Pharmacy Student a Strong Advocate for Profession
Stacy-Ann Wright won’t earn her pharmacy license for at least another year, but the Wegmans School of Pharmacy student is already one of the profession’s biggest advocates. Seeing advocacy as important to the field itself, and a key responsibility for students, Wright began researching ways to be an active participant in broadening the scope of the profession.
It is that passion for the role and responsibilities of pharmacists that brought Wright to Washington, D.C. for the annual Rx Impact Day on Capitol Hill in March. Organized by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Rx Impact Day gathered nearly 400 advocates from across the United States to discuss a number of pharmacy-related topics with members of Congress.
Wright said the purpose of the day was to help train pharmacy students to be vocal advocates for legislation, including a new bill designed to create a pathway for pharmacists to have care delivered to underserved populations be covered by Medicare Part B.
“I grew up in an underserved community, and as a technician and pharmacy intern, I realized that there is a direct association between access to care and patient overall health,” she explained. “My experience and knowledge became the driving force of my motivation to ask for support for the provider status bill.”
Wright noted that for many individuals covered by Medicare, pharmacists located in community settings, like drug stores, might be their only avenue to health care.
“I am a true believer that health care coverage is a major determinant in the progress of one’s health. Within our society, many patients are left with making decisions between paying for medication or food; both of which are important for survival,” she said. “My duty as a pharmacist is to ensure better health but medications and health coverage are both essential components.”
Ensuring pharmacists have a broader role in health care is chief among Wright’s goal, and upon graduation next year, she hopes to pursue a master’s degree in public health and a residency in managed care pharmacy. She envisions programs that provide adequate health coverage for all patients and others that are focused on giving financial assistance for high cost medications. She views experiences like Rx Impact Day as a foundation to her professional goals.
“Advocacy is important to the pharmacy field because it provides an opportunity for advancement and changes,” she said.