Student Organization Highlight: SHAC

We have 16 student organizations. Student organizations allow students to perform community service and outreach, network and focus on career and professional development, and meet other pharmacy students and have fun.

The Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC) is a clinic run by pharmacy, medical, social work, public health, physical therapy, nursing, and dentistry students (under the supervision of practicing pharmacists and doctors) for under served and low income individuals. The students from the different health professions work together to diagnose, treat, and support the patients. SHAC is a great opportunity for pharmacy students to apply what they’re learning in the classroom to direct patient care.

The pharmacy students have a SHAC blog and they post about working in the clinic. Meet the SHAC interns here and read more about their experiences here.

Asheville Student Perspective: Interprofessional Team Night at ABCCM

A blog post from Stephen Canaday, Class of 2017.

As student pharmacists, we are completely aware that our profession’s job is to serve as the “Medication Experts” on the healthcare team. However, we are only one part of the US healthcare team that ensures quality and safety of the healthcare convey to our patients.  In the United States, pharmacy curriculums at schools of pharmacy tend to focus our training only within our profession, and not from the interprofessional approach.  In 2009, six national associations of school of health care professionals (medicine, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, and public health) formed the Interprofessional Education Collaborative Expert Panel to promote the importance of interprofessional education approach.


As a student pharmacist on the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy – Asheville Campus, I have the fortunate to be involved in an interprofessional education program called Interprofessional Team Night.  Interprofessional Team Night is collaboration between Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM), AB Technical Community College Nursing Program, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and UNC School of Medicine.  Interprofessional Team Night is a once a month service-learning and community engagement experience for nursing, pharmacy, and medical students in Asheville, NC.  During Team Night, each professional student comes together to form an interprofessional team that provides free medical care to our community at a local medical clinic.


As a participate of Interprofessional Team Night, I learned the importance of our profession, which is interwoven with other healthcare profession to provide the best quality of care for our patients.  During Team Nights, each professional student has specific jobs and responsibilities as a member of the team.  Nonetheless, the most critical key point that I have learned is the importance of effective communication, and developing relationships with other healthcare professionals to develop a positive medical learning environment, where the patient truly becomes our top priority.

Student Perspective: Student Organizations

A blog post from Emily George, Class of 2016.

Some of the more rewarding experiences I have had as a student pharmacist have been outside of the pharmacy school and organizations specific to pharmacy students. Working and volunteering among other professionals in varying disciplines offers a unique perspective to our place as pharmacists in the ever-changing healthcare arena. It has been validating to shadow pharmacists excelling in their niche. Specifically, when rounding at the hospital as a volunteer or just to shadow, it is obvious that pharmacy is viewed with high regard, as doses are verified, lab results are analyzed, interactions are noted and therapeutic changes are made. At times, you wonder how you will ever learn – and remember! – all of those values and interactions, but it has become a personal challenge to meet and exceed the reputation pharmacy holds at UNC.

Additionally, I have been able to take another step back from pharmacy school and the pharmacy department and develop in a role as a healthcare counselor. Specifically, I volunteer for an interdisciplinary student-run organization, SHAC-HIV. In doing so, I gain invaluable experience talking with patients about difficult and not-so-difficult subjects. Rather than thinking about blood pressure and proper dosing regimens, I am able to shift focus more on empathy and emotion, while still teaching, listening and providing a service. This dynamic is important to develop and foster to complement more clinical and textbook knowledge. Again, it provides insight into the overall impact healthcare providers can have on the general public. Figuring out how I can fit into my own role in the future and best employ my knowledge and experience excites me. I would encourage student pharmacists to find what drives them, what their end goal really is, and work to build and develop a strong foundation for whatever it may be during the years in the classroom.

Student Perspective: Volunteering with SHAC Beyond Clinic Walls

A blog post from Yue Dong, Class of 2018.

As a first year pharmacy student, I have learned so many things this year, from how to take medication history for a patient, how to take blood pressure and blood glucose, and how drug metabolism works to everything in-between. Although we always have a pretty load of course work for us, one of the things I really enjoyed this year was using these skills I have learned and applying it through volunteer clinics and events such as SHAC (Student Health Action Clinic).

One organization I really enjoyed working with was the SHAC Beyond Clinic Walls program. Through this program, I worked with a team of occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology students from UNC to assist our client Bill in any health related or social needs. Our team met up with him once a month to help with any medical or social concern he had. I really enjoyed working with my team and our client as most of our meetings turned into story times and him asking us about our lives and how school was going. Even though we were there to assist Bill, he was genuinely interested in what we had to say and he wanted to be informed of how our different disciplines worked. For instance, I spent about half an hour during one meeting to explain the role of a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner and explaining different fields of a pharmacy career.

By the end of the semester, we helped Bill with improving his social needs at his retirement community by helping set up a story telling time. Although our work with Bill was not completely medically related at times, understanding the needs of a patient to outside the scope of medication really helped me understand sympathy and improve relationship skills especially while working with my interdisciplinary team. Volunteering, through SHAC, IFC clinic, or any other organization, really helped me as a student pharmacist understand that it is our goal to help those in need and truly understand their concerns to improve their quality of life. I strongly recommend volunteering as a student pharmacist not only to implement the skills we learn in school but for the satisfaction in being able to help a patient.

Student Perspective: Expanding Life Beyond Pharmacy

A blog post from Alvin Ong, Class of 2017.

As a former UNC undergrad, I was blessed with the opportunity of being a part of something bigger than just a school. While the academics undoubtedly challenged me to my breaking point at times, UNC taught me so much more than just school work and as a result, I am a better man for it. From the moment I stepped foot on campus, the myriad of student organizations available was astounding. I was mesmerized with the students as their passion and enthusiasm really stood out. Since I was young, I never undertook leadership opportunities, instead simply focusing all my energy on school. For once, I was challenged to undertake a different responsibility all the while maintaining a high enough GPA to be considered for UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. I took my responsibilities seriously, accepting a position as Vice President of Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity and decided to coach basketball for 1st to 3rd graders for the Chapel Hill Recreation Center. Now as I look back on my time spent worrying over tests, I realize how meaningless it all is. The true measure of my growth wasn’t based on my test grades, rather I believe I have grown more than ever through my community and leadership experiences. I have learned the value of time management, organization, public speaking, working with a diverse group of people, and plenty more. These are the values that I cherish today and one that has better shaped me to the person I am today. Now that I am a PY1 in this professional program, I feel like I am better prepared than I would have been had I not stepped outside of my comfort zone and undertaken new challenges besides school. I am able to use the leadership experiences I have learned in undergrad as a stepping stone for future opportunities. Even with the increasing course load we experience as pharmacy students, I implore people to continue to get involved, not only within pharmacy school but outside of it as well. Pharmacy is, no doubt, a great career with many opportunities available, but it doesn’t mean we should limit ourselves to one field. Keep up with your hobbies, don’t let pharmacy take over your life. I coach today even though I’ve developed a few grey hairs due to pharmacy school. I use it to de-stress myself, a way to remove myself from the everyday hustle and bustle of class, meetings, and more. It is important we are able to see the bigger picture; UNC and the neighboring communities provide us with so many opportunities that it would be a shame if we didn’t take advantage of them. Use them to your advantage and only then will u maximize your time here not only at pharmacy school, but all of UNC as a whole.