You already have your master of public health degree. What made you want to pursue a PharmD as your next step?
Prior to pursuing a PharmD, I worked at a large academic medical center as an infection prevention analyst. I had the opportunity to collaborate with various disciplines including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and hospital administrators. I analyzed hospital-acquired infections and reported trends to hospital administration and the Center for Disease Control. While I found my experiences rewarding, I realized that I wanted to further my clinical background but wasn’t sure in what field.
During this time, I also served as the public health director for a medical brigade in a northern Honduran village, where we provided medical care and implemented public health projects for a community of 1,200 people. Our team flew to Honduras twice a year between 2013 and 2018, where we provided medical care to the community, distributed donated eyeglasses, and provided water filters so each household had access to clean drinking water. I also had the chance to spend time in the local pharmacy, where I realized the critical impact a pharmacist can have on patient care. My experiences in Honduras made me realize how much I enjoyed interacting with and directly caring for patients, which led me to pursue a PharmD.
What attracted you to the field of pharmacy? Any particular moment(s) that made you stop and think, “This is the path I want to take?”
I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t know that pharmacists did more than just dispense medication in a community or hospital setting. However, after I returned from Honduras, I shadowed pharmacists in various settings and roles including academia, critical care, antibiotic stewardship, and in an HIV clinic. What I really found appealing about pharmacy was the versatility and the progression of the profession. Pharmacists not only manage patients’ medications for chronic diseases, but also collaborate with fellow clinical providers on the frontline to provide optimal patient care.
Why did you choose USC School of Pharmacy?
Initially, I intended on applying to and attending pharmacy school on the East Coast. However, after visiting an information session at USC while I was on vacation in Los Angeles, I was incredibly impressed by the program’s extensive curriculum and all the opportunities offered to its students. I appreciated that the current pharmacy students, not just faculty, were present and spoke on behalf of the program as well as answered questions from the student’s perspective. I personally chose USC because of the various clinical pharmacy experiences, but also because I wanted to challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone in Virginia and become a part of the Trojan Family.
What’s one of the best/most memorable experiences you’ve had at the school so far?
One of the greatest gifts that I’ve received from USC School of Pharmacy is the numerous friendships that I’ve developed with fellow classmates, who have now become my family here on the West Coast. Whether it’s studying for exams, celebrating birthdays, or gathering for holiday feasts, I’m lucky to be surrounded by such great people.
What are your career aspirations?
Based on my current interests, I hope to pursue a PGY-1 residency in acute care after graduating from pharmacy school and potentially a PGY-2 residency in either critical care or emergency medicine. However, I’m keeping an open mind as I know the pharmacy profession is continuously evolving. Who knows, maybe the pharmacy career I’m intended to pursue hasn’t even been developed yet!
What’s a fun fact about you that not many people know about?
I love dogs and have a maltipoo named Nala who is trained in both English and Farsi.