Annmae Javier believes that strong relationships with patients are the best tools at a pharmacist's disposal.
Because her mother is a pharmacist, Annmae Javier was exposed to the profession at an early age. For May’s Walmart/Pharmacy Times RESPy winner, pharmacy is more than just a legacy, however—it’s a calling.
Slated to graduate from the accelerated PharmD program at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) in 2012, Javier is reminded why she chose pharmacy each time she steps behind the counter.
“I feel that pharmacy is my niche every time a patient asks me a question about their medications. I really feel as if I’m making an impact on another person’s health,” she says.
Javier makes an impact in her community through her outstanding commitment to helping others. As leader of Community Outreach Initiatives for the Worcester chapter of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists, Javier coordinates all volunteer projects, from health fairs to fundraisers.
One of her most successful initiatives was the Worcester Gives Back School Wellness Exposition and Backpack Drive, at which more than 200 low-income families received blood pressure screenings and ear examinations, along with information about local health services, nutrition, cardiac health, exercise, and dental hygiene.
As a recipient of an Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, Javier worked with the 7th grade class at Nativity School of Worcester, a Jesuit middle school for boys, to teach the students about adopting healthier lifestyles. Along with coteaching science and math classes, Javier instructed the students in yoga for stress management, sponsored an essay contest about health and education with part of her stipend, and organized a field trip to the MCPHS campus.
On the field trip, students toured the campus, learned about health care professions, and even conducted a compounding experiment. Some of the young participants were inspired to follow Javier’s example.
“All of the students are from lowincome households, and I know that many of them will be the first in their family to receive a college degree. It was the most rewarding feeling when some of the students told me they want to be future pharmacists or doctors,” Javier says.
As Javier describes the development of her professional philosophy, it is clear that this future pharmacist will continue to set an example of professionalism and dedication to her patients for years to come.
Q Why did you decide to become a pharmacist?
A The idea of pharmacy struck me in middle school. Someone very dear to me was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and constantly struggled with extreme “highs” and “lows.” Once I discovered that bipolar disorder could be treated with pharmacotherapy, I immediately became interested in pharmacy. I was fascinated with the idea that so many mental and physical disorders could be treated pharmacologically, and that I could be responsible for improving people’s health.
Q What do you think is the most important issue in the field of pharmacy today?
A Having good health care should be considered a right, not a privilege. So many people are underinsured and cannot afford the health services that they desperately need. Pharmacists have a vital role in directing patients to free health clinics or services that offer medications to those who do not have insurance.
Q What do you think is the most important quality for a pharmacist to possess?
A A pharmacist should have passion in caring for their patients. Pharmacists have an obligation to build trusting relationships with the patients they treat. Without empathy from the pharmacist, a patient is less likely to adhere to counseling points and benefit from their pharmacotherapy.
Q Is there a person you worked with who helped you be a better pharmacist?
A While I was on my intermediate rotation at a Walmart pharmacy in Arizona, the pharmacy manager, Mickey Chowhan, perfectly exemplified the type of pharmacist that I want to become. Mickey placed his patients’ well-being and health as his top priority. He knew all his patients by name, and was very familiar with their health conditions and medications. He emphasized the importance of establishing a trusting relationship with his patients.
His actions embody how I want to treat my future patients. I want my patients to feel as if they can trust me with their health. Having good communication and solid relationships with patients is a key part of the pharmacist’s role in improving health care. PT
The RESPy (Respect, Excellence, and Service in Pharmacy) Award is presented to the student who has made a difference in his or her community by demonstrating excellence in pharmaceutical care. For more information, please visit www.PharmacyTimes.com.
About the School
The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) has prepared more individuals for the professional practice of pharmacy than any other academic institution in the world. With 3 campuses in Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts, and Manchester, New Hampshire, MCPHS offers a variety of pharmacy degree programs, including post-baccalaureate and accelerated PharmD programs.