Student News

ASHP Honors Laine

UHCOP Pharm.D. Candidate Melanie Laine Among ASHP's 2013-14 Student Leadership Award Recipients 

UHCOP Pharm.D. candidate Melanie Laine is among only a dozen students across the nation to be honored with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Student Leadership Award for 2013-14.

Laine, who graduates from the college May 9, is looking forward to beginning the next stage of her career path: a PGY1 pharmacy practice residency at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Her long-term dream is to specialize in critical care pharmacy, which is the chosen field of her father, UHCOP alumnus Gregory Laine, M.S. ('87), R.Ph., clinical pharmacy coordinator and program director of the PGY2 Residency in Critical Care at Baylor St. Luke's Health System in Houston's Texas Medical Center.

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"From the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to work in health care but it wasn't sure what I wanted until I went on rounds with my father one day," Laine said. "I saw how much impact he made for his patients, from adjusting dosages and making interventions. Pharmacists have such a unique role compared to many other health professions because we treat the patient as a whole instead of treating a single organ system."

Her upbeat, "bubbly" personality may not seem like a fit for the intensive care unit, but Laine says having a positive attitude seems to help bridge the natural tension with her patients and family members who are trying to process a flood of information about their treatment plan and medications.

"When you're working with patients who have multiple organ dysfunctions, there are so many things to consider with the patient's drug therapy," Laine said. "There's something about working in the ICU that drives me; you have to prioritize, do more thinking on your feet, and you can see the impact of interventions more quickly in the ICU setting."   

Although she earned her bachelor's degree in biology from Texas A&M University, Laine said her first choice for her pharmacy education was UH because of its deep roots in the Texas Medical Center, the abundant experiential opportunities, interprofessional training and other curricular developments she described as "dynamic."

Laine’s activities at UH included serving on the TSHP Student Section Executive Committee and as an officer within the UH SSHP Chapter and the Phi Lambda Sigma Pharmacy Leadership Society and Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity.

"She was able to pick up many pharmacotherapy recommendations on Day 1 of the rotation," said Clinical Assistant Professor and SSHP advisor Matthew Wanat, Pharm.D., BCPS, who precepted Laine during her Critical Care APPE. "Melanie functioned at the level I would expect out of my residents who were halfway through their residency."

Not only was Wanat impressed by her knowledge and clinical skills, but also her self-less commitment to mentoring a fellow student on the same rotation and her interaction with patients and other members of the healthcare team. Wanat recalled when a patient returned to the hospital to thank his healthcare team: Although the patient was sincerely grateful to the entire team, he was unable to remember many of those who took care of him during his stay in the ICU.  

"Melanie came out of our team room and the patient's eyes lit up and he immediately went over and gave Melanie a big hug," Wanat said. "This is a moment I will never forget as a preceptor."

She also has represented UHCOP at state and national competitions, including consecutive trips to the National Clinical Skills Competition at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting the past two years; the National Patient Counseling Competition at the APhA Annual Meeting last year; and the Texas Clinical Skills Competition at the TSHP Annual Seminar all four years. At the latter event, Laine and teammate Amy Lehnert brought home the title this year in the P4 division.  

"I feel that her organizational abilities, strong mind for clinical reasoning, passion for the this field and her collaborative spirit have made her a leader amongst her peers; it is only a matter of time before she becomes a leader within our profession," said Assistant Dean for Student & Professional Affairs Paige Pitman, Pharm.D., MBA, R.Ph., in nominating Laine for the national award. 

Administered by the ASHP Pharmacy Student Forum, the award recognizes students with an interest in pharmacy practice in health systems who have demonstrated leadership ability. Each recipient receives a plaque, an ASHP drug information reference library, and a $2,000 cash award provided by the ASHP Research and Education Foundation through the Walter Jones Memorial Pharmacy Student Financial Aid Fund.