Image by Seth Heldenbrand
| Once again, the UAMS College of Pharmacy business plan team set a record by winning back-to-back national competitions – the first time ever for a college.
This is the fifth time in nine years that a UAMS team has won the National Community Pharmacy Association (NCPA) Good Neighbor Pharmacy Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan competition. College teams have won in 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2020.
In the competition’s 18-year history, no other college team has won as many times as UAMS. The NCPA announced the 2021 winners late last fall at its virtual annual convention.
“I am so proud of this team and how they have carried forward the legacy of this competition at the UAMS College of Pharmacy,” said Dean Cindy Stowe, Pharm.D. “This student competition has been integrated into the program like no other. The pharmacy profession in Arkansas is a huge enabler to building energy among the student body, as the state has a large number of independent pharmacies, and many of our preceptors are former business plan competitors. in local and national competitions.
“This team and their coaches have done a tremendous job to make this performance a reality,” added Stowe.
The competition attracted entrants from 23 schools and colleges of pharmacy across the country. A team from the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy and one from the Medical University of South Carolina were first and second runners-up, respectively.
The UAMS team included captain Jason Lam and team members Michael Kramer, Bobby Le and Rachel Foshee. Seth Heldenbrand, Pharm.D., associate dean of experiential education at the college, served as the team’s advisor.
“We were extremely proud of this year’s team, and they put a ton of effort into practicing their presentation several times a week from August through October,” Heldenbrand said. “Their efforts paid off with an excellent display at the national competition.”
The NCPA Business Plan Competition is the first national competition of its kind in the pharmaceutical profession. Named after two great champions of independent community pharmacy, Neil Pruitt Sr. and H. Joseph Schutte, its goal is to motivate student pharmacists to create a business model to purchase or expand an existing independent community pharmacy. a news.
UAMS students opted for an innovative plan: to improve the pharmaceutical services of an existing pharmacy. Enhanced pharmacy services are all services other than prescription filling and refilling. These services can include vaccinations, comprehensive medication reviews, aligning medications with patient medical records, and synchronizing refills so patients make fewer trips to the pharmacy.
Glenwood, Arkansas, is an underserved area, with a ratio of one provider per 2,700 patients. Patients must drive an average of one hour to receive enhanced pharmaceutical services. Using a well-known Glenwood pharmacy as an example, the team created a business plan to acquire the surrounding place, including a pediatric clinic and gym. These areas were then incorporated into the pharmacy’s available services, greatly expanding its impact.
The idea was to transform Glenwood “from a wasteland of improved pharmaceutical services into a thriving oasis,” said Foshee, the plan’s lead author.
“We know other pharmacies in major cities are already starting to provide these services,” Foshee said. “While our niche may not seem unique to some, enhanced pharmacy services are truly unique to our rural area. We hope to show other rural pharmacies the many ways these services can help their community.
It took months of hard work, plus classes and rotations. It paid off with a first place finish and another point of pride for the college. For Lam, the win represents a dream come true.
“Since my freshman year in pharmacy school, it’s always been my dream to present on this national stage, and now it’s become a reality,” Lam said. “The members of this team are what really made it the dream team, and I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Le said winning was like getting a big paycheck after working long overtime.
“The amount of time and energy we put into this plan on top of our normal classes was staggering,” Le said. “The links formed and the experience gained were more than enough to cover the number of hours spent. Winning the “W” at the Nationals was just the icing on the cake. If I could start all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat.
For Foshee, who grew up in rural Arkansas, the victory is more personal.
“Coming from a small town outside of Glenwood, this plan was so special to me, and winning made me even more excited about being a pharmacist in a rural area,” Foshee said. “This contest taught me a lot about pharmacy ownership, and I’m lucky to have met so many amazing pharmacy mentors throughout this experience.”