Pharmacy department recognized

Katie Hill

Katie HillReporter

The SDSU pharmacy department has recently received two great honors for their accomplishments in the classroom and in the community.

The Gamma Kappa chapter of the Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity received the Frank H. Eby Scholarship Tray for earning the highest grade point average over one year out of the 77 other collegiate chapters in the United States and Canada.

“I think it’s a really great accomplishment,” said Kortney Slinger, a Kappa Psi Regent and a senior P2 pharmacy student. “I think people underestimate us as a pharmacy program in a South Dakota university, but winning the award shows that we are competitive.”

A national meeting is held every other year with an official ceremony for award winners. During off years, the fraternity receives recognition and a certificate along with the scholarship tray.

“The new silver tray will hang in a framed case next to the other three in the Kappa Psi fraternity house,” Slinger said. “The fraternity was recently ranked the 10th best chapter in the nation by the national office.”

Advisers submit active brothers to the national office with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. The percentage is based on fraternity membership and grading systems.

“All of our brothers were above a 3.0,” said Kappa Psi Co-Grand Deputy Eric Kutscher, associate professor of pharmacy.

SDSU’s chapter has won the Eby Scholarship Tray three previous years in 1997, 1998 and 2009.

“SDSU is the only chapter to have won the award four times,” Kutscher said.

Kappa Psi is a professional pharmacy fraternity open to all students in the pharmacy program at SDSU that volunteers and works with numerous programs in and around the Brookings area.

They participate in social activities and philanthropy projects, like local highway cleanup, health fairs, backpack programs and the Vial of Life project.

Recently, Kappa Psi has started to work with the Brookings Police Department on a “Take Back’ program sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration, where people can dispose of old, expired or unwanted prescriptions and over-the-counter items.

“The fraternity organizes approximately 95 percent of activities on their own,” Kutscher said.

The second honor for the department is for Thomas Johnson, professor of pharmacy practic, who has been elected to join the Board of Directors of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

Johnson was nominated by the South Dakota Society of Health-System Pharmacists, which he has served on various committees. He will sit on the board of directors for a three- year term beginning in June 2011.

“I was lucky enough to be elected,” Johnson said. “My position as a board member will allow me to provide my perspective and expertise on matters of conducting business of the society.”

Over 35,000 members of ASHP work mainly in hospitals and health system practice. These members try to support the goals and main focus of the organization.

“One of the primary goals of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists is helping people make the best use of medication,” Johnson said.

As one of the two new board members, Johnson will officially become a member in June. Until then, he will attend ASHP meetings in Washington, D.C., Dallas, Anaheim and Denver to learn more about the society and how it works.

Johnson received his doctorate in pharmacy at NDSU in 1997. He completed his residency at the St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck, N.D. In 2009, he received his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Sioux Falls.

As a professor and experiential program manager for the College of Pharmacy, Johnson said he finds satisfaction in “getting to see [his] students succeed and become better.”

#1.1655690:1286830584.jpg:The Gamma Kappa chapter from the pharmacy fraternity Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical earned another scholar:The Gamma Kappa chapter from the pharmacy fraternity Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical earned another scholarship tray for having an impressive GPA.:Collegian Photo by Ryan Robinson