Third-year student pharmacist and Spanish major Dylan Fox knows the importance of compassion and empathy when working with patients on their medical care. During the National Patient Counseling Competition at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) national meeting in Seattle, Wash., in March, the Denver, Pa., native was able to showcase his medication knowledge, communication skills, and his care for patients. Fox earned a top ten ranking in the competition for the second year in a row.
“It goes to show the quality of the Wilkes program and an emphasis on making a difference in patients’ lives,” Fox says. Every pharmacy school in the nation is present at the conference—Fox competed against approximately 140 other institutions.
For the first round of the competition, Fox had to counsel a patient on levothyroxine, commonly known as Synthroid. Fox learned that he was ranked in the top ten. His second round of counseling included a breast cancer patient being prescribed the nausea medication Compazine.
“The pharmacy program at Wilkes sets all of the pharmacy graduates up to be prepared patient counselors and very effective at what they do,” he explains. “That shows whether it’s residency match rates, job placement rates, or from talking to employers in general about how many positive things they have to say about Wilkes students.”
Sharing his knowledge and being a support to potential patients is top priority for Fox who plans to become a community pharmacist. He already has experience working in community settings, currently as an employee at CVS and also as a volunteer.
Fox and other student pharmacists worked with more than 100 local Boy Scouts to earn the MedWise award, which focuses on over-the-counter and prescription medication safety and helped them work towards their first aid badge as well as provide naloxone training.
As the APhA-ASP Generation Rx chair, Fox helps organize the Opioid Awareness Walk which raises money for the Wilkes-Barre Fire Department’s naloxone fund. “The main goal is to make people aware that there is an opioid epidemic,” Fox explains. “We’ve done a lot to get ourselves (here), but our main goal is to contribute positively and help be a solution to the problem, and that’s something that won’t get fixed overnight.”
In the fall semester 2019, Fox will expand his experiences to international settings.
In October, Fox and five other classmates will travel to Uganda for an advanced pharmacy practice experience course. While they are there, the students will share their clinical skills at a Ugandan pharmacy school as well as work with local hospitals and clinics to assist in medical care. Noting that pharmacies in Uganda do not need to be operated by a pharmacist, Fox explains, “This will be an eye opening (experience) for me to see.”
When Fox isn’t in the classroom working to become a doctor of pharmacy, he’s involved on campus, serving as the e-mentor coordinator for student orientation, a resident assistant, president of the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association (PPA) chapter at Wilkes as well as a member of the Board of Directors for PPA as the Student Director East. Fox is also a member of the Pharmacy Leadership Society and is the executive treasurer for Pharmacy Senate. When he isn’t running a meeting or crunching budget numbers, you can tune into Fox on 90.7 WCLH radio to hear his weekly show, Generation Rx Radio, a program he co-hosts with fellow student Harrison Eckert which focuses on educating the community on safe medication use, disposal, the role of a pharmacist and more.
With a lot on his plate, Fox acknowledges it’s through the support of his Wilkes community and friends that he can do it all. The mentoring Fox received from day one also played a significant role. “There are too many people (to acknowledge),” Fox says. “I would name every faculty and staff member.” Fox reflected on a moment he shared with Scott Stolte, Dean of Nesbitt School of Pharmacy explaining that a one-on-one conversation the two shared in Fox’s early days in the pharmacy program validated his choice to study at Wilkes.
Thinking back to his time at Wilkes, Fox shares, “If I just focused on classes, I wouldn’t have had this experience at Wilkes. My friends have also made my experience at Wilkes (what it is)… I was lucky that from the beginning we considered ourselves a family.”