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Student pharmacist named national ARP Outstanding Student in Rheumatology

Lipscomb student Hannah Peterson is first pharmacist to win national rheumatology award.

Janel Shoun-Smith | 615.966.7078  | 

Hannah Peterson (right) at a flu shot clinic

Hannah Peterson ('22) (right) at a flu shot clinic held during her studies at Lipscomb College of Pharmacy.

Dr. Hannah Peterson (Pharm.D.), currently a pharmacy resident at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, was awarded this past fall the American College of Rheumatology (ARP) Outstanding Student in Rheumatology Award for research she conducted while a student in the Lipscomb College of Pharmacy.

Hannah Peterson

Hannah Peterson

She is the first student pharmacist to be recognized with this national award, said Dr. Kam Nola, associate dean of academic affairs for the pharmacy college, who has a clinical expertise in rheumatology.

Peterson, a native of Wenona, Illinois, conducted research with Dr. Anna Patrick, pediatric rheumatologist at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, during her third and fourth year of pharmacy studies. Her interest in rheumatology was sparked by her younger sister suffering from juvenile arthritis and her own desire to work in specialty pharmacy, where biologic drugs are frequently used.

As part of the research, Peterson worked to develop a database of patient info along with algorithms to allow researchers to identify, through the patient history data, a sample dataset of juvenile arthritis patients to be studied. 

Hannah Peterson at Student Scholars Conference

Peterson at Lipscomb's Student Scholars Conference.

Peterson worked on the project at Vanderbilt in the summer of 2020 and 2021, and the results were submitted for publication within the past few months.

The study was intended to fill a gap by providing a best practices model for identifying juvenile arthritis cases that hospitals everywhere could pick up and use for future studies, said Peterson. Once the sample set is published, hospitals can tailor it for their own uses.

“It mirrors an electronic health record without private info, so you can pull the national codes or the keywords from doctors notes or lab values and medications,” said Peterson. “It will also help researchers narrow down their desired topic of study within a juvenile arthritis patient population.”

Peterson came to her pharmacy studies at Lipscomb after two years at Sauk Valley Community College in Illinois. At Lipscomb, she was involved in the student chapters of the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists, the American Society of Health System Pharmacists, Phi Lambda Sigma, and internships in community pharmacy and at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

Hannah Peterson giving a vaccine

Through her involvement with APhA-ASP at Lipscomb, Peterson participated in vaccination clinics.

Nola has spent 25 years in rheumatology and has established partnerships with adult and pediatric rheumatology physicians at Vanderbilt to host Lipscomb students to conduct research as part of their pharmacy practice electives I & II. Vanderbilt physicians involved are Patrick as well as Dr. April Barnado, Dr. Brent Graham, Dr. Bobo Tanner and Dr. Anthony Langone.

Lipscomb pharmacy students currently working in pediatric rheumatology research are Kelsi Vela, Dmitriy Carrigan, Nick DiBisceglie and Rachel Dickey. Lipscomb pharmacy students currently working in  adult rheumatology research are Samantha DeLillo, Chance Hall and Whitney Morris.