December 19, 2017
By: Whitney Tarpy
OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy student chapter of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists earned ASHP’s Outstanding Professional Development Project Award for its work at the Oxford Medical Ministries Clinic.
The group was among 28 national recipients of the award, which third-year pharmacy students Allie Funderburk and Mary O’Keefe accepted at the ASHP Midyear Student Showcase in Orlando in early December. The UM student chapter of ASHP volunteered at OMM every Tuesday of last year, with two students assisting in filling prescriptions each week. OMM provides services to uninsured and employed patients, and is regularly staffed with volunteer physicians and nurse practitioners from the community.
“It was very rewarding to experience a different aspect of ‘health-system’ pharmacy and know that we were helping the underserved community,” said Funderburk, a Southaven, Mississippi, native.
O’Keefe, originally from Oxford, and Funderburk heard about OMM from their professor, Rachel Robinson. The two saw it as a great opportunity to help their local community and learn about pharmacy in a new setting.
“The ASHP award brought the experience full circle and put into perspective what our goal should be as health care providers, which is to better improve our patients’ care and lives,” O’Keefe said. “We do not have to be confined to one practice setting, such as a hospital, but rather we have the ability to impact patients at multiple levels of care.”
Funderburk and O’Keefe agreed that working at the clinic has helped them develop into better future pharmacists and given them valuable experience in closed-door clinic.
“I will always hold OMM and its work close to my heart,” Funderburk said. “This project opened my eyes to the need for health care professionals to volunteer their time to improve the health of their community. In my future practice, I will continue to take time to volunteer at a local free clinic and do everything in my power to enable the underserved with access to health care services.”