LECOM Pharmacy Students Present Business Plans

When does a pharmacy student become a radio DJ? When hosting an internet radio show to drive new business to their pharmacy. That was one of the creative ideas LECOM students came up with as a way to make an independent pharmacy stand out from the crowd. The project was one of the business models unveiled during a poster presentation event at the Erie campus on January 26th.

LECOM pharmacy students from the Class of 2012 presented their business plans to faculty members and fellow students at a recent poster presentation event.

Students from the LECOM School of Pharmacy Class of 2012 showcased their business skills and ideas in the LECOM Atrium. Second-year students in the Pharmacy Practice Management class worked together to create mock business plans as part of a class project.

Arpit Mehta’s group formulated a business plan for an independent pharmacy that uses an internet radio show to reach new customers and bring in new business. Mehta said the idea was to launch a radio show where customers could call in and talk to pharmacists about their medications and other health related concerns. In order to complete the project, Mehta’s group talked to five independent pharmacies in Erie, Pa., and several local radio stations. 

“It was a great experience because we now have an idea of what it takes to open a new pharmacy and to encourage new customers to come to the pharmacy,” Mehta said. They learned that it can be challenging for independent pharmacists to compete with the larger chains so they have to offer extra, value-added services in order to attract loyal customers.

Eighteen groups of second-year students explored a wide range of pharmacy business models. They included topics such as: opening an independent pharmacy, community service projects, and using new media to market and promote their pharmacy businesses and services. The assignment required students to think outside of their comfort zones and work as a team to come up with a plan.

This group of pharmacy students looked for ways to market an independent pharmacy by using new media.  Pictured, front row (L-R): Brooke Spino, Kelsey Laks, Lori Sokira, Megan Groshner, and Arpit Mehta. Back Row (L-R): Chirag Patel, Joseph Kapanek, and Amanda Sommer.

Associate Professor Kim Burns, R.Ph., J.D., the course coordinator, said the poster presentations were the third and final step in a three-part project. Students had to submit a written business plan, make a presentation to a panel of faculty members, and create posters illustrating their work. 

“This is an active learning experience for the students,” said Dr. Burns. “After graduation some of them might be pharmacy owners or may have to incorporate some business aspects into their practice so the pharmacists’ role is not just a clinical one,” Dr. Burns explained.

In fact, two LECOM School of Pharmacy alumni from the Class of 2005 recently opened an independent pharmacy in Edinboro, Pa. Rebecca Wise, Pharm.D., and Paul Berkebile, Pharm.D, are the owners of Lakeside Health Mart Pharmacy. They are also adjunct clinical faculty members at LECOM who mentor LECOM students for clinical rotations at the new pharmacy.   

Milanka Petrovic led a group that created a business plan called “Smart Start”. They created a mock, non-profit program that teaches antibiotic resistance education to second graders in Erie County. They made coloring books for students and pamphlets for parents and came up with a plan to involve chain pharmacies in the educational outreach.

These pharmacy students came up with a business plan for antibiotic resistance education.  Pictured (L-R): Breanna Coletta, Joshua Miller, Milanka Petrovic, Christopher Cotton, Ashley Dawson, Milos Blagojevic, Megan Cody, and Derrick Day. 

 “It helped us work together,” said Petrovic. “We all had to make certain compromises and sacrifices with each other to complete the project successfully,” Petrovic said.  

First-year pharmacy students were required to attend the poster presentation and had a chance to ask questions of the project leaders. It gave the first-year students some good ideas for next year, when they’ll have to come up with their own pharmacy business projects.

The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and LECOM School of Pharmacy offer innovative and affordable education in osteopathic medicine and pharmacy. From campuses in Erie, Pennsylvania, Greensburg, Pennsylvania and Bradenton, Florida, LECOM provides student-centered pathways to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals. Prepare yourself for medicine as your life’s profession.



January 28, 2011
  • Comment