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Arizona Pharmacy Association Health-System Academy

Arizona Pharmacy Association - Student Pharmacist Academy

Student Pharmacist Academy (SPA)

Arizona Pharmacy Association Health-System Academy

Tempe, AZ

About Our Event/Service

The purpose of the AzPA Student Pharmacist Academy (SPA) is to represent the student pharmacist membership of the parent organization, the Arizona Pharmacy Association (AzPA). AzPA and AzPA – SPA foster safe and effective medication therapy, promote innovative practice, and empower its members to serve the health care needs of the public. In order to achieve these goals, a quality membership is key. Thus, an innovative and engaging recruitment method for student members is necessary.

Primary Intended Outcome(s)

The goal of the student membership drive is to:

  • Recruit new AzPA – SPA members
  • Improve understanding of the value of student involvement with AzPA – SPA

Key Elements for Success

Word of mouth power (WOMP) is a strong tool. Shout it out loud, “WOMP – there it is!” In tribute to David Letterman’s Late Night Show featuring the “Top Ten List,” the student leadership compiled a list of ten reasons to join the AzPA – SPA. This list was shouted out loud during a PowerPoint presentation to prospective members and read in reverse countdown order by one of the SPA executive committee members. Prospective members were eager to hear the list and the #1 reason to join AzPA – SPA! This engaging presentation was one of the methods of student recruitment and will be the focus of this spotlight.

First, a review of the top ten reasons to join the AzPA – SPA and promising practice pearls associated with each may assist in a successful student membership recruitment drive for other state affiliates.

Top Ten Reasons to Join the Arizona Pharmacy Association – Student Pharmacist Academy

  1. It’s a bargain!
    Determine feasibility of offering discounts for students members
    Example: AzPA student membership starts at $25 for a first year with a tiered yearly increase of $25 (up to $100 for a 4th year student) vs. $225 pharmacist
  2. It’s fun!
    Increase community spirit and awareness of pharmacy
    Example: AzPA – SPA organizes and sponsors several community outreach events such as the Safe Halloween Event and Banner Children’s GO KIDS! Festival
  3. Protect & advance YOUR profession
    Instill advocacy early on. Example: AzPA – SPA annually organizes Pharmacy Day at the Capitol to advance pharmacy initiatives and advocate for pharmacists as providers
  4. Recognition & leadership opportunities
    Invest in and build future leaders now
    Example: Students members are eligible for leadership positions as well as awards and may participate in standing committees such as legislative, continuing education, membership, and communications
  5. Career development
    Increase community spirit and awareness of pharmacy
    Example: AzPA – SPA organizes and sponsors several community health outreach events such as the Spring Health Fair at the Glendale Adult Center
  6. Serve your community as a future pharmacist
    Increase community spirit and awareness of pharmacy
    Example: AzPA – SPA organizes and sponsors several community health outreach events such as the Spring Health Fair at the Glendale Adult Center
  7. Discounted Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE) review
    Invest in success and serve as a revenue source
    Example: MPJE law review for graduating students preparing to take the state law exam is $100 for AzPA student members vs. $300 for non-members
  8. Discounted Annual Meeting registration
    Determine feasibility of offering discounts for students members and promote student career development
    Example: Full-Registration is only $100 for students vs. $375 for pharmacists; focused student track including a social game night, poster presentations, curriculum vitae review, and mock interviews. See and Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning; 2015(7):684–90 for an overview of mock interviews.
  9. Networking
    WOMP is valuable! Mentorship is even more powerful!
    Example: The AzPA Mentor Connection Program matches student pharmacists to pharmacists for guidance and professional networking. See for an overview of the Program.
  10. It’s YOUR state organization!
    Now that you are part of the College of Pharmacy family, Arizona will be your home for the next few years!
    Example: AzPA has many logo items available for purchase to showcase the pharmacy family pride in Arizona

How Promoted to Members

At the beginning of each didactic year for the two accredited Colleges of Pharmacy in Arizona (Midwestern University College of Pharmacy-Glendale in Glendale and the University of Arizona in Tucson), a student organization membership drive is held which mainly focuses on first year students. During this college-wide drive all pharmacy organizations are represented including the state organization, AzPA. It is at this event that the “Top Ten List” to join AzPA – SPA is utilized.

Tools and Resources Used

Each year the AzPA – SPA, in collaboration with their respective faculty advisors and AzPA leadership, revise the “Top Ten List” and make adjustments as necessary. On the day of the membership drive, a member of the student executive committee provides a 15-30 minute overview of the organization. In addition, a membership recruitment table is set up on the College of Pharmacy campus and manned by current AzPA – SPA members throughout the week long drive for 1-2 hours per day.

In addition to word of mouth, the benefits of AzPA – SPA are also electronically disseminated to prospective members via social media and e-blasts.

Supply Expense
Nil to minimal monetary expenses are related to the “Top Ten List.” Time is required for updating content, the verbal presentation, manning the membership booth, and electronic communications.

Return on Investment
Historically, students make up about 1/3 of total AzPA membership (n ~ 1,200 total members which includes non-students and students). While it is difficult to prove a direct causal relationship between the “Top Ten List” and number of members, anecdotal evidence within AzPA supports the success of a “direct ask” in regards to volunteerism and recruitment. Minimal time and effort was required to provide this engaging program.

Outcomes/What Will Change?

Overall, the innovative and engaging recruitment method of using a “Top Ten List” to join the AzPA – SPA for student members appeared to be successful and fun. In the future, the student leaders may consider incorporating musical interludes in the form of a “drum roll” before each reason, timing the presentation to a popular song or lyrics, or creating the list based on a popular movie or television series. Also, a modified “Top Five List” may provide a simple and concise message during time constraints.

Suggestions for Other State Affiliates

When developing a new student organization, be conscientious that the process may take longer than anticipated and expansion of membership numbers may be a multi-year process. Start small, poll student members, and based on continuous quality improvement enhance the membership recruitment modalities. Using the AzPA – SPA “Top Ten List” and corresponding Promising Practice Pearls may serve as a useful foundational reference and spark an innovative recruitment method within your state affiliate.

Future Plans and Goals

AzPA is committed to growing the student membership as they are the future leaders of pharmacy.  

Contact Information

The contents of this state affiliate spotlight were written directly from the pearls shared during the State Affiliate Promising Practice Pearls held at the ASHP Summer Meeting in Denver, Colorado on June 6, 2015 presented by Mindy (Throm) Burnworth, PharmD, FASHP, FAzPA, BCPS and Past-Chair of the AzPA Health-System Academy. This spotlight was prepared and submitted by Dr. Burnworth on behalf of the AzPA – SPA leaders.

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