Pharmacy student Brian Kam earns national leadership award
Kam selected for American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Student Leadership Award
Brian Kam is finishing up his final rotations as a Binghamton University pharmacy student, looking ahead to Commencement and a PGY1 residency at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa.
But it’s looking back at all that he has done during his time at Binghamton that has recently brought him national attention. Kam was recently selected as one of only 12 students nationwide to receive the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Student Leadership Award.
“The award represents all the hard work and my growth and development as a leader,” said Kam, who completed his pharmacy prerequisites as an undergraduate at Binghamton before beginning his PharmD program. “If you asked me my first year as an undergraduate where I saw myself in seven years, I don’t think I would have been a recipient of this award.
“Binghamton University has been a big factor in terms of my development as a leader,” he added. “My initial exposure in becoming a leader was during undergrad, when I started the Pre Pharmacy Association. That was a huge stepping stone for me and it gave me the confidence to take on other leadership roles.”
Pandemic notwithstanding, Kam accomplished a great deal at Binghamton.
Actively involved in the Southern Tier Society of Health-System Pharmacists, which is a chapter of the New York State Council of Health-System Pharmacists, Kam received the Southern Tier chapter’s scholarship for his dedication, service and contributions to health-system pharmacy.
“Brian surpassed my expectations as he pushed the organization to new heights,” wrote Wesley Kufel, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice and co-advisor to the student chapter of the organization; and William Eggleston, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, in their letter or recommendation for Kam to receive the award.
“Brian organized the first virtual residency panel and clinical skills competition, led a webinar with Miss America, raised money toward the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and launched the Communications Committee to increase student engagement during the pandemic,” they wrote.
“Brian is proactive and required very little oversight during his presidency,” they added, noting that he always came prepared to executive board meetings with an agenda and a plan to execute his ideas. “Brian would also reach out of his comfort zone to seek new, exciting activities and initiatives for the Student Society of Health-System Pharmacy.”
The pandemic required thinking outside of the box in more ways than one just to keep students engaged Kam said, and he relied heavily on increasing social media posts. It must have worked, because, under his leadership, the student chapter won Organization of the Year from the Division of Student Affairs.
Kam was also inducted into Phi Lambda Sigma, the national pharmacy leadership society, in May 2020, and joined its national communications committee. “I always enjoyed making fliers so I applied and was able to be part of drafting branding guidelines,” he said. “Looking back, I took from that experience a lot of the practices and methods that came from being part of that committee.”
Kam’s personal essay in applying for the award showcased his leadership skills and looked to the future.
“I wrote about becoming a preceptor and that I would create an institutional-specific Pharmacy Advancement Initiative (PAI) committee and be part of advocacy, able to organize legislative meetings, and also be involved with the state-affiliated chapter,” he said. “Advocacy is a vital effort to instill change in the profession, and it is essential for pharmacy students to learn the importance of advocacy early on in their careers.”
As he nears the end of his final P4 rotation and prepares for his residency, what will come next? Perhaps focusing on pain management, he said, but he’s keeping his options open.
“One of the biggest pieces of advice I got from one of my preceptors was to be open minded because when you’re a pharmacy student on P4 rotations you only see a limited number of things,” Kam said. “When you go into a residency you’ll get to see more things. For example, I never had an infectious disease rotation before, so, as an example, maybe I’ll find myself doing infectious diseases. You never know. But one of my primary interests is pain management.”
And don’t be surprised to see him back in Binghamton at least a time or two during his residency at Guthrie!