Top honors for patient counseling awarded to UH student

04/07/04

Michelle Edwards from College of Pharmacy wins national award



Michelle Edwards

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HOUSTON, April 7, 2004 Communication with patients and other health care professionals is essential to a successful pharmacy practice. Michelle Edwards, a UH College of Pharmacy student, demonstrated her extraordinary ability to communicate under pressure at a national competition.

She took first place in the Patient Counseling Competition for students at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) national convention in Seattle March 29.

Two years running as the local Houston winner, Edwards, a 2004 Pharm.D. candidate at the University of Houston, garnered a spot at nationals to prove that she is the best in patient counseling. Last year, she also placed among the top 10 out of nearly 90 pharmacy colleges and schools across the nation, bringing home first place honors this year.

"Having been a national finalist previously, the pressure was on to perform well in this year's competition," Edwards said. "I was pleased to have made the top 10 again and overwhelmed with joy at finishing in first place."

As the 2004 national winner, Edwards will be honored by the APhA Academy of Students of Pharmacy (APhA-ASP) at the UH College of Pharmacy's graduation banquet held Friday, May 14, at the Hyatt Regency Houston.

Representatives from 87 pharmacy colleges and schools across the nation competed in a preliminary round that was then narrowed down to the top 10. The contestants were given five minutes to mentally prepare for a scenario presented to them where they had to counsel a patient on an assigned medication. To keep things realistic, the patients presented with some kind of communication barrier that ranged from having read something off the Internet that confused them to being in a hurry to leave the pharmacy. The students were judged on their ability to maintain control of the counseling session.

Edwards emerged as the national winner and will receive $1000, a plaque and the opportunity to return on an all-expense-paid trip to judge the 2005 Patient Counseling Competition in Orlando. The competition is sponsored by Pfizer.

"Michelle's success is a positive reflection of her talents and the superb training that she has received from our faculty," said Sunny E. Ohia, dean of the College of Pharmacy.

The APhA 2004 Annual Meeting & Exposition hosted nearly 6,500 pharmacists, students and technicians in their quest to learn and advance APhA's goal of improving medication use and advancing patient care.

The APhA is the first and largest professional association of pharmacists in the United States, with more than 50,000 members that include pharmacists, scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others interested in advancing the profession. The APhA-ASP consists of 18,000 student members in chapters in every school and college of pharmacy throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

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