Women in Pharmacy: The Global Importance of Professional Networks
Talking in front of large groups of people has become a regular part of our pharmacy curriculum. However, I was recently given the opportunity to speak in front of a group of pharmacists in which English was not their primary language. As part of my clinical APPE rotations, I chose to spend a month studying psychiatry at a well-known clinic just outside of Frankfurt. During my first week abroad, my preceptor, Dr. Martina Hahn, invited me to speak at the 10th annual European Women’s Pharmacists Meeting. This symposium brings female pharmacists together from all different European countries to share new developments for women in pharmacy. My topic of discussion for the meeting: Kappa Epsilon.
As a member of this well-respected pharmaceutical fraternity, I was honored to share the Kappa Epsilon mission with a foreign women’s pharmacist organization. Over the course of my lecture, I went into detail on the ideals of Kappa Epsilon and the success of the organization at the University of Florida Gainesville campus. Conference attendees were so impressed with the sense of family and fraternity that Kappa Epsilon at the University of Florida provides.
Organizations similar to Kappa Epsilon are unique to the Unites States and pharmacists from other countries were amazed that organizations dedicated to empowering and motivating women actually exist. I briefly discussed the history of Kappa Epsilon and how an honorable woman named Zada Cooper founded the organization in 1921. An older German pharmacist came up to me after my lecture and stated, “Women in pharmacy are still in black and white [referring to a photograph I displayed of Zada Cooper]. It sometimes feels like the women of our country are experiencing the same troubles American women did back in the 1920’s.” It was truly remarkable to learn how opportunities for women in pharmacy differ between the United States and Europe.
This wonderful event proved that a plethora of women all from different nations can all be united through pharmacy. In addition to our pharmaceutical bond, I found that I also shared another special bond with two of the conference attendees. Two of the audience members from Germany were also graduates of the University of Florida, College of Pharmacy. It was quite inspirational to view the exchange of ideas and knowledge amongst these women and I was overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment after many attendees inquired about how to start such organizations in their home countries. Kappa Epsilon helped to shape my career as a student pharmacist and it was an honor to share the importance of this women’s organization internationally.
– by Amy Lynn Safaty
PharmD Candidate c/o 2015
University of Florida
College of Pharmacy