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group photo from counseling competition

UH Crowns 2015 Patient Counseling Champ

P3 Pharm.D. Student Bianca Romero to Represent College at APhA-ASP Nationals After Finishing Ahead of More Than 80 Local Competitors

After advancing past 84 fellow UH College of Pharmacy students, third-year Pharm.D. student Bianca Romero will represent the college in the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) National Patient Counseling Competition at the 2015 APhA National Meeting & Exposition March 27-30 in San Diego, Calif.

Romero was crowned champion Feb. 2 at the annual banquet for the UH competition, which is organized by the UH APhA-ASP Chapter and sponsored by Kroger Pharmacy. In addition to a plaque and a gift certificate for APhA resource materials, Romero's win includes registration, airfare and accommodations to participate in the national competition.

photo of Bianca Romero and Debbie Veselka
Kroger Company's Debbie Veselka congratulates UHCOP student Bianca Romero on winning the 2014-15 UH APhA-ASP Patient Counseling Competition.

Using a standardized patient who follows a prepared script of comments and responses to the students' instructions and questions, the patient counseling competition is designed to objectively assess a students' communication, observation and clinical skills in accurately and effectively educating a patient on a new medication. Before meeting with the patient, students are provided with a patient history and drug information sheet for the medication. In timed and video-recorded counseling sessions, the student is required to explain the new medication's purpose, potential side effects, course of administration, and ensure the patient's comprehension of the information. 

This year's local event was extremely competitive, with only a one-tenth point separating the first- and second-place winners and only 6 points separating the winner and the 10th-place finalist.  

The second- through fifth-place finalists were: Amanda Fitzhugh, second; Elizabeth Sulaica, third; Erin McGregor, fourth; and Katie Bohmfalk, fifth. Rounding out the top 10, in alphabetical order, were Lidia AdamacheGifty GyebiHeather Harrison, Dylan Huff and Stacy Poindexter

"I'm so proud that UH has such a high turn-out of competitors every year, and every year I'm amazed at the level of skill displayed by not only the advanced students, but even those who are only in their first semester of the Pharm.D. program," said Debbie Veselka, R.Ph., UHCOP alumna and Clinical Care Coordinator for Kroger, which has sponsored the UHCOP event for more than 20 years.