January 2014 OPA Extern Profile: Sarah Milkovich
Pharmacy School: University of Toledo
Undergraduate degree/institution: University of Toledo
Rotation Month at OPA: January 2014
How did you get interested in the profession of pharmacy?
My chemistry teacher in high school recommended I go to a career fair about careers in pharmacy. I wanted to go to medical school at the time, and after the career fair I was definitely interested in pharmacy. The profession definitely encompassed everything I was looking for in a career, especially the patient interaction and accessibility. I am very happy that I picked pharmacy, and look forward to the opportunities I will have upon graduation.
Why did you choose OPA as a rotation site?
I was involved in Toledo’s APhA-ASP chapter and had the opportunity to attend OPA’s Young Pharmacy Leader’s Conference in Fall 2012. I was inspired by OPA’s passion for advancing the profession, wanted to have the opportunity to work with OPA and learn more about association management.
What was the most significant or surprising experience at OPA?
My favorite part of this rotation was advocacy at the Ohio Statehouse. I did not take much interest in advocating for the profession during my first few years of pharmacy school. In the classroom, I listened to lectures about promotion of advocacy, but I never took the initiative to get involved. Since OPA is a prominent voice for pharmacists on the state level, this was my opportunity to have a crash-course in advocacy. I had the opportunity to go to the Statehouse every week. Over 40 pharmacy-related bills were in the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives during the month of January, which made days at the Statehouse very busy. A typical day began with bill hearings in the House or the Senate Health Committees. The hearings consisted of testimony from bill sponsors, proponents, and opponents of the bills. Later in the day, I had the opportunity to meet with Representatives and Senators, or attend House or Senate floor votes. I was very fortunate to set up appointments with my local Representative and Senator, and explain the bill’s impact on pharmacy practice. It is interesting to gauge the legislator’s knowledge on the profession of pharmacy and have the opportunity to explain what a pharmacist actually does and the importance of a establishing a rapport with your pharmacist. I feel that if more pharmacists and student pharmacists talk to their local legislators and community, we can advance the profession and add more value to our services. I could not believe how easy it was to set up an appointment with my legislators and have a conversation about a topic that I know so well. It was definitely a great experience and I encourage more students and pharmacists to contact their local legislators. Advocacy is something that I had to see to believe, and together we can make an impact.
What other pharmacy associations/organizations do you belong to?
American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP)
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)
Phi Lambda Sigma Leadership Society
Some of my hobbies include running, spinning, and scrapbooking. I love to shop. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.