KU students travel the state to visit independent pharmacies

LAWRENCE — Eleven students from the KU School of Pharmacy will spend three days of their winter break traveling across central and northwest Kansas on their way to visit 17 independent pharmacies and their owners.

The annual trip is sponsored by KU–NCPA, a professional pharmacy student organization that promotes independent pharmacy as a career option for pharmacy students at KU, and each of the students, who will be on the road from Jan. 11-13, is interested in a career in independent, community pharmacy.

Group co-adviser and Associate Dean Gene Hotchkiss coordinates this annual trip along with a second trip during spring break. He said the visitation program, or road trips, as the students call them, help build relationships between pharmacy students and pharmacy owners in Kansas. The hope is that those connections will lead to transitions of ownership and a continuation of vital pharmacy care services to the people of Kansas.  

“Independent community pharmacies are a critical health care resource for rural communities,” Hotchkiss said. “In many instances, in addition to traditional prescription services, they provide a broad scope of ancillary services, including medical supplies, durable medical equipment, and respiratory support supplies, equipment and oxygen.”

KU School of Pharmacy Dean Ken Audus will accompany the group, which will make stops in Manhattan, Abilene, Ellsworth, Hoisington, La Crosse, Hays, Plainville, Stockton, Phillipsburg, Norton, Oberlin, Colby, Oakley, Scott City, Quinter and Salina.

 The KU-NCPA chapter organizes several professional development and community service projects throughout the year. The group has earned Chapter of the Year honors from the NCPA parent organization four times over the past 10 years.