Published on February 21, 2020 by William Nunnelley  

Doctor of Pharmacy student Ashley Treahy decided to start a student chapter of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) at Samford for a simple reason: “I felt there was an interest and need that was not being filled.”

Treahy, a third-year student in Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy, said many campus organizations had mental health committees but no organization specialized in it. “Mental health was getting recognized but was not getting the attention it deserved,” she said.

She made up her mind to do something about it, and worked with Marshall Cates, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, and fellow students to start a student chapter that already has 20 members in its first year. 

“My hope for the organization is to bring awareness and reduce the stigma of mental health, as well as to promote psychiatric and neurologic specialties,” said Treahy. 

CPNP represents more than 2,000 pharmacists, pharmacy residents and pharmacy students nationally. The pharmacists in the organization are psychiatric and neurologic pharmacy specialists. Currently, Cates serves the national organization as its president-elect.

“So far, we have brought in speakers from a psychiatric clinic and substance abuse rehabilitation facility,” said Treahy. “Coming up, we will have speakers with a neurological focus. As far as events, we participate in walks like Out of the Darkness Walk and End Heroin Walk. We are trying to organize a Mental Health First Aid Certification event for students who want to get certified. 

“As far as service, we plan on reaching out to Bryce Hospital to organize a drive and connecting with our partners at the National Alliance on Mental Illness to see how we can help there.”

It’s been a busy first year for the Samford chapter of CPNP, said Treahy, “but mental health is so important. It seems more classmates are interested in this specialization every year.”