COP Students Receive National Recognition

April 6, 2006

Contact: Lauren Cruse (505) 272-3690


Fourth-year UNM College of Pharmacy (COP) students Katie Gruchalla and Jennifer Short turned heads on a national level at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Annual Meeting and Exposition held March 17-21 in San Francisco, Calif. Gruchalla achieved an incredible fourth place finish in the National Patient Counseling Competition while Short became the first ever UNM COP student to be elected to a national office by serving as the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) National Speaker of the House.

As one of 94 contestants in the National Patient Counseling Competition, Gruchalla was judged in mock patient counseling scenarios in a preliminary and final round. In the final round, Gruchalla took on the task of counseling a patient on a very complex case involving Neurotin and post-herpetic pain to earn her fourth place in the country. Gruchalla also finished in the top 10 last year, but did not expect to make it as far as she did this year.

"I knew that the experience I had last year would help me, but I didn't assume that I would make it to the final round again," said Gruchalla. "I was ecstatic when one of my advisors told me that I made it. I truly enjoy participating in this competition. It has certainly helped me focus on how to use my clinical knowledge and counseling skills to deliver the most important information about a medication to my patient in a timely manner."

Short represented over 26,000 pharmacy students as the APhA-ASP National Speaker of the House. She presided over the two sessions of the House of Delegates where policy changes were addressed and voted upon by student delegates from each college of pharmacy. During her term in office, Short served as chair of the APhA-ASP Resolutions and Reference Committees and made over nine student outreach visits to colleges of pharmacy around the U.S.

The APhA Annual Meeting and Exposition is held every spring for student pharmacists, practitioners, scientists, technicians and representatives of the pharmaceutical industry. This year's meeting had over 6,000 attendees for the five day event. The UNM College of Pharmacy sent 35 representatives including students, faculty and staff.

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