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  • pcc winner and finalists

    UHCOP's Haley Brusen, far right, celebrates her Student Pharmacist Patient Counseling Competition win alongside competition finalists Sarah Davis and Hunter Adam.

  • self-care team and TPF trustee

    TPF Trustee Shawn Ahmad congratulations to the UHCOP team members, from left, Tammie Lam, Hunter Adam, Tyler Trinh and Annie Mann on winning the Texas Student Pharmacist Self-Care Championship.

  • scholarship recipients

    Four UHCOP students were awarded TPF scholarships at the 2023 TPA Conference & Expo: Tyler Trinh (TPF General Scholarship), Petar Jordanov (Larry "Neal" McClaugherty Scholarship), and Annie Man and Mattie Sullivan (Professional Recovery Network Scholarships).

  • group photo of self-care team and supporters

    UHCOP's Self-Care Championship team celebrates with college faculty, alumni and fellow student supporters.

Crowned Coogs

UHCOP Students Secure TPA Patient Counseling and Self-Care Competition Wins; Alumnus Earns Distinguished Young Pharmacist Award

August 4 — University of Houston College of Pharmacy students won first place in the Patient Counseling and the Self-Care competitions, while alumnus Shawn Ahmad, Pharm.D., was honored with the Distinguished Young Pharmacist Award at the 2023 Texas Pharmacy Association Conference & Expo July 28-30 in Houston.

Top Counselor

Pharm.D. candidate Haley Brusen captured the Texas Pharmacy Foundation (TPF) Texas Patient Counseling Competition, with fellow UHCOP students Hunter Adam and Sarah Davis recognized as state finalists.

Showcasing one of the professional pharmacist's most essential and valued skills as both medication experts and educators, the competition presents participants with cases based on patient needs and pharmacist knowledge gaps in Texas. Participants are provided with online or printed information about a specific medication and allowed 10 minutes to prepare for the counseling session, which is conducted with a standardized patient in front of a panel of judges in less than 10 minutes.

ahmad-award-tpa23-captioned.pngSelf-Care Champions

Joining Brusen in the UHCOP winner's circle was the team of Pharm.D. students Hunter Adam, Tammie Lam, Annie Man and Tyler Trinh, which won the Texas Student Pharmacist Self-Care Competition.

Developed by the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA), the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), and the Nonprescription Medicines Academy (NMA), the competition is presented annually by TPA/TPF as the "Texas Championship."

Four-person teams representing colleges of pharmacy across the state engage in live, head-to-head competition using a "quiz bowl-style" format to test self-care patient treatment and basic knowledge of over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Audience members not only get to cheer on their favorite college, but earn continuing education credit as part of the experience.

"By understanding each other's strengths and weaknesses in various topics, they orchestrated a seamless symphony of knowledge," Lam said. "This harmony ensured they used their best assets whenever needed, presenting a united front that couldn't be beaten.

"The victory was not just a win; it was a showcase of the brilliance, teamwork and unbeatable spirit that defines its TPA/APhA chapter."

Lam said the team enjoyed the experience so much that members have been encouraged to start up a local self-care/OTC challenge to help reinforce learning and retention, but also to ensure UHCOP teams remain perennial winner.

Support for Pharmacy's Future

Four Pharm.D. students also were awarded TPF scholarships at the meeting. Pharm.D. candidate Petar Jordanov earned the Larry "Neal" McClaugherty Scholarship, Trinh received the TPF General Scholarship and students Man and Mattie Sullivan were honored with Professional Recovery Network Scholarships to attend the American Pharmacists Association Association Institute on Substance Use Disorders May 31-June 3 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Leveled-up Leadership 

Trinh capped his monumental weekend by beginning his term as 2022-23 Chair-elect of the TPA-Academy of Student Pharmacists. A member of the TPA-ASP Board of Directors since 2021-22, Trinh also serves as the board's Policy Committee chair-elect.  

Professional Commitment

In addition to the student wins, UHCOP alumnus and TPF Foundation Trustee Shawn Ahmad, Pharm.D. ('18), pharmacy manager at Vital Life Pharmacy in San Antonio, was honored as TPA's 2023 Distinguished Young Alumnus.

Ahmad has been a long-time active member of TPA and advocate for patients and the profession in Texas. In fact, Ahmad served as president of TPA's Student Leadership Group during his time at UHCOP and was the 2018 recipient of TPA's Distinguished Student Pharmacist for helping develop and promote student-focused advocacy campaigns and other activities to advance the profession.