As president of both the Associated Student Pharmacists (ASP) and the Latinx Advancing in Pharmacy-National Hispanic Pharmacist Association (LAP-NHPA) at the USC Mann School, third-year PharmD student Jasmine Gomez Lopez aspires to make an impact on the community as an ambulatory care pharmacist in Los Angeles.
Her family’s experience with Type 2 diabetes inspired her interest in healthcare. When she was a sophomore at UC Davis, her paternal grandmother—who had retinopathy and neuropathy complications from the disease—died at age 65. Her father also was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
“I wanted to make sure my father was not following the same path as my grandmother,” Gomez Lopez says. “I later learned about pharmacy and how I could make a difference as a medication expert who could guide people to a healthier lifestyle. I believe if my grandmother had had a pharmacist she trusted, she could have lived longer.”
She earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical chemistry from UC Davis before pursuing a PharmD at USC Mann, which she says is a perfect fit for her career aspirations.
“The program is providing me with clinical knowledge, pharmacy experience and opportunities for leadership,” she explains. One of these such leadership opportunities is through ASP.
As president, Gomez Lopez oversees the executive ASP board and the 24 other PharmD Recognized Student Organizations at USC Mann. “My goal is to provide a safe welcoming environment to all pharmacy students and to provide a bridge between student organizations, the student body and faculty members,” she notes. “We hope to reach all pharmacy students, expose them to the different areas of pharmacy and offer opportunities to help our communities.”
As a pharmacy technician at URS Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy in Rowland Heights, she noticed that Hispanic patients would only be able to give “yes” or “no” answers when receiving consultation from a pharmacist who did not know Spanish. “However, when I would attend them in Spanish, they would be more trusting and willing to give detailed answers and ask questions,” recalls Gomez Lopez, who is interested in ambulatory care as an opportunity to help patients address their chronic conditions.
Her experience in Rowland Heights led her to research how many Hispanic pharmacists were in the U.S. “At the time, it was 4.2%. This astonished me,” she says. “USC provided support to launch a National Hispanic Pharmacist Association chapter in partnership with our affinity group, Latinx Advancing in Pharmacy.”
In USC LAP-NHPA’s inaugural year in 2022, she says, “It reached not only the Trojan Family but also the surrounding community to learn more about the Hispanic tradition of the Day of the Dead and get their immunizations all in one big community event. This year we hope to bring more cultural events, both professional and social. In addition, we hope to join with the other affinity groups at USC Mann to provide more representation of the diverse cultures and backgrounds at our school and profession.”