Biennial social and administrative pharmacy event connects Midwest colleagues and provides graduate students an opportunity to present their work and gather feedback.
Tuesday, June 25, 2024

It’s often said that the pharmacy is a small world, and social and administrative pharmacy is no different. That’s why the biennial Midwest Social and Administrative Pharmacy (MSAP) Conference is a welcomed occasion for those teaching, studying, and researching to present, learn, and gather for fellowship. June 17-19, the UI College of Pharmacy was host for the third time and the first in its state-of-the-art building.

The MSAP Conference began in 1985 when administrative pharmacy was coming together and the recognition that Midwest pharmacy schools played a crucial role in shaping and fostering the early development of the discipline. This field of study examines the organization and delivery of health care services, the effectiveness of treatments, and the impact of health care policies. 

Talented Team
Seven members of the College’s Health Services Research Division (HSR), including three faculty, two graduate students, and administrative services duo Angie Tiedt and Emory Blair, planned the 20th event. 

Bill Doucette and Matt Witry MSAP Conference 2024 at UI COP
William Doucette and Matthew Witry

"We were pleased to take our turn hosting the conference and showcasing our building,” said Veale Professor William Doucette, head of HSR.

Planning committee members Matthew Witry, associate professor, and HSR graduate student Nikita Nikita wrote an application that secured an Eli Lilly & Company Educational Grant covering food and refreshments. Additional funding came from other UI sources. Nikita said that planning the conference was a formative experience. 

“It helped build a sense of teamwork and recognition of each other’s strengths. The relationships I built while planning the conference are now sources of encouragement, inspiration, and support,” she said. “The ability to rely on one another to get things done due to the trust that we had developed helped make the entire process smooth and more enjoyable.”

Fellow graduate student Wesam Ismail also stated his involvement was valuable. “I learned how to think about every single detail and that teamwork and spirit are big motivators for any work to be done,” he said.

Randy McDonough presenting as keynote speaker at MSAP Conference 2024
Randy McDonough

Eighty-five faculty and students from nine universities attended and heard keynote addresses from Randy McDonough, ’87, BSPh, ’97 MS, ’00 PharmD, owner and chief executive officer of Towncrest Pharmacy; and Nick Street, UI Tippie Children professor in Business Analytics and associate dean for Research and PhD Programs. 

“The objective is to provide graduate students with a quality opportunity to present their research in a low-risk setting and receive advice on their work,” said Doucette.

Witry added the smaller conference has the advantage of student focus in that all presentations are podium versus posters, allowing for more engagement. 

“It was an intimate setting and safe space for sharing ideas and getting constructive feedback,” said Witry. “We had categories for works in progress and ideas, which let students at different years in their programs get comments, whereas national meetings are more selective in their presentations and expect completed work.”

Wesam Ismail with his Audience Choice Award certificate from the 2024 MSAP Conference.
HSR graduate student Wesam Ismail with his Audience Choice Award certificate.

Intertwined Colleagues
Among the 40 presentations were six from UI College of Pharmacy graduate students. Ismail won an Audience Choice Award for his project “Risk of infections with induction therapy among pediatric kidney transplant patients: A comparative safety study.” He said from the participant perspective, the conference was positive.

“Social interaction, building friendships with future colleagues, meeting old friends and new people, and hearing different ideas and ways of thinking were rewarding,” he said. 

Nikita added she found the environment stimulating. “The exchange of ideas and perspectives with students from other schools was invigorating,” she said. “The conversations helped provide a fresh outlook on various research topics and helped broaden my understanding of the field.”

Mary Schroeder-UI COP; Corey Lester-Michigan; Olayinka Olayinka Shiyanbola-Wisconsin Federally Funded Faculty Panelists
Mary Schroeder-Iowa, Corey Lester-Michigan, and Olayinka Shiyanbola, '09 PhD-Wisconsin were Federally Funded Faculty panelists.

One student who received an award was shocked and grateful. “I was prepared to receive feedback from faculties and fellow PhD students to refine my project, but not an award,” they said. “This is an encouragement that is much needed for my PhD journey.”

Another programming highlight was a panel of federally funded faculty that featured Associate Professor Mary Schroeder, conference committee member and director of the College’s HSR Graduate Program, and instructors from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Michigan. The discussion comprised advice and experiences so students might one day apply for their own federal grants.   

"The conference allows faculty to connect on project ideas and discuss concerns and successes at their institutions,” said Witry. “Our programs are historically intertwined as many faculty were trained in one program and now teach at another. Everyone is invested in the success of their fellow programs and students.”