Students Mariko Yokokura, Nancy Wong, Jay Barcelon, and Chris Foo with a faculty mentor.

UCSF Pharmacy Students Compete Nationally at Business Plan and Entrepreneurship Competition

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

This October, four students from the UCSF School of Pharmacy competed at the national NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition. The annual competition fosters healthcare entrepreneurship in schools of pharmacy throughout the country.

Teams compete by writing business plans. Their plans are either based off of an existing business or are created from scratch. Students must get creative by learning to utilize business skills based around market analyses, financial accounting, business development and critical thinking. This year, students Mariko Yokokura (P3), Nancy Wong (P3), Jay Barcelon (P2) and Chris Foo (P2) comprised the UCSF team. They were guided by faculty mentors Dr. John Kong, Dr. Kevin Rodondi and Dr. Brian Komoto.

Forty-seven schools were represented in the competition. Of these, only three were picked to deliver their “business pitch” at the NCPA national convention in Austin, Texas. For the first time in the school’s history, UCSF was selected to compete at the national level, along with the University of Arkansas and the University of Oklahoma at Tulsa.

The UCSF business plan focused on transitional care, with a business model aimed at reducing excess hospital readmissions. The model was developed with the Affordable Care Act in mind. Under the new health care law, hospitals lose Medicare funding for readmitting patients within 30 days of discharge for complications related to CHF, MI, and pneumonia. With this in mind, the UCSF team formulated a model aimed at saving hospitals from incurring significant losses.

UCSF’s approach was to utilize pharmacists in a transitional care role to help reduce readmission rates. These pharmacists would deliver medications using an existing closed-door pharmacy to patients discharged from hospitals. In this way, the team hoped to reconcile patient medications while making sure the patients received their 30-day supply after leaving the hospital.

UCSF finished in third place following Arkansas and Oklahoma. They were awarded $1,000 to the school in the Dean’s name and also $1,000 to their local NCPA chapter.

"The NCPA Business Plan competition was, at the end of the day, one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had here at UCSF,” stated Jay Barcelon.  “It allowed me to understand the complexity and multifaceted nature of the problems we face in healthcare. The true beauty of the competition, however, really lies in the challenges of approaching a problem from several different perspectives, and creating a solution that aligns the interests of everyone involved. For me, personally, the most enjoyable part was getting a chance to play at the intersection of reality and imagination. I would definitely recommend this competition to all those looking to be entrepreneurs, agents of change and disruptive innovators.”

If you would like to learn more about the NCPA Business Competition go to