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Joann Phan
Student Pharmacist
University of Hawaii, Hilo- The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy
Hilo, HI

As one of the fifteen students who received a travel grant from the College of Psychiatric & Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) Foundation, which included funding for registration fees and part of the travel costs for my attendance at the 2015 Annual Meeting, I am thankful for the opportunity I was given and for all of the valuable experiences CPNP provided to me.

Given my particular interest in psychiatric pharmacy, I first learned about CPNP by browsing the web. I was ecstatic this organization existed and I was eager to learn about psychiatric and neurologic pharmacy. The CPNP website provides useful information to student pharmacists, residents and practitioners and it was the place where I learned about the CPNP Foundation and the Student Travel Grant. Going to school in Hawaii where less than a handful of psychiatric pharmacists practice in the state, I yearned to learn more about this field. Having the grant and attending this conference offered me an invaluable close-up look at the role of the psychiatric pharmacist. It also provided me with the opportunity to meet other students, pharmacists, and health care professionals and to expand my network.

After traveling a long way across the nation, I arrived at this meeting with the hope to learn as much as I could and CPNP provided me every possible way to learn. During the student-programming track, I had an opportunity to listen to Dr. Jake Nichol’s personal story on substance use disorders in health care professionals. His story inspired me and made me think of the road I want to take as a future pharmacist. The pharmacy practice specialty showcase and the specialty roundtable discussion provided unique access to many practice settings. Other student pharmacists and I had a chance to learn and ask questions of each of the experts in these specialties. From the student-programing track, I learned that even though psychiatric and neurologic pharmacists are specialized pharmacists, their roles are not limited and they can be involved in many areas.  This program provided me endless options as to which area within psychiatric pharmacy I want to pursue in the future.

The sessions at the meeting were informative and offered valuable insights. These sessions were a good place for me to apply what I learned from school and to enhance my knowledge. One of my favorite topics was the social stigma of psychiatric disorders. In his talk, Dr. Michael Friedman discussed the occurrence of stigma amongst health care professionals and how it impacts patient care. Mental illness stigma among this group is common and can result in a negative impact on patient care. As a student pharmacist, it was critical for me to learn about this topic early on so I can see the effect of personal biases on patients. I hope I can make a strong impact on my patients by learning how to manage and prevent such stigma.

One of my favorite activities at the CPNP conference was meeting with my CPNP mentor. All of the students who attended had an opportunity to meet with a mentor to ask questions and receive advice. This was an excellent opportunity for me to get firsthand information about the field. At our meeting, Dr. Lisa Goldstone not only provided information about the role of psychiatric pharmacists in a clinical setting but also discussed her important role in the academic setting. Additionally, Dr. Goldstone provided her insight into the residency program application process. Through her advice, I now have a better understanding on what I should do as a student pharmacist in order to move towards my goal.

As a CPNP student member and a travel grant recipient, I am grateful for the experience I had at the meeting. The 2015 CPNP Annual Meeting was not only a good place for me to have a close-up look at psychiatric and neurologic pharmacy but also allowed me to meet with many successful professionals within the field from whom I can learn and gain knowledge on topics related to psychiatric and neurologic pharmacy.

Twenty student grant opportunities are available for CPNP 2016 to be held April 17-20 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Application submissions are being accepted now through January 22, 2016.

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