While deciding which school would be the best fit for me, VCU stood out with many different opportunities. First, as pharmacists advance as vital members of healthcare teams, finding a school that provides interdisciplinary education is very important. Not only does VCU offer courses that allow students to work with other health professional students, but the school also enables outreach trips that provide hands-on, interdisciplinary experience. With a strong desire to incorporate public health into my future career as a pharmacist, the public health and community outreach opportunities that VCU offers were also very appealing. Ultimately, VCU's faculty are very engaging professors who are dedicated to helping students find our niche from the beginning of our careers as student pharmacists.
This summer, I had the honor of participating in the Remote Area Medical (RAM) trip to Wise, Virginia. This outreach event has been my favorite learning experience through VCU, as I was able to put what I have learned in the classroom into action to help the underserved. As an interdisciplinary team, we conducted trainings throughout the spring semester to prepare for the different clinical stations, such as A1C testing, tobacco cessation counseling and taking blood pressure measurements. After participating in many different medical trips to various countries, it was eye-opening and rewarding to help patients in my own country.
VCU offers a wide array of unique learning experiences that allow us to explore our interests more extensively. For example, I will be starting the Aging Studies certificate program this fall semester to gain a better understanding of aging and ways to promote successful aging. This program will illustrate a more in-depth picture of providing individualized care for the aging population. Apart from the interdisciplinary courses within the curriculum, I have also gained experience in working with other health professionals through the Honduras Outreach Medical Brigada Relief Effort (HOMBRE) and Remote Area Medical (RAM) trips this summer, which are run by VCU faculty. Research opportunities to further delve into areas of interest are also available through VCU. This summer, I served as a Global Health and Health Disparities Student Scholar to investigate the impact of our public health projects in rural Honduras.
After graduation, I plan to complete a PGY1 residency with an emphasis on ambulatory care pharmacy. I am also interested in potentially joining the U.S. Public Health Service as a Commissioned Corps clinical pharmacist. Overall, I intend to incorporate public and global health into my future career in order to aid in providing medical attention to underserved populations.