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February 2018 OPA Extern Profile: Joshua Willoughby

Joshua WilloughbyJosh Willoughby


Pharmacy School: Cedarville University School of Pharmacy

Undergraduate degree/institution: Cedarville University

Rotation Month at OPA:  February 2018

How did you get interested in the profession of pharmacy?
My dad worked in the flavor industry, which has some similarities to the field of pharmacy, so he played a major role in and encouraged me to pursue a career in a science related area. I also enjoyed science classes in school and being involved in serving my community. I started working as a courtesy clerk for Kroger when I was 15, and when I turned 18, I transitioned into working as a pharmacy technician at my store. Through this job I was able to get my foot in the door and see what pharmacy was all about. At this time, I was also in the midst of my college search and visited Cedarville University, where they were initiating a new pharmacy school program. I came back for a visit on a “Pharmacy Day” where I was able to get more information on a career in pharmacy and what the new program offered. From there, I applied and have been with it ever since, spending the last 7 years at Cedarville, for both my pre-pharmacy and graduate school studies.

Why did you choose OPA as a rotation site? 
I chose to apply for an APPE rotation at OPA because I am passionate about pharmacy policy and advocacy. Over the past 4 years of pharmacy school, I have been involved in a number of leadership roles with a focus on these issues. I was the Vice President of Policy of my APhA-ASP chapter for 2 years where I led in advocating for pharmacist provider status, facilitated student legislative day involvement, and acted as the chapter delegate in the policy proposal process at MRM and Annual. I also joined the OPA Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Committee in 2016, so that I could be better informed and involved in the policy process on the state level. By doing an APPE at OPA, I wished to broaden and deepen my knowledge of pharmacy policy and advocacy, see how the association is managed, network with pharmacists in a variety of practice sites, and directly involve myself in the legislative process at the statehouse.

What was the most significant or surprising experience at OPA?
My favorite part of the rotation was working down at the Columbus Statehouse with Antonio and getting to see the ‘behind the scenes’ of how lobbying works and how policies are made that affect citizens of our state. Getting to sit in on the Health Committee and JMOC was extremely interesting. Hearing testimonies and discussion on health related bills that will affect all Ohioans was an amazing thing to be a part of. Rounding out the end of the month with the annual Student Legislative Day was the perfect way to go out. I have now been involved with five legislative days and every time I come away with something new and a renewed sense of why advocating for our profession is so important. I enjoyed getting to volunteer as one of the student guides and help my peers find their passions in speaking about the current issues affecting pharmacy and our patients. I plan on continuing to be a part of these events in the future and to keep fighting alongside OPA to make pharmacy better in our great state.

Why I think it’s important to maintain my OPA membership after graduation.
First, OPA is the voice of pharmacists in Ohio, and I want to be part of that voice. Second, it is a great platform for networking with pharmacists from across the state. Third, I want to be involved in expanding and bettering the profession of pharmacy. Advocacy is critical to this and being in the loop with OPA’s updates is the best way to stay on top of this. Fourth, OPA provides numerous education opportunities in a variety of areas that are beneficial. Lastly, membership provides opportunities to be involved in various leadership roles within the organization and to give back to the profession, as well as student pharmacists.

What other pharmacy associations/organizations do you belong to?

Reading, comic book collecting, numismatics, ultimate frisbee, racquetball, longboarding, golf, watching movies

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