New Generation Rx scholarship announced at 15-year celebration, honors Nicole Kwiek

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January 9, 2023

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A new scholarship was established to honor the legacy, leadership and outreach efforts of Nicole C. Kwiek, PhD, during her tenure as director of Generation Rx.

Dr. Kwiek, associate dean for undergraduate studies and clinical professor of pharmacy education and innovation at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, co-founded the organization with Ken Hale, RPh, PhD, former professor of pharmacy practice, to promote safe medication use.

The Nicole C. Kwiek Scholarship for Health Sciences Outreach and Education will be awarded annually by Generation Rx to students with a passion for and commitment to providing meaningful community outreach efforts to promote health sciences education and/or medication safety.

The scholarship was announced during Generation Rx’s 15-year celebration, where Dr. Kwiek formally stepped down as director.

“It has been a sheer pleasure to have led this wonderful Generation Rx project for the past 15 years,” Dr. Kwiek said. “I commonly joke that we have collectively raised a teenager. As proud parents figuring out how to succeed in this new space, [Ken and I] watched this little project grow and evolve into spaces beyond our wildest dreams.”

The initiative started in 2007 when Drs. Kwiek and Hale collectively identified a need for building teaching tools to address the origins of a troubling opioid epidemic. Under Dr. Kwiek’s leadership, Generation Rx accomplished many milestones in educating youth, college students, adults and the elderly about prescription drug safety.

Photo of Dr. Ken Hale
Dr. Ken Hale speaking at the 15-year celebration

Since its beginning, Generation Rx has built more than 70 free, evidence-informed resources that support a range of community needs. The resources have been used in all 50 states and over 120 colleges of pharmacy nationwide. More than 3 million people have been reached with Generation Rx resources and services.

According to surveys of participants in the program, on average:

  • 87% of teens reported they are more knowledgeable about the dangers of misusing prescription medications
  • 91% of teens reported understanding that using someone else’s prescriptions may be harmful to their health
  • 75% of teens indicated they will talk with their family members about safe medication storage and disposal options
  • intentions of college students to safely store medications increased from 16% to 84%
  • intentions of college students to safely dispose of medication increased from 60% to 95%
  • only 79% of older adults reported keeping an updated and complete record of prescription and non-prescription medication in a pre-participant survey
    • after receiving Generation Rx education, this number jumped to 97%
  • only 49% of older adults reported asking their pharmacist about possible drug interactions in a pre-survey
    • after receiving Generation Rx education, this number jumped to 92%

“[This] kind of success most certainly takes a village and we were so fortunate to be surrounded by the most knowledgeable and supportive network,” Dr. Kwiek said.

Neighboring external partners and fellow Pharmacy Buckeyes at the 15-year celebration, Dr. Kwiek thanked Dean Henry Mann, former Dean Robert Brueggemeier, founding sponsors at the Cardinal Health Foundation, dedicated pharmacy colleagues, the tens of thousands of student pharmacists around the country who have invested time and effort into teaching medication safety, and Generation Rx faculty and staff members.

“The ultimate glue of Generation Rx is the small-but-mighty Generation Rx core team,” Dr. Kwiek said. “I say without any exaggeration that these College of Pharmacy faculty and staff represent the most talented, collegial and downright wonderful set of individuals whom I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Their creative brilliance and unending energy toward this work is always a motivating bright light for me.” 

Photo of Brittany Sandidge
Brittany Sandidge, new program director of Generation Rx, speaking at the 15-year celebration

Among the core team is: 

  • Brittany Sandidge, MBA, Generation Rx program director
  • Molly Downing, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacy education and innovation
  • Katie Summers, PhD, senior lecturer of pharmacy education and innovation
  • Kelsey Schmuhl, PharmD, assistant professor – clinical of pharmacy practice and science
  • Cynthia Canan, PhD, lecturer of pharmacy education and innovation
  • Ruth Emptage, PharmD, BCGP, assistant professor of pharmacy education and innovation
  • Emily Keeler, MA, wellness and community builder
  • Cynthia Sloan, MBA, prevention coordinator at CFAES

“So here I am as that parent, stepping out of the way so that this wonderful teenager of a project can plan an exciting course for the future,” Dr. Kwiek said. “There is much work to be done, but I am so very thrilled to watch the work unfold. Thank you, Generation Rx, for an unbelievable professional experience. You are in the best of hands.”

Please consider giving to this scholarship.

View Generation Rx 15-Year Timeline