Featured Testimonial About Creighton University
I have come to realize that my good fortune is built from the people who have gone before me. Creighton is preparing me by providing me with the highest-quality education and experiences to fully engage in my profession.
When the Covid-19 emergency started, third-year pharmacy students Andrew Trautman and Katie Sandquist were moved to put into practice the values of their Ignatian-inspired education.
Seeking support to offer hand sanitizer to those in need, Trautman and Sandquist reached out to Alekha Dash, RPh, PhD, professor and holder of the Gilbert F. Taffe, Jr. Endowed Chair.
“We wanted to be of service to our community,” Trautman said. “The need for hand sanitizer was at an all-time high, and we knew we could use our knowledge to fill this need. As a mentor, Dr. Dash’s encouragement of this project, and in class, has been inspiring.”
Since 1990, Dash has used valued-centered teaching to inspire students at Creighton University. In 2008, he was installed as the second holder of the Taffe Chair, which recognizes a prominent pharmaceutical scientist. As chair, Dash has invested funds from the endowment into the School of Pharmacy and Health Profession’s research software and equipment.
“Research is an important aspect of student learning and professional advancement,” Dash said. “The infrastructure we have built, to date, has contributed tremendously to our students’ successes.”
The Gilbert F. Taffe, Jr. Endowed Chair is the first and only endowed chair in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions. Given by the late Gilbert Taffe, Jr., a 1949 graduate of Creighton University, the gift honors the memory of Taffe’s late father, pharmacy school graduate Gilbert F. Taffe, Sr., and reflects the high regard he held for his father and Creighton.
When Taffe, Jr. died in 1998, his bequest to the University helped ensure the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions would continue to be associated with leadership in teaching, patient care and research in the health professions.
The significance of his generosity is not lost on Sandquist.
“I have come to realize that my good fortune is built from the people who have gone before me,” Sandquist said. “Creighton is preparing me by providing me with the highest quality education and experiences to fully engage in my profession. At Creighton, I have been extremely fortunate to participate in some of the most ground-breaking and grounding experiences of my life.”
To first understand the need for sanitizer, Trautman, who led the duo’s service mission, contacted partners in Creighton’s clinics, such as the CHI Campus Pharmacy, Creighton Dental Clinic, and Occupational Therapy Clinic.
“I was very pleasantly surprised when Andrew reached out and asked of our need regarding sanitizer, since we actually were in need,” Craig Kessler, PharmD, RPh, assistant professor of Pharmacy Practice and director of the Creighton campus pharmacy, said.
“That students would volunteer their time to work on this project was refreshing to me. I think it is great that Dr. Dash, with the support of the School of Pharmacy, saw the opportunity for this project and saw the need for their product – it all represents well the values of the School and Pharmacy and Health Professions.”
Based on feedback from the clinics, Trautman estimated their team should produce approximately 12 gallons of sanitizer, for which the Pharmacy Science department provided the compounding materials, PPE supplies for the volunteers, and safe lab space to work in.
“I am very grateful to pharmacy faculty and staff, especially Dr. Dash and Dan Munt (lab technician), who volunteered their time and laboratory space to help make this project possible.” Trautman said. “I hope to one day inspire pharmacy students in a similar way.”
For two months last fall, under the guidance of Dash and Munt, every Wednesday and Friday a group of 18 first- and second-year pharmacy students volunteered in two-hour shifts to compound the sanitizer.
“First year students don’t get exposed to compounding medication until their second semester of pharmacy school,” Trautman said. “Those who helped had to step out of their comfort zone and learn how to compound with the help of Dan and Dr. Dash. They, too, were vital in making this project a success.”
In her role, Sandquist coordinated volunteers and oversaw the distribution of sanitizer to the clinics. She says if there is a need and if resources are available, the project may resume this spring.
“As students, we are empowered to take action, be involved in our profession, and contribute in a meaningful way.” Sandquist said. “We are fortunate to have access to quality labs, instruction, and faculty to bring our ideas to fruition.”
During the challenges faced from Covid-19, the Taffe Chair has helped Dash maintain pharmacy’s resources and tools to support the efforts of passionate students, like Trautman and Sandquist. Dash says that he is proud of the pharmacy students for their efforts.
“Andrew’s and Katie’s endeavor is one example of how we can make an impact. I am thankful for the generosity of a visionary donors, like Mr. Taffe. Pharmacy is a highly science-based education and our facilities and infrastructure are essential in providing a quality education and training.”