Meet third-year USC School of Pharmacy student Chioma Nwozuzu (’18), who describes her favorite faculty member, her involvement in the Los Angeles Barbershop Blood Pressure Project, and the major role pharmacists can play in addressing health disparities.
Why did you choose USC School of Pharmacy?
I chose USC School of Pharmacy because I grew up in the Los Angeles area (more specifically Gardena/the South Bay), and so naturally I had to pledge my allegiance to UCLA or USC. I obviously decided to side with the far more superior choice way back in middle school and became a big Trojan football fan. Though I ended up being admitted to USC as an undergrad, I decided to go to Rice University in Houston. I knew that if it was meant for me to be a Trojan, I would have the chance to come back for pharmacy school. And sure enough, I did.
How have the resources and faculty members at USC helped you with your studies, learning, and growth?
I have a good relationship with different faculty members on campus. However, one of the best relationships that I have is with Dr. Steven Chen, chair of the Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy. He has been incredibly helpful throughout my pharmacy school career thus far. He has allowed me to get involved with different projects and has been an excellent sounding board whenever I am trying to make a decision. He is the main reason why I am surviving pharmacy school.
What is one of the best experiences you’ve had at the school so far?
Dr. Chen has been incredible in connecting me with different opportunities. He serves as my faculty advisor for my Albert Schweitzer Fellowship project. Being part of that fellowship has been amazing.
Dr. Chen also connected me with Dr. Ron Victor at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute – Hypertension Center, where I began helping with the Los Angeles Barbershop Blood Pressure Project, which trains barbers to check their customers for high blood pressure. Being a part of that team has been one of my best experiences in pharmacy school because it has allowed me to have an opportunity to do something that is really innovative. It has also allowed me to learn a lot since it was the first time that I have ever been part of a clinical research team.
Why should prospective students consider USC School of Pharmacy?
One of the best things that USC has to offer is its variety of experts. Whether you are interested in pharmaceutical science, clinical pharmacy, or policy or business, there is a leader here at the school who can help you. And if they aren’t current faculty, the faculty here knows them, and they’re always willing to get you in contact with the right people.
What are your plans after graduation?
I have known since high school that I wanted to get into pharmacy, but now that I am so close to starting my career, it is a little scary to pick one path and stick to it. Outside of pharmacy, I have a wide variety of interests that range from social justice issues, to health technology, to higher education. I don’t think the job title of what I ultimately want to do really exists, or at least I haven’t found it yet. I want to do something unconventional that ties together all of my interests.
If there is one thing that I know for sure, I want to make an impact in addressing the health disparities in communities. I think pharmacists can play a huge role in this.
If I can wake up every day and know that I have made a difference in ensuring that healthcare is delivered in a way that makes marginalized communities feel comfortable in accessing care, l’d be happy.