Pharmacy is Right for Me Student Innovation Challenge Winners Announced

  Pharmacy is Right for Me Student Innovation Challenge Winners Announced

  *Contest engaged high school students across the United States to develop
    solutions to today’s pressing pharmacy and health care challenges using
    science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills
  *Grand prize winners will attend a reception at the American Pharmacists
    Association headquarters in Washington, D.C., to meet with industry
  *Pharmacy is Right for Me is a national education campaign by OptumRx,
    American Pharmacists Association and American Association of Colleges of

Business Wire

WASHINGTON -- April 1, 2013

OptumRx, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and the American
Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) today announced the winners of the
inaugural Pharmacy is Right for Me high school Innovation Challenge.

The contest provided an opportunity for students in grades 9-12 to practice
their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills while developing
inspired solutions for issues currently facing the pharmacy field.

Fourteen teams comprising more than 60 students entered the pilot Innovation
Challenge, which tasked students in select cities across the country to come
up with ideas that could lead to better health outcomes for Americans. The
grand prize winners – three seniors from Seaman High School in Topeka, Kan. –
were recognized for their approach to addressing the issue of non-adherence to
medications through a rebate plan monitored by equipping medications with a
micro-sensor and camera. The idea builds upon existing medical technologies
that are currently in experimental stages. The students will receive an
all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., that includes a special reception
at APhA headquarters with professional pharmacists and STEM leaders.

Throughout the United States, pharmacists are playing an increasingly
important role in working alongside other health care providers to help people
better manage their health conditions. At the same time, the pharmacy field is
experiencing a host of critical challenges, including medication
non-adherence, inadequate access to pharmaceutical services in rural America,
and many more.

“We created the Pharmacy is Right for Me Innovation Challenge to give
high-school students a true glimpse into the broad opportunities that pharmacy
and other STEM fields can offer. We also want to tap the imaginative potential
of these young students,” said John Jones, R.Ph., J.D., Senior Vice President,
Professional Practice and Pharmacy Policy, OptumRx and Pharmacy is Right for
Me Advisory Board Chair. “Our goal is to reach students – particularly young
people from underserved and underrepresented communities – early in their
education to engage the next generation of STEM and pharmacy leaders.”

“Seaman High School is pleased to participate in the inaugural 'Pharmacy is
Right for Me' Innovation Challenge,” said Ron Vinduska, Principal of Seaman
High School in Topeka. “High school is an important time for students to
explore skilled, creative fields such as pharmacy, gain valuable career
knowledge, and connect with professionals as they prepare for future careers.”

The second- and third-place teams are from Dunbar High School in Ft. Myers,
Fla., and another team of seniors from Seaman High School, respectively. These
teams’ submissions demonstrated a strong balance of ingenuity and practical
application. Each student in the top three finalist teams will receive an iPad

Entries were reviewed and scored by an expert judging panel on the basis of
creativity, technical practicality and overall presentation. Judges included
Caroline Atwood, Pharm.D, Clinical Account Executive, OptumRx; Steve Bartlett,
M.S., science educator and National Science Foundation (NSF) Einstein Fellow;
and entrepreneur Colin Touhey, CEO, Pvilion.

“The judges were very impressed by the inventive solutions developed by the
student teams in response to real-world issues facing today’s pharmacists,”
said Bartlett. “We were especially impressed by the top three teams, which
identified thoughtful approaches to addressing STEM-related challenges.”

Pharmacy is Right for Me – Introducing Today’s Students to Careers in Science,
Technology, Engineering and Math

Statistics show that there is a great need for increasing STEM education
throughout the United States. It is projected that more than 1.2 million
STEM-related jobs will be unfilled in the U.S. by 2018. In the first-ever
“State of STEM” address delivered in February, John P. Holdren, Assistant to
the President for Science and Technology, stressed the critical importance of
higher levels of STEM education for students.

Launched in October 2011, Pharmacy is Right for Me is a national educational
campaign designed to provide middle and high school students, their families
and educators with information and resources about the exciting and diverse
career opportunities available in pharmacy and STEM fields.

Pharmacy is Right for Me is a collaborative effort by OptumRx, a leading
pharmacy benefits management organization and an Optum company; APhA, the
national society representing pharmacists in all settings; and the American
Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. The campaign and website content are
guided by an Advisory Board of pharmacy leaders and experts from academia and
the health care industry.

OptumRx provided the funding for the development and ongoing implementation of
the program as part of its STEM and social responsibility commitment, which
includes participation in Change the Equation (CTEq), a nonprofit CEO-led
initiative. OptumRx is one of 110 CTEq member companies committed to
transforming STEM learning in the United States.

For more information about Pharmacy is Right for Me or the Innovation
Challenge, contact, or visit the program website, or Twitter and Facebook pages for the most
recent program news and updates.

About the American Pharmacists Association
The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American
Pharmaceutical Association, is a 501 (c)(6) organization, representing more
than 62,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student
pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others interested in advancing the
profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use
and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of
pharmacists in the United States. For more information, please visit

About the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
Founded in 1900, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy is the
national organization representing the interests of pharmacy education. AACP
comprises 129 accredited colleges and schools of pharmacy, including more than
6,500 faculties, approximately 60,000 students enrolled in professional
programs and 5,100 individuals pursuing graduate study. To learn more about
AACP, visit

About OptumRx
OptumRx is part of Optum, a leading information and technology-enabled health
services company dedicated to making the health system work better for
everyone. OptumRx is an innovative pharmacy benefit management organization
managing the prescription drug benefits of commercial, Medicare and other
governmental health plans, as well as those of employers and unions through a
national network of 64,000 community pharmacies and state-of-the-art mail
service pharmacies in California and Kansas, both of which have earned the
prestigious Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites™ (VIPPS®) accreditation
by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy®. Visit or
more information.

About Optum
Optum is a leading information and technology-enabled health services business
dedicated to making the health system work better for everyone. Optum is
comprised of three companies – OptumHealth, OptumInsight and OptumRx –
representing more than 30,000 employees worldwide who collaborate to deliver
intelligent solutions that modernize the health system, improve overall
population health and support Sustainable Health Communities. Optum serves the
broad health care marketplace, including care providers, plan sponsors,
government agencies, life sciences companies and consumers.

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David Himmel, 949-988-6000
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