Two WSU Applebaum students win Oakland County Pharmacists Association scholarships

OCPA awards
Ashley Blanchette (left) and Najifa Choudhury

Each fall, the Oakland County Pharmacists Association recognizes one to two student pharmacists who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and pharmacy organization involvement. This year, the organization honored two students from the Wayne State University Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences: Najifa Choudhury (P4) and Ashley Blanchette (P3). Each student was awarded a $1,000 scholarship. The scholarships were presented Oct. 18, 2018, during the association's membership social event at Bonefish Grill in Troy, Mich. 

Choudhury is a member of Lambda Kappa Sigma, the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP), the Michigan Pharmacists Association, and Phi Lambda Sigma. In addition to holding leadership roles in these organizations, she has interned at Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn, and has accumulated a wide range of accomplishments and experience in fundraising, advocacy at Capital Day, public health events such as flu immunizations and diabetes care, and more. 

“Najifa is a change agent and comfortable with leadership,” Professor Mary Beth O'Connell wrote in Choudhury’s recommendation. ”She has a gift of positive energy that empowers herself and encourages others to do their best as well or join her with improving practice and achieving organizational goals. She is a quick learner, inquisitive, and has a commitment to excellence.” 

Blanchette is a research scholar in the Translational Neuropsychopharmacology Lab (TNP2), co-director of the Student Pharmacists Inclusion Network, co-founder and past president of the Student Pharmacists Diversity Council, co-chair of Students Collaborating on Policy and Advocacy committee of the APhA-ASP, and a member of Phi Lambda Sigma. She is a recipient of the Joseph and Linda Ringer Endowed Scholarship.

Under her leadership, the TNP2 team developed and is about to implement an observational study to characterize why patients choose to use medical marijuana and whether their use affects adherence to prescribed treatments. Blanchette sought out a funding mechanism, wrote the grant, and applied as principal investigator. 

In her recommendation of Blanchette, Assistant Professor Christine Rabinak wrote, “Ashley shows incredible promise as an independent, innovative and productive clinical researcher and pharmacist. She has consistently demonstrated herself to be a creative, careful thinker who is exceptionally smart and passionate about pharmacy practice.”

Blanchette was also chosen as the Southeastern Michigan Society of Health-System Pharmacists (SMSHP) Student Research Award winner for her contributions to pharmacy research. She was recognized at the SMSHP Banquet on Wednesday, Nov. 14. 

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