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Pharmacy alumni, faculty and students recognized at OPA conference

May 23, 2012

Alumni, faculty and students from the Raabe College of Pharmacy at Ohio Northern University received numerous awards and honors during the 134rd Ohio Pharmacists Association (OPA) Annual Conference and Trade Show in Columbus, Ohio, from April 20-22.

Ohio Northern pharmacy students won the “OTC and Self-Care Challenge: Battle of the Colleges.” All pharmacy schools in the state of Ohio competed in this annual competition, which uses a question-and-answer format to challenge students and alumni on OTC expertise. Members of the team were Cortney Phillips, a fifth-year pharmacy student from North Royalton, Ohio, Alex Gray, a fifth-year pharmacy student from Zanesville, Ohio, Elizabeth Grubb, a fifth-year pharmacy student from Piqua, Ohio, Lauren Desko, a fifth-year pharmacy student from Perrysburg, Ohio, and Randy Myers, a 1982 ONU alumnus from Carey, Ohio.

 Kristen Finley Sobota, of Lima, Ohio, received the 2012 Distinguished Young Pharmacist Award, which recognizes a pharmacist who has graduated in the last 10 years and has made significant contributions to the profession of pharmacy. Sobota is the director of outreach programming at Ohio Northern, where she coordinates opportunities for pharmacy students and organizations to offer services to the community. She has been essential in the planning of programs such as annual health fairs for grocery stores and businesses, weekly disease state topics/screenings, and a monthly women’s heart health program at a clinic for the underserved. Sobota also has organized several nonprescription medication drives for pharmacy mission trips and has participated in mission trips to Kenya and Jamaica. Sobota further serves her profession through involvement in various professional organizations, including the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and the OPA, and advising Ohio Northern University’s Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) and the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Heartburn Awareness Challenge group.

Michael Milks, ONU professor of pharmacology, received the 2012 Cardinal Health Generation Rx Champions Award for excellence in community-based prescription-drug-abuse prevention. This award annually honors a pharmacist who has demonstrated outstanding commitment within the pharmacy community to raise awareness of drug abuse. It also is intended to encourage educational prevention efforts aimed at patients, youth and other members of the community. Milks was instrumental in establishing the ONU AWARE program, a coalition of Ohio Northern pharmacy students dedicated to serving as community resources in providing information about the effects and hazards of drug addiction and substance abuse. This program, started in 1989, is still active today and is responsible for educating thousands of elementary, junior and senior high school students.

Michael Rush, director of ONU’s HealthWise, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, and residency program director, received the 2012 Upsher-Smith Innovative Pharmacy Practice Award.This award honors pharmacists who have demonstrated innovative pharmacy practice resulting in improved patient care by providing effective patient counseling. Rush worked closely with physicians to provide patient care in anticoagulation, heart failure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking cessation, weight loss, thyroid disease, peripheral arterial disease, preventive medicine and polypharmacy. He then brought his expertise to ONU, where he helped develop a full-time wellness clinic (HealthWise) for faculty and staff that features a multidisciplinary team.

Jim Turner, a 1963 ONU pharmacy graduate, received the 2012 Keys Award for his long-standing commitment to the Association. Turner has been a member of OPA since 1965 and served on the Board as a district trustee from 1989-93 and as treasurer from 1992-2000. He also has volunteered on multiple OPA committees and task forces through the years. Turner assisted with the Ohio Pharmacists Foundation’s Building Ohio Pharmacy’s Future capital campaign to fund a new facility and provide expanded services for members.

Timothy Ulbrich, a 2008 ONU pharmacy graduate from Rootstown, Ohio, was installed as a trustee representing District 11. He is on the faculty of Northeast Ohio Medical University, where he is a pharmacy educator and advocate of good patient care. He serves on OPA’s Legal and Regulatory Committee and Disease State Management Task Force. In 2010, Ulbrich served on the Public Health Work Group of the Governor’s Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force.

Chester “Chet” Kaczor, a 2006 ONU pharmacy graduate from Pickerington, Ohio, was installed as a trustee representing District 10. He serves as a regional director of operations for Pharmacy Systems Inc., headquartered in Dublin, Ohio. Kaczor completed an experiential rotation at OPA in March 2006, during which he testified at a House Health Committee supporting pharmacy intern administration of influenza vaccinations. This is Kaczor’s second term on the OPA Board of Trustees.

Established in 1879, OPA represents more than 4,000 pharmacists, pharmacy educators and pharmacy students throughout the state. It is OPA’s mission to unite the profession of pharmacy and encourage interprofessional relations while promoting public health through education, discussion and legislation.