NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY College of Pharmacy 14 15 Believe it or not, Riskin found inspiration from her third- grade daughter’s “Invention Convention” project, in which she was given a series of questions to ask to discover where there might be a need for an invention. From there, Riskin created a course that included lectures from business school faculty members, TED Talks, and other literature that gave methods for coming up with ideas. The students then spoke to pharmacists, patients, and physicians, asking questions and discovering needs in the market they could possibly fill. The results were astounding and beyond anything Riskin or Seamon expected. Among the projects were creations such as the “Pharmadrone” to deliver medications, the “Medbit Wristband,”—a Fitbit-like device that serves as a noninvasive medical monitoring device—and the “Sani- Sign,”—a new, sanitary method for signing for prescrip- tions that utilizes a disposable stylus for each customer. Students also came up with ideas for new pharmaceutical services, such as having pharmacists assist veterans at risk of suicide, and computer apps, such as “MyOTC,” to assist in choosing the proper over-the-counter medications. Riskin and Seamon said they were “blown away” by all of the inventions and how the seminar took on a life of its own, especially after there was some initial resistance from the students. “Our students presented absolutely brilliant ideas,” Deziel noted. “Along with superb posters, a number of the groups built mockups and prototypes, both by hand and with the 3-D printer, or designed blueprints for their products. The most exciting part for me was that our students advocated for their ideas with such great passion. It created palpable energy and excitement felt throughout the day.” “At the beginning, the students didn’t like the idea very much,” Riskin said. “I don’t blame them; it was intimidat- ing. As they went through the process, they realized it was pretty neat, and you could see they had this internal drive motivating them vs. when they are working on some idea that someone else gave them.” Once the students had their ideas, they were assigned a faculty member. The difference this year was that the faculty member was not an expert on the topic, but more of a sounding board and mentor. The faculty members helped the students conduct literature searches, find data, and, in many cases, were learning along the way with the students. Among the mentors was Shirin Madzhidova, Pharm.D., clinical assistant professor at the Palm Beach Campus. She worked with a group of five students who came up with “Vitalitrack,”—a wearable device that would use noninvasive technology to monitor blood glucose in diabetic patients. One of the students even created a fully functioning website to accompany the group’s creation. Jaime Riskin and Matthew Seamon The group won Best Poster on the Palm Beach Campus, but even Madzhidova said she was surprised that the stu- dents’ involvement with their project didn’t end with the seminar presentation. They further developed their poster and presented it at national meetings of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists (ASHP) and submitted an article to Pharmacy Times. “They wanted to get the full experience,” Madzhidova said. “Even though the technology they are presenting is still some years away, they wanted to share all the background knowledge they gained that could have an impact on pharmacy and give hope to diabetic patients.” Patricia Faría (’17), from the Puerto Rico Regional Campus, presented her group’s work at the State of Florida Health- care Innovation Pitch Competition at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Their innovation was selected as a top-15 finalist, and the judges commended Faría for her presentation and an interested investor approached her. In addition, 12 of the groups presented their seminar projects at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition in Las Vegas, Nevada, last December, with the potential to be viewed by more than 20,000 pharmacy professionals from around the globe. Seamon said he was also surprised at how far the students were willing to go with their ideas. “Something that came up that was totally unexpected is that students were look- ing into getting patents for their inventions, so we had to do some fast learning on the topic to help them,” he said. “I had hoped that in 10 years or so, maybe someone would get a patent. But we already have two or three groups that have applied for provisional patents. They all thought like business people and entrepreneurs, and a little less like pharmacists, which is where they need to be to be innovators in the field.” Capping off their projects, student groups presented their innovative ideas to a panel of judges and audience members. The panels—which were set up in multiple rooms—included business people, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and a variety of other professionals. According to Riskin, having the students present to people outside of the pharmacy industry provided another unin- tended benefit. “Many of the questions the judges asked had nothing to do with business. They wanted to know why a pharmacist would need to do these things. So the students ended up educating them about the value of a pharmacist, and they loved that,” she said. The idea was so successful that Riskin and Seamon say they are planning to keep molding and growing the concept. They hope to work with the business school to create an interprofessional, yearlong course that will also focus more on the business and financial aspects. “I even started to think differently as a part of this whole process,” Riskin said. “The students are learning that wherever you end up, you can bring in new ideas and potentially make a huge impact.” Class of 2017 students show their Shark Pride at Pharmacy Seminar Night. Pictured from left are students from the Fort Lauderdale/Davie, Puerto Rico, and Palm Beach campuses.