs then had the option of having the student committee assist them with the development of an institution action plan following distribution of the report generated that provides the DOP a breakdown of what makes up the composite HSA score. Members of the taskforce also attended the PSHP Annual Assembly, which is where the PAI Workshop was held.


            This student-led project to promote PAI in Pennsylvania was a meaningful experience for all involved. For instance, students were afforded the opportunity to collaborate with their state affiliate on an initiative that is so important to advancing the pharmacy profession. Bridging the gap between students and state societies provides an opportunity to further engage persons interested in contributing to the organization. Many students are eager and willing to expand their professional network, to get involved beyond the local SSHP level that extends to the state, regional, or national level, and to participate in initiatives that directly affect their future careers. Collaborating with their state affiliate can help to achieve each of these aspirations. As current chair of ASHP’s Pharmacy Student Forum, I am keenly aware of the efforts that the Forum has put forth to increase awareness of PAI and to encourage student involvement at the state level. This has been made evident by the Forum adding both of these components to their recognition requirements for SSHP chapters, which includes proof of state affiliate involvement and PAI incorporation. This experience allowed for each of these components to be achieved. Students were able to gain a better understanding of PAI. In addition, collaborating with their state society created a potential pathway for fostering involvement of SSHP chapters that can work directly alongside the state in the future.


            In conclusion, 11 pharmacy students came together to collaborate with their state affiliate in promoting PAI. Our taskforce reached out to 75 institutions across Pennsylvania and was able to help 9% of these institutions complete the HSA. This collaboration allowed PSHP to observe the impact of student involvement. It is crucial that students understand their true value, the unique perspective they can offer as the future of the profession, and how important it is to get involved in order to facilitate advancement of the pharmacy profession. I challenge the practitioners of PSHP reading this to engage their student membership in future goals of the state society. Similarly, I challenge the students reading this to take this information back to their SSHP chapters so that the dialogue between students and the state can be initiated.

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