Recent ACP Graduate Earns Prestigious VPhA Harvey Morgan Award

OAKWOOD, VA (JULY 26, 2021)  — Recent Appalachian College of Pharmacy Graduate Bryna Marla Addair, has been selected by the Virginia Pharmacists Association (VPhA) as the 2021 recipient of the prestigious Harvey Morgan Award for Advancing Health Policy.

The award is given annually to one student selected from among nominees for the award from pharmacy schools nationwide. Selection is made by the VPhA Foundation’s Morgan Institute Advisors.

“We are very proud of Marla and her selection as the winner of the VPhA Harvey Morgan Award for Advancing Health Policy,” said ACP Dean Susan Mayhew. “During her time at ACP, Marla’s leadership qualities were evident. She was very involved in student organizations and in pharmacy advocacy. We know she will continue that advocacy as she pursues her pharmacy career in the years ahead and we are proud to have played a role in her development as a pharmacist through the education she has received at the Appalachian College of Pharmacy.”

Addair, a native of Avondale, WV, is the daughter of Jerry and Brenda Addair. She earned her bachelors degree in pre-professional biology from Concord University, prior to completing her doctor of pharmacy degree at ACP in May. She is currently completing a residency at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Beckley, WV.

“To have been selected for such an award is an honor,” Addair said. “I am so grateful to those who have played a role in leading to this recognition, especially Dr. Justice for nominating me. I hold high value in serving others and I feel as though advocacy is another way to serve.”

She added, “My time at ACP allowed me to take on many leadership roles and expand my skills as a leader on a smaller scale allowing me to become more comfortable with my own leadership development.”

The purpose of the Morgan Award, according to the VPhA is to recognize and honor a future pharmacist who demonstrates service, activity and commitment in professional policy development and advocacy for improved healthcare.

Students chosen to receive the award are recognized for having demonstrated exceptional service, activity and commitment in the area of policy development and related activity; having applied their knowledge of pharmacy and policy to provide education and information to citizens, public officials and pharmacy students/professionals; and having demonstrated the ideals of the profession and the Morgan Institute.

While at ACP, Addair served as vice president of her class, held numerous leadership positions in student organizations including the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), where she served as president; and Phi Lambda Sigma, where she served as secretary. She also served as the Kappa Psi fundraising chair and was a founding member of Carter’s Christmas Foundation. She performed more than 250 community service hours while at ACP and served as a tutor to her peers. She also served as the graduation speaker at the 2021 ACP commencement exercises, having been chosen to fill that role by her fellow classmates.

Addair was recommended for the award by Dr. Michael Justice, ACP assistant professor of pharmacy practice, experiential education director and community pharmacy residency director.

In his letter of recommendation, Justice told VPhA he had known Addair for approximately two and one-half years and as such, could “personally attest to her intelligence, fortitude, and professionalism.”

He noted she had been actively involved in several student organizations serving as president for ACCP student chapter and vice president for the Student Government Association.

“She is at the top of her class and a role model for her peers,” Justice wrote. “She is dedicated to helping patients while pushing the field of pharmacy forward.”

Justice noted Addair served a team leader for a pharmacist-led diabetes initiative serving three counties in Southwest Virginia which he said was aptly titled “the Sugar Shack.” Students provided education on diabetes and recommended insulin dosing regimens for patients attending the Remote Area Medical event for Southwest Virginia patients.

He added that Addair was involved in several legislative initiatives as a student at ACP, including meeting with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy chairman to discuss policies and legislation.

“She attended VPhA Legislative Day to promote HB1304 and SB830, HB1506 and SB1026, HB1489/1479 and SB251,” Justice wrote, adding that Addair had “helped lead a grass roots effort on campus to support these bills having classmates call and write letters to their representatives.”

Addair noted that advocating for others and the profession is important.

“In the field of pharmacy, we often find ourselves advocating for our patients and neglecting the need to advocate for our profession and colleagues,” Addair said. “If no one is talking, it does not matter how small a voice is or where it is from, it’s heard. I take great pride in being a part of situations that allow me to give back to others within the field of pharmacy and put my empathy into motion by advocating.”

The Appalachian College of Pharmacy is the only three-year Doctor of Pharmacy program in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Founded in 2003, the college accepted its first students in 2005. It is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Its mission is to cultivate a learning community committed to education, community outreach and the professional development of pharmacists. Its graduate pharmacists are now practicing throughout the United States.

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