Students Present Original Research at Second Annual Scholarly Project Symposium

The USC School of Pharmacy’s second annual Scholarly Project Symposium gave third-year pharmacy students the unique opportunity to present original research projects to an audience of alumni, faculty and staff.

The all-day symposium on Friday, March 29 brought together PharmD students to present posters individually and in teams and compete for awards.

The members of the class of 2020 collectively dedicated thousands of hours in the process of producing 69 original scholarly projects across a range of categories including academia, community pharmacy practice, transitions of care, pain management, ambulatory care pharmacy, infectious disease and public health.

The topics included optimization of automated dispensing machines, potential therapeutic use of marijuana for opioid dependence and for management of chronic pain, minimizing health disparities in large urban safety-net clinics, state community pharmacy mapping for Advanced Practice Pharmacy (APP) preparedness, to name just a few. (View a full list of projects here.)

On the day of the symposium, each presentation was paired with one of eight panels of judges comprising faculty, staff, alumni and preceptors. Rory Kim, assistant professor of clinical pharmacy and the symposium’s faculty organizer, noted that in envisioning the experience for students, it was important to build in opportunities for professional growth, so students could improve critical thinking skills, learn to collaborate in teams, and increase their competitiveness as candidates for postgraduate programs.

“We think it’s important for all pharmacy students to participate in the process of scientific inquiry, to learn how to develop a research question and take that all the way through data collection to presentation,” Kim said.

Kim also noted that the daylong symposium, which is funded by the alumni association, is designed to have an interactive atmosphere similar to professional research conferences. “It gives our students the chance to interact with our alumni, faculty and preceptors and engage with them and network with them in a professional setting.”

Student participants said they found their research experiences challenging and rewarding.

“Finding the passion within my project, getting it done, and seeing everyone else here, it ended up being well worth every minute of time we put into it,” said third-year student Deep Patel, whose team project focused on assessing the need for educational interventions on products containing marijuana.

Patel added that he was impressed and inspired to see the breadth and depth of his classmates’ research projects. “Each one was different but also very vital to our profession,” he said. “I learned that our profession doesn’t have a roof — it keeps growing.”

2019 Awards

The following awards were presented:

Alumni Board Award for Excellence in Scholarship
Emily Taing, “Secondary infection related to Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (SAB): clinical features, host immune responses, and outcomes” (Annie Wong-Beringer, faculty advisor)

Dean’s Recognition Awards
Miguel Palafox, “Identifying perceptions and barriers in the medically underserved population to starting self-administered outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT)” (Emi Minejima, faculty advisor)
Stefan Gorham, Talin Bchakjian and Sarine Arakelian, “Attitudes, Behaviors, and Practices of California Community Pharmacists when Filling Controlled Substances” (Melissa Durham, faculty advisor)

People’s Choice Award
Kevin Chaa and Tracy Ho, “The Effect of “Meds-to-Bed” and Post-Discharge Telephonic Follow-Up Program on 30-Days Readmission and Patient Experience during Care Transitions in Keck Hospital of USC” (Patrick Tabon, faculty advisor)

For more information about the Scholarly Project Symposium and to view a list of the 2019 presentations, visit the website.