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School of Pharmacy team places second in national business plan competition

Heather Lyons-Burney, faculty advisor, Kayla Shaw, Kayla Copeland, Aaron Hunsaker and Dylan Detlor.

A team of University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy students won the runner-up prize in a national business plan competition sponsored by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

Aaron Hunsaker, Kayla Copeland, Dylan Detlor and Kayla Shaw, all from the school’s Springfield campus, presented a plan for an innovative approach to community pharmacy at the 15th annual Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition. The contest took place on Oct. 7 at the NCPA 2018 annual convention in Boston.

Heather Lyons-Burney, clinical assistant professor, served as the team’s faculty advisor.

“I am extremely proud of this group of students and their determination to succeed on a national stage,” Lyons-Burney said.

The team used a holistic approach to health care to produce a plan that targeted high-risk patients in the community by partnering with a local health system. The initiative also sought to reduce the impact of food insecurity by partnering with the city’s community garden and food bank.

UMKC was one of 34 teams from across the country participating in the competition. After submitting a 70-page written plan, the UMKC team was selected as one of the top three at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy annual meeting in July. Those teams took part in a live competition at the NCPA convention, each giving a 20-minute presentation to a panel of judges in front of a live audience.

Winners were announced during the opening general session of the NCPA convention. For the second-place finish, the UMKC chapter received a $2,000 award and an additional $2,000 award for the School of Pharmacy in the dean’s name to promote independent community pharmacy.

“Finishing second out of  34 teams made up of close to 200 students in the country is amazing,” said Russell Melchert, dean of the UMKC School of Pharmacy. “They make us proud.”

The competition is the first of its kind in the pharmacy profession and serves to motivate entrepreneurship among student pharmacists to create a business model for buying an existing independent community pharmacy or developing a new one.

A team representing Washington State University was the first-prize winner. The second runner-up was a team from Ohio Northern University.

“In working hard to develop these plans, the teams of student pharmacists participating in the competition received invaluable experience that will increase their chance of being successful pharmacy owners,” said NCPA President David Smith. “If these well thought out business plans are any indication of the future of independent community pharmacies, the future is in good hands.”