/publications/issue/2009/August2009/RESPy-0809

Pharmacist of the Year Serves Community and Beyond

Author: Jessica A. Smith, Assistant Editor

                                                                              Mimi Abraham

True excellence is more than a product of hard work. It also requires passion for, and dedication to, one's work.
For Mimi Abraham, winner of Walmart's 2008 Pharmacist of the Year Award, these qualities come naturally. From the time when Abraham began her career in pharmacy, the title of "pharmacist" has meant more to her than simply a way to make a living.

"I knew I wanted to work for a company that shared my commitment to the community and improving the lives
of others," said Abraham, staff pharmacist at store 2258 in Alexandria, Virginia. "Walmart is extremely committed to its customers in every aspect and encourages all of their associates to share in their efforts. I have truly found Walmart to be a phenomenal company to work for and learn from."

Walmart finds Abraham pretty phenomenal, too. Anton Schmidt, her supervisor, overflowed with complimentary
sentiments about the employee he nominated for the company's annual award. "She presents herself and the company with confidence. She motivates others and has run a successful pharmacy for the past 3 years," said Schmidt. "She is involved in her community and uses her pharmacy knowledge to help those in need, but more importantly to serve as a role model for others in the Washington, DC/Northern Virginia community. Mimi's life is a true success story in which I have been proud to have a small part."

Having come to the United States from her native Ethiopia as a young child, Abraham has never been one to take things for granted. Her appreciation for the opportunities afforded her in America imbued Abraham with an inner drive to work to the fullest of her potential. Her ultimate goal was to eventually be able to bestow opportunities on individuals who have been less fortunate, she explained. Although Abraham has met her objective, things did not pan out exactly as she had planned. "Growing up, I always knew I would be in the health care profession-a medical doctor, to be more specific," said Abraham. "Fate, however, had
different plans."

A high achiever in high school, Abraham earned a full scholarship to Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and
Health Sciences. "My plan was to go to medical school after obtaining a degree in pharmacy, but I immediately fell in love with pharmacy while in school, and I realized the endless possibilities a career in pharmacy offered," said Abraham. By 2002, she graduated with a doctorate in pharmacy.

Soon after, Abraham nabbed herself another title: Miss Virginia USA 2003. Not one to bask in her own glory, however, she shifted the spotlight toward others. "As a person who has always been passionate about community service, giving back to those less fortunate, and leading by example, I knew I was awarded a great tool."

The pageant winner used her year long reign and the time after to travel both domestically and abroad, including to such countries as China and England, to provide health education. Aside from sharing valuable information on maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise, Abraham taught people around the world about the importance of a proper drug regimen through dozens of Brown Bag events.

All the while, Abraham never forgot her roots. Throughout her travels, she raised both funds and awareness for the
need for drugs and treatments for patients in Ethiopia, especially those with HIV and AIDS. Empowered by the influence she was able to wield through her Miss Virginia USA title, Abraham kept her efforts going.

The Mimi Show, a radio program aired on WUST 1120 AM New World Radio in the Washington, DC, area, gave
Abraham a more far-reaching platform for spreading knowledge. Aside from addressing a variety of issues faced by people in Ethiopia, she set aside time during each show for a For Your Health segment, during which listener-suggested health topics would be discussed. The show sparked opportunities in television, which Abraham is currently pursuing.

As coauthor of a children's book, Abraham has found yet another way to help the children of her home country. Sale proceeds go toward purchasing medications, clothing, school supplies, and toys for the youngsters.

Though the demands of family life, combined with those that come with being a dedicated pharmacist, might cause some to scale back other obligations, this is not the case for Abraham. "Now, as a married mother of 2 with another on the way, I feel even more the urgency to give back, especially to the young and helpless children of Walmart logothe world," said Abraham. "I know we can't do everything, but we can all certainly do
something to make our world a better place."