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photos of 2015 TPA Self-Care team
The UHCOP team of Ryan May, Heather Harrison, Katie Williams and Ciara Will won the Texas NASPA-NMA Self-Care Championship at the TPA 2015 annual meeting.

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UHCOP Team's Knowledge of Over-the-Counter Medications Claims Texas Self-Care Competition Championship at TPA 2015 Meeting

A team of UH College of Pharmacy Pharm.D. students claimed the statewide trophy in the quiz-bowl style Texas Self-Care Championship at the Texas Pharmacy Association 2015 Conference & Expo July 10-12 in The Woodlands. 

Fourth year students Heather Harrison, Ryan May, Ciara Will and Katie Williams composed the winning UHCOP team.

Developed by the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) and the Nonprescription Medicines Academy (NMA) in 2006, the championship was introduced in Texas by TPA in 2012.  Today, the competition is conducted in more than 30 states with participation by more than 150 colleges of pharmacy throughout the U.S.

The event promotes interactive learning of self-care topics to the participants as well as the audience in attendance. The competition features teams from the state’s colleges/schools of pharmacy which teams compete head-to-head in an event similar to a quiz bowl and the Jeopardy game show. The questions, which are developed by the NMA, focus on self-care and OTC medications. 

Ryan May said his participation was driven by his competitive nature, wanting to bring home the trophy for the college, and assess his retention of OTC medications from his third year of the curriculum, when information about those products are mostly covered.  

“As a pharmacist, you are often the most easily accessible healthcare provider for patients, and as they will be entering your stores and buying OTC products, you must be prepared to ask the appropriate questions in order to make a safe and efficacious recommendation,” May said.

May said he prepared for the competition by reviewing specific products, including black-box warnings and other essential elements of their safe, effective use.

“I found this to be a particularly unique and challenging way to reveal my areas of weakness with regards to self-care as self-care is an important tool for pharmacists,” May said.  

Ryan's teammate Heather Harrison said she’s seen first-hand how much patients rely on the knowledge and recommendations of the community pharmacist in the area of OTC and self care.

“I have worked in some small towns where access to physicians is very limited, so I see patients with all kinds of ailments come to the pharmacist for self-care needs,” Harrison said. “I think having a strong OTC knowledge base is so essential because pharmacists in the community setting are the most easily accessible healthcare professional and often we are the first line of defense.”

In other UHCOP news from the TPA meeting, UHCOP students Eric Kao and Allison Phuc Nguyen were awarded a TPF General Fund Scholarship and the TPF Larry “Neal” McClaugherty Scholarship, respectively. In addition, fellow student Pari Wafayee was one of the three third-place finalists in the Patient Counseling Competition.