A student in the Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SOPPS) is one of 12 students in the country to receive a national award.
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Student Leadership Award includes a plaque and a $2000 cash award from the ASHP Research and Education Foundation. It recognizes students who have demonstrated leadership ability and an interest in pharmaceutical practices.
Brian Kam, ‘18, recipient of the award and a fourth-year pharmacy student, completed his pharmacy prerequisites as an undergraduate student at BU. Kam plans to be a postgraduate year one pharmacy resident at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pennsylvania. Following residency training, he hopes to also become a pain management specialist leading an opioid stewardship program, and a mentor for pharmacy students.
Kam is an active member of the Southern Tier Society of Health-System Pharmacists, which is part of the New York State Council of Health-system Pharmacists. Kam also said he was one of 100 volunteers that tested on-campus BU students for COVID-19 each day in August 2020, testing about 1,000 students a day.
Kam wrote that receiving the award means that his accomplishments and leadership abilities have been recognized on a national scale.
“To be recognized on a national level for my leadership qualities is an incredible feat,” Kam wrote in an email. “The award reflects the culmination of my leadership experiences, [the] impact that I was able to have in the Binghamton community and, most importantly, my personal growth as an individual.”
Kam is now pursuing opioid research for his Doctor of Pharmacy degree in order to combat drug overdoses in Binghamton, working under William Eggleston, an assistant professor in the pharmacy school.
“I am currently on the research track program which is a program for [Doctor of Pharmacy] students to conduct research alongside pharmacy school faculty,” Kam wrote in an email. “My current research (under the guidance of [Eggleston]) project gathers information about strategies to increase access to naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal antidote, in our community. Last month I was able to present my findings as a platform presentation at the 2022 [American College of Medical Toxicology] Annual Scientific Meeting and Symposium.”
Eggleston, Kam’s mentor for his current research project, expressed praise for Kam and said he deserved the award for his leadership in projects.
“I started working with him in his first year of pharmacy school and have seen him exude all the qualities of a leader from day one,” Eggleston wrote in an email. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this recognition than [Kam] and I’m excited to see what he accomplishes in his career.”
Kam wrote that the award also raises awareness for SOPPS, which opened in August 2017.
“As a relatively new pharmacy school, this accomplishment pushes [BU] to new heights and hopefully inspires other pharmacy students,” Kam wrote.
Eggleston also wrote that Kam winning the award will help establish the pharmacy school as a place to both pursue career paths and inspire leadership.
“I definitely think this will help to open doors for our students as they look to get more involved as leaders in national organizations and look for career opportunities after they graduate,” Eggleston wrote in an email. “As a new school of pharmacy it takes time to build a national reputation, but students like [Kam] can really speed that process up when national pharmacy organizations like ASHP recognize their accomplishments and hard work.”
As Kam moves toward his commencement and a postgraduate year one residency, he offered advice to other undergraduate pharmacy students at BU, suggesting they become involved on campus as a way to develop leadership skills.
“This can include being an involved member in an organization, working in a pharmacy setting, serving as a tutor, volunteering, etc.,” Kam wrote. “Another important [piece of] advice would be to make sure you enjoy the ride and trust the process! Pharmacy school and undergrad go by so quickly so make sure to spend time with friends/family, explore new hobbies and take time for yourself!”