UW Today

February 2, 2011

Pharmacy students elected to national leadership roles

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Two School of Pharmacy students have been named national leaders of two separate pharmacy associations. Third-year pharmacy student Sara McElroy will become president of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists in March (APhA-ASP). Second-year student Andrew Heinz will become president of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Student Leadership Council in May.

Sara McElroy (seated right) with the American Pharmacy Association's Academy of Student Pharmacists executive committee.  On her right is current president Steven Zona. Standing, left to right: Brooke Clark, Nicholas Dorich, and Veronica Vernon. In addition to the UW, the executive committee members are from Purdue, University of New Mexico, University of Pittsburgh, and University of Rhode Island.

Sara McElroy (seated right) with the American Pharmacy Association’s Academy of Student Pharmacists executive committee. On her right is current president Steven Zona. Standing, left to right: Brooke Clark, Nicholas Dorich, and Veronica Vernon. In addition to the UW, the executive committee members are from Purdue, University of New Mexico, University of Pittsburgh, and University of Rhode Island.

McElroy completed a competitive and rigorous application to earn this position after the previous national president-elect resigned in the fall. As APhA-ASP president-elect, she is helping the national executive committee plan the upcoming APhA 2011 Annual Meeting and Exposition to be held in Seattle.

She will be installed as president at the March meeting. As national president, she will establish the goals and objectives of the academy and lead more than 32,000 student pharmacist members representing every pharmacy school in the United States and Puerto Rico. In addition, she will be the only student member on the APhA Board of Trustees. She also will visit pharmacy schools nationwide through APhA-ASPs student outreach program.

She applied for this position, she said, because she enjoys developing new ideas, and she hopes to make sustainable changes that could impact the pharmacy profession. “In the current setting of health care reform, I see a clear opportunity to create an improved practice setting to better serve our patients,” said McElroy. “I hope to work with student pharmacists and health-care professionals both now and in the future to make this vision a reality.”

McElroy holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biochemistry from Connecticut College and Duke University respectively. She previously served as the president of the Unified Professional Pharmacy Organizations of Washington (UPPOW), a UW pharmacy student umbrella organization that includes memberships in APhA-ASP, NCPA, Washington State Pharmacists Association (WSPA), American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation.

At the UW, she has helped create a first-year clinical skills competition and new student-led first-year orientation activities. Most recently, she received a grant to develop a pharmacy-based tobacco cessation clinic with the Nisqually Tribe. She is now working to establish an interprofessional council with other health sciences schools.

Andrew Heinz distributes health information booklets and talks with visitors at the UW Homecoming Fair.

Andrew Heinz distributes health information booklets and talks with visitors at the UW Homecoming Fair.

A few of the NCPA council’s current goals are to promote and increase student participation in the Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition and increase student involvement in statewide and national legislative affairs regarding pharmacy practice. Heinz also is helping grade the NCPA national competition submissions. In addition, he serves as a liaison for an NCPA region covering 10 states.

He will be installed as president in May at the NCPA Conference on National Legislation and Government Affairs in Washington, D.C. As president, he will continue many of his current responsibilities while serving on the NCPA Executive Council Multiple Locations Steering Committee. He also will visit pharmacy schools nationwide.

Heinz’s interest in independent and community pharmacy is longstanding. His father, a WSU College of Pharmacy graduate, is an independent pharmacy owner. In fact, his family has owned pharmacies in Washington state for the past 16 years. Heinz has worked in these businesses in various capacities for much of his life. He hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps and to one day run the family business.

Heinz entered the UW as an undergraduate in 2006 with his sights set on the School of Pharmacy. He entered the Pharm.D. program in 2009. During his time in pharmacy school, Heinz has served as a committee chair in the NCPA student chapter and as a first-year liaison to UPPOW.

“I plan to continue involvement in organizations like NCPA throughout my career to educate legislators on the profession of pharmacy and to improve our profession,” said Heinz.

The NCPA Student Affairs branch, led by the Student Leadership Council, aims to encourage, foster and recognize an interest in community pharmacy ownership and entrepreneurship among future pharmacy leaders.

McElroy and Heinz are both excited to represent students and practicing pharmacists from Washington at the national level. Their UPPOW adviser, Jenny Arnold, a UW alumna who is the director of pharmacy practice development of WSPA, is excited, too.

“Pharmacy practice in Washington state has always been ahead of the curve,” said Arnold. “Having Sara and Andrew, both outstanding leaders, in national positions will help bring the Washington perspective to national discussions of pharmacy practice and health-care reform.”