Alabama Society of Health-System Pharmacists
Best Practice: Student Involvement
Primary Intended Outcome(s)
- Increase student membership and involvement within ALSHP
- Support student chapters and encourage leadership development for students
About Our Event/Service
The Alabama Society of Health System Pharmacists (ALSHP) recognizes the importance of student membership and involvement within our organization. We support and encourage student development, as they are the future of our great profession. Over the last several years, we have increased efforts to engage students, and as a result, we have seen growth in our student membership and have seen several students assume national leadership roles.
One way that we have increased student membership is by including state association dues with the chapter dues students pay at the school level. This change was well received by students and makes them automatically feel a part of the larger association. Secondly, we have continued to keep student registration for meetings very economical and encouraged student attendance. Registration for both of our annual meetings is $25 for students, and they have the opportunity to receive free registration if they present a poster at our summer meeting. Not only does this help save students money, it promotes scholarship and helps develop presentation skills. A third way we have increased student participation is by offering student-specific programming at our meetings, with topics ranging from CV development and effective interview skills, to managing student loan debt and tips for residency. In addition, students are invited to attend clinical programming alongside pharmacists.
ALSHP supports the school winners of the local Clinical Skills Competition by helping with travel expenses to the ASHP Midyear Meeting and National Clinical Skills Competition. Additionally, ALSHP does several things to support our two SSHP state chapters. The ALSHP Board of Directors speaks at the chapter meetings during the fall semester and provides lunch to attendees. This is a way for the society’s leadership to not only describe their service to the association and profession but also inspire students to get involved at the state level. In addition, ALSHP allows student chapters to fundraise at our fall meeting, and awards an active P4 member with a plaque and free 1-year membership to ALSHP upon graduation. Lastly, student chapters appoint a student chapter liaison from each school to the ALSHP Board of Directors. This allows both schools to be represented and to ensure the voice of the students is heard within the organization. Board of Directors participation also allows for the further development of student leaders and motivates students to be involved at the state level.
Key Elements for Success
- Engage students by offering specific programming and resources.
- Keep meeting registration costs low for students and encourage attendance.
- Support local chapters and encourage leadership development.
How Promoted to Members
Personnel: The association management company and student chapter advisors, leaders and Board liaisons are utilized to promote events and opportunities for students. Additionally, members of the Board of Directors help encourage student participation through chapter meetings and by soliciting feedback from the student liaisons.
Marketing: Events are promoted through email, newsletters, and social media.
Supply Expense: Cost of graduation awards, travel expense to Midyear, and pizza
Return on Investment: The result of our efforts to increase student membership and involvement has been an increase in our membership numbers over the last several years as well as our student attendance at state meetings.
Outcomes/What Will Change?
Moving forward, ALSHP will continue to engage student leaders through participation on the Board of Directors. ALSHP will continue to support the student chapters and promote student attendance at ALSHP meetings through programming as well as continue to offer opportunities to showcase student research. Lastly, ALSHP will begin to develop student scholarships to further offset student costs to the meetings.
Suggestions for Other State Affiliates
Feedback from students indicates they like having the joint chapter and state membership. This simplifies things for them and they automatically feel a part of the state organization. We would encourage other groups to do this, if feasible, to help increase membership numbers. Also, if your budget allows, consider providing free or reduced meeting registration for students. We feel this has helped increase student attendance at meetings, along with offering student-specific programming and social activities.
Future Plans and Goals
Moving forward ALSHP plans to begin a student scholarship to further offset travel costs for those students attending ALSHP meetings each year.
Brad Wright,PharmD, BCPS
301 Governors Drive
Huntsville, Alabama 35801
Whitney White,PharmD, BCPS
Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice
McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Samford University
800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, AL 35229