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Creating a Service-Focused Practice

Jennifer Whartenby, Senior Managing Editor
Published Online: Wednesday, October 10, 2012   [ Request Print ]


Julie Brown proves she has a bright future ahead. 

A 2015 PharmD candidate at the Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy at Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBAU), Julie Brown embodies the idea of pharmacy as a calling. Although relatively new to pharmacy, October’s Pharmacy Times/Walmart RESPy Award winner already demonstrates an admirable commitment to the service of patients and the profession.

Brown recently participated in a medical mission trip to Guatemala, which she describes as the best experience of her life. The trip involved traveling to remote locations, where a medical team provided a variety of services, from hypertension and diabetes screening to counseling and evangelism. Brown and her colleagues were also able to provide appropriate nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic therapy, thanks in part to the 8 suitcases of medications they had collected for the trip.

“Contrary to what you would think, their overall health was better than what we see in the United States,” Brown said. “There was so little obesity, hypertension, or diabetes, and the longevity of some of the village elders was a true testimony to that.”

Brown sees service projects such as the mission trip and participating in local health fairs as a way to benefit patients who vitally need care, but also as a way to enhance her skills as a pharmacist.

“I do not want to lay idle and assume that I will be the best pharmacist once I earn my degree,” Brown said. “This time in school is meant for growth into a professional who encompasses all aspects of a patient-care advocacy.”

Advocacy is certainly another strong part of Brown’s guiding principles. Along with approximately 20 other PBAU students, Brown participated in Legislative Days in Tallahassee, an event at which she had the opportunity to speak with legislators and work to advocate for immunization services.

“I was able to meet with legislators and tell them exactly what pharmacy interns are capable of, what our curriculum entails, and correct the false perceptions of our roles,” Brown noted.

Guided by her faith, Brown has started on a path to a practice that is focused on service. Pharmacy Times asked Brown about her interest in advocacy and her mission experience, as well as her opinion on the future of the profession.

Q: Why did you decide to become a pharmacist?

A:  I believe that God has given me a knowledge and passion for science, and a role as a pharmacist is how I can use those abilities to serve others. Pharmacists are very accessible health care professionals, and for many patients, serve as a main source of health information and encouragement. I am happy to be entering a profession where I can directly help people better themselves.

Q: Why do you feel it is important for students to be advocates for pharmacy?

A: It is not just important, it is imperative, that pharmacy students fight for their future profession. In an age of transition in health care, we need to ensure that we can use our extensive clinical knowledge to help patients. We need to inform legislators about why we are so irreplaceable.

Q: Was there a moment on your medical mission to Guatemala that stood out?

A: I was most impacted by the village children—they were so eager and excited to spend time with you, and appreciated being taught how to take care of themselves. My favorite moment is somewhat selfish; it was not one where I was listening to or counseling a patient, but one where the village children sang for me. They knew songs of worship, and their voices rang with such purity and happiness that you could not help but feel humbled. That moment made me feel such love for those people, and further affirmed that I wanted to devote my life to serving others.

Q: What is the most important issue facing pharmacists today?

A: I feel that pharmacists now are increasingly having to defend their profession. “Why do you need pharmacists when you have technicians and automated dispensing systems to count pills?” We need pharmacists because they are a key component of the health care team, ensuring patient care through counseling, intervention, and MTM systems—these are roles no machine can fill.


About the School

Located in West Palm Beach, Florida, Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy offers PharmD, PharmD/MBA, and BS in medicinal chemistry programs. For more information, visit www.pba.edu/school-of-pharmacy.




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