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photo of najera and underwood with plaque
Pharm.D. candidates Scarlett Najera and Stephanie Underwood, two of the 2014-15 senior chairs for the UHCOP APhA-ASP Chapter's Operation Diabetes, display the 2nd Place Runner-up Award for the initiative at the 2016 APhA-ASP national meeting March 4-7.

Diabetes Defense

UHCOP APhA-ASP Chapter's Operation Diabetes Initiative Named National 2nd Runner-up March 4-7 in Baltimore

The UH College of Pharmacy American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Chapter's Operation Diabetes initiative received national recognition at the 2016 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition March 4-7 in Baltimore, Md.

The UHCOP chapter was honored as the 2014-15 2nd Runner-up in the national competition for Operation Diabetes, which is one of several nationwide outreach initiatives of APhA-ASP. Each year, the more than 130 ASP chapters across the U.S. are encouraged to develop projects and programs in support of the national initiatives, which primarily focus on public/comunity health and specific disease states.

Among the goals of the initiative were to raise awareness of the disease through education and wellness screenings, promote lifestyle modifications for diabetes prevention, and highlight the significant role that pharmacists play in helping patients manage their diabetes. The 2014-15 Operation Diabetes initiative was led by senior chairs Scarlett Najera, Tam Nguyen and Stephanie Underwood and junior chairs Caitlin Le, Chelsea Wong and Reshma Mathew. 

The APhA-ASP chapter collaborated with nonprofit organizations and private entities to provide wellness screenings and education at 19 events throughout greater Houston during the year. More than 70 APhA-ASP members provided cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure and bone-density screenings as well as diabetic foot exams to attendees of the American Diabetes Association's ADA Expo at Reliant Center in July 2014. Members of the college's Mexican-American Pharmacy Student Association also assisted at the event by providing Spanish language translation.

Initiative leaders also organized their own event in collaboration with the ADA – Race for Control: 5K & Fitness Festival – in August 2014 at the University of Houston.

In addition, Operation Diabetes leaders created a diabetes-specific patient counseling competition for chapter members to become more confident educating patients on lifestyle modiications for preventing diabetes or managing their disease.

The UHCOP chapter has more than 200 members, while there are more than 34,000 student members of the national organization.