Posted on: June 11, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a sudden halt to many of the normal activities that our student organizations at the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy usually conduct during the school year. We wanted to give our student groups the opportunity to highlight their successes from this past year and provide a glimpse of what is being planned for the new school year. We asked Morgan Grier, Class of 2021 and president of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, about her group’s accomplishments and future goals.
What were some of the goals that you had for SNPhA for the 2019-2020 year?
As President of SNPhA at UofSC, I wanted to set our aspirations toward how we could transform the lives of those in our community. Often as students we sometimes get involved in service projects because we think it's what we should be doing, but don't think about how it may really affect underprivileged patients within the community. Therefore, I wanted our group to focus on serving the community with the most quality events possible, not quantity. My goal as president was to set the tone for organization's future and have our chapter leave a legacy that will remind future members of the true mission of our organization - 'serving the underserved.’
What were your accomplishments for the year?
Overall, we served our community in so many diverse ways. In total, we had more than 55 service events that we organized to serve patients. Some of our highlights are as follows:
- College of Pharmacy Student Organization of the Year
- Two members became National Clinical Skills Champions at our National Conference
- Currently in the running for the National Chapter of the Year
- Held our first LGBTQ+ Safe Zone training for faculty and students
- Increased membership from a medium chapter to a now large classified chapter on the national level
- Administered more than 300 flu vaccines
- Educated children in government housing on health topics through the Carolina Cares 4 Kids program
- Offered health seminars to our geriatric community at the Shepard Center of Lexington
- Provided two members of the semester with paid registration to the National Conference
in New Orleans, LA
What do you hope will carry over for the next year?
I've worked very closely with our President-Elect Michael Deaney this year and know he has a very similar vision to mine for the chapter. I hope that our chapter remembers the legacy we have built this year and that our returning members understand the impact they are capable of making, even if they think they are ‘just a student.’ There's no such thing. Your knowledge and work are powerful, so use it to better the lives of those around you!
How did you work around COVID-19?
The hit of COVID-19 was a hard one for our chapter. We had so many things planned for the rest of the semester in order to continuing serving those in the community who don't have access to care. We were looking forward to our final meeting of the semester where we traditionally give out SNPhA lapel pins and graduation cords to those members who have been heavily involved. We also use this time to honor the work we've done and celebrate the contributions of our members. Thankfully, my team worked extremely hard to move as many events to virtual access as possible. One of the most exciting was our 3rd Annual Suicide Prevention Certification offered through our state representative of Mental Health America, who was able to move the certification to an online version. We had many students who were concerned they might miss out on this opportunity, so we are extremely grateful to our contact at MHA for being able to accommodate us online!
What recommendations/advice do you have for the leaders that will follow you?
To my returning leaders and those to come, my advice for you is to never let the mission of this organization leave your heart. Our mission is to 'serve the underserved'. Let that mission be at the center of everything you do as a leader, student, and individual. This is more than about just creating service events or holding a title. You will be shocked at the impact you can make in these patients lives; don't underestimate it.
What thoughts would you like to share about your time as a leader in your organization?
I owe so much to this organization. SNPhA has taught me how I can impact the lives of my patients. It has taught me that no two patients are the same and everyone comes from such different backgrounds. It has empowered me as a student to understand that my power to change the community is not limited simply because I don't have Pharm.D. behind my name just yet. This organization has given me beautiful memories with patients thanking us for our efforts and letting us know that if it was not for us, they would not have had their blood pressure checked because they could not afford to go to the doctor or they did not have the transportation to get there. These moments will stick with me for the rest of my career. SNPhA has brought me my best friends in pharmacy school and I have created so many friendships through the hours we have spent together trying to better our community. On the national level, I have gained so much from awards, presentation opportunities, and scholarships. I cannot thank this organization enough for the endless list of opportunities I've been given that would have never been possible otherwise.