Chris Mendoza Wins First Place in Patient Counseling Competition

The APhA/ASP competition tests students’ competency of different drugs.

February 15, 2015
Chris Mendoza

Nevada-native Chris Mendoza won first place in Touro College of Pharmacy (TCOP)’s Patient Counseling Competition  hosted by the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP).

As part of the Patient Counseling Competition, student contestants are randomly assigned different medications by two judges. They have only five minutes to perform research, and are tested on how accurately and clearly they can provide information on the drug to a mock “patient,” giving all pertinent information in layman terms while using proper counseling techniques.

Mendoza was assigned HIV-treatment and prevention medication Truvada.

“I first assessed the patient’s knowledge of the medication and regimen,” said Mendoza. Since Truvada is an HIV medication, I stressed the importance of taking the medication every single day, and suggested the patient set an alarm on his phone to remind him daily. I then went over the most significant side effects, like nausea or vomiting, abnormal dreams, and headaches. I also stated that if the patient notices his eyes or skin turning yellow, he needs to stop the medication and call the doctor immediately, because those are signs of liver damage. I ended the counseling session by encouraging the patient to give me a call if any questions arise, because we really want to work as a team with the patient and doctor to enhance patient outcomes.” 

Judges were faculty members Dr. Maureen Sullivan (Chair and Associate Professor, Pharmacy Practice Department) and Dr. Dipan Ray (Director of Practice Experience, Department of Pharmacy and Health Outcomes).

The competition’s mock patient was Pharmacy Practice Administrative Assistant Mr. Jonathan Encarnacion.

The Pharm.D. candidate, who will be graduating in the Class of 2016, majored in community health sciences and minored in organic chemistry at the University of Nevada. He has volunteered as a pharmacy intern at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, at Columbia University Medical Center, and at several Wal-Mart pharmacies in his hometown.  At TCOP he holds several leadership positions, including those in student organizations like Phi Lambda Sigma and the Student Societies of Health-System Pharmacy.

“When I heard I was awarded first place, I was overwhelmed with joy. Just the thought of being able to represent Touro College of Pharmacy on a national level fills me with much gratitude,” said Mendoza.

TouroCOP will be sending Mendoza to represent the school at APhA's Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego in late March to compete in the National Patient Counseling Competition. The top ten finalists and top four winners in the national competition will be recognized during the APhA-ASP Awards Ceremony, and will receive prizes compliments of APhA-ASP.

“I have my eyes set on the national competition. I’m ready to bring home first place—and the honor and glory associated with it—to Touro College of Pharmacy,” said Mendoza.