The UofSC College of Pharmacy team of Rebecca Axson, Jessica Chen and Christina Lin competed at the 2022 Good Neighbor Pharmacy National Community Pharmacists Association Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition on October 1, finishing in the top three in the nation.
The team, entitled “Access Health Pharmacy and Café", created a business plan that would provide a rural community with access to all aspects of health care, such as telehealth, wellness coaching, and point-of-care testing. To differentiate their goals even more, the plan also includes a café to provide the community with a safe place to gather and have access to the internet.
Axson relished the opportunity to collaborate with mentors and to meet other student pharmacists on a national level.
"I am thankful my team and I took a chance and participated in the Business Plan Competition,” she says. “I have learned so much about myself and pharmacy throughout this experience, and I will carry all that I have learned throughout my future career as a pharmacist."
We had overwhelming and continuous support from Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center, professors, classmates, and mentors, which made me enthusiastic and proud about representing my school ...
Chen described the national competition as a surreal experience.
“We had overwhelming and continuous support from the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center, professors, classmates, and mentors, which made me enthusiastic and proud about representing my school in front of so many pharmacists, business intellects, and a wide variety of individuals involved in the pharmacy world at the convention,” Chen says. “The convention showed me a new side of pharmacy that I have never really thought about and really made me think about new future possibilities.”
And Lin has learned even more about independent pharmacy, patient advocacy and social determinants of health.
“I was able to network with other like-minded students, independent pharmacists, and attend expos and presentations that expanded my interest in different areas of pharmacy,” she says. “As for the competition, we were able to talk to our judges afterward, who gave us affirmations and guidance, all of which I will carry throughout my future career.”
The COP team competed against the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the University of Georgia and brought home a prize of $1,000 for the college’s NCPA student chapter and $1,000 contributed to the school in Dean Stephen J. Cutler’s name to promote independent pharmacy. This is the second time that the COP has placed a team in the Top Three for the competition.
“The fact that three P2 students (originally P1 students when they first developed the plan) were able to create one of the top three business plans in the country, against teams made up of four P4 students or those who had recently graduated, demonstrates their intelligence, creativity, and determination,” she says.
“What impressed me the most is how much Christina, Jessica and Rebecca wanted to care for members of a community with limited access to health care services. Central to their pharmacy’s mission was addressing critical factors that impact a patient’s ability to receive care. In an era where many within health care are not willing to serve rural communities, our student pharmacists found a creative way to do so.”