University of Charleston School of Pharmacy (UCSOP) fourth-year student pharmacist, Rachel Peaytt, was selected as a top 2019 United States Public Health Services (USPHS) Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Award recipient. This prestigious award recognizes pharmacy students who have made significant contributions to public health by promoting wellness and healthy communities.
To earn the award, Peaytt’s nomination was evaluated on her contributions towards voluntary health related services. She was joined by 74 student pharmacists selected nationwide to receive this award and earned a place in the top 10. Peaytt received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Charleston in May 2019.
“Being chosen as a top recipient of this national award that recognizes student pharmacists’ efforts in advancing public health is a huge privilege and honor,” Peaytt said. “I am extremely fortunate to have had many opportunities, resources and support from the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy that have allowed me to be a part of a wide variety of outreach projects and impact so many people in our community. As a future pharmacist, I know I will continue to dedicate my career to serving the public and helping those in need."
Peaytt found her passion in helping patients suffering from substance abuse disorders while working with the Harm Reduction Clinic offered through the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. Her role as a student pharmacist was to educate patients on the importance of testing and services offered by the program, provide clean supplies, collect and dispose of used syringes, and interview patients to collect data. She was a friendly face to new and returning patients and was able to refer many patients to additional services at the clinic, including testing, recovery, wound checks and more. Her willingness to volunteer, along with her fellow students, allowed the Harm Reduction Clinic to expand services and extend the hours and days when it could be open. UCSOP faculty member Dr. Lindsay Acree nominated Peaytt for the award, noting how her efforts affected thousands of patients and provided a connection to healthcare for many.
In addition to demonstrating her dedication to service, Peaytt was a strong student. She was awarded the Dean’s list recognition every semester while in pharmacy school and served as American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists President-elect and President. She used her leadership role to coordinate a clothing and supply drive to benefit patients at the Harm Reduction Clinic and collected containers which could be used for used needles. In addition, Peaytt assisted UCSOP with its expansion of the Generation Rx Program, allowing for all pharmacy students to become trained to provide the program’s curriculum to nearly 50 third grade classrooms in Kanawha County. The program is continuing to expand into Putnam County with the help of APhA-ASP and the students trained during their first year of the pharmacy school. Without Peaytt’s involvement and encouraging the involvement of APhA-ASP, this expansion may not have been possible.
“Rachel has proven herself a leader both academically and outside of the classroom,” said Dr. Michelle Easton, UCSOP dean. “Her commitment to helping those who suffer from substance abuse disorders find the much-needed services and support on their journey to recovery is admirable and praise-worthy. This honor is well-earned, and we could not be prouder of Rachel.”
Peaytt was recognized for her accomplishment at the UCSOP Class of 2019 Oath Ceremony on Friday, May 3, 2019.
The Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy award is issued by the Pharmacist Professional Advisory Committee of the USPHS – a team of highly-qualified healthcare professionals charged with public health leadership and clinical service within the federal government and are driven by a passion to serve the underserved. To view the full list of 2019 recipients, visit https://dcp.psc.gov/OSG/pharmacy/student_awards.aspx.