RESPy AWARD: Dia Makes a Difference in Pharmacy

APRIL 01, 2007
Barbara Sax

Ederlyn Lindley Dia, a student at the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at the University of the Pacific and this month's RESPy award winner, is committed to helping advance pharmacists'professional image.

Dia became interested in pharmacy after working as a clinical trial research assistant at the University of California, Los Angeles. "I was in awe of how these drugs can help patients," she said. "I became interested in learning more about how drugs work and how drug therapy management can help patients."

After hours of observing hospital pharmacists'daily activities, Dia learned firsthand how important pharmacists are to the health care team.

"What I desire most is for other health care professionals, especially doctors, to view us as equals," she said. "I am passionate about having more pharmacist involvement in direct patient services and want the public to appreciate what we are capable of doing.We are a good resource for health care issues. We are also very accessible to patients."

Through her varied extracurricular activities, Dia has seen the difference she can make in patients'lives. She has organized health fairs at which patients can receive free heartburn, cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure screenings. Dia said that performing screenings is rewarding because she can have a positive impact on patients'quality of life.

"There is just so much opportunity to decrease morbidity by simply counseling patients about the importance of taking their medications," she said. "Sometimes a patient can be hypertensive for years and has never learned ways they can decrease their blood pressure and of the effects that uncontrolled hypertension can have."

Her experience has also taught her to be a better pharmacist. "I learn how to talk to patients, to explain things plainly, and stress the importance of controlling their blood glucose if they have diabetes," she said.

Jesika S. Faridi, PhD, assistant professor at the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, said Dia's commitment to the profession is a huge benefit to the school.

"What sets Ederlyn apart is that she is not only focused on her studies, she is also focused on the community," she said. "With every screening event, she feels that she is making a positive impact not only on the public's health but also on their quality of life. She is really advancing the profession of pharmacy while she is still at pharmacy school."

Her work with professional organizations also is notable. Dia recently attended the California Pharmacists Association's Outlook conference as a student delegate. In addition, she attended the California Pharmacy Student Leadership Conference and presented a poster on the role of pharmacists in emergency response situations.

After graduation, Dia wants a position that will enable her to play an active role in improving medication use. She also plans to continue to be active in professional organizations to "help our profession grow stronger" so "the government and the public finally see and appreciate what we are capable of doing."

Dr. Faridi expects big things from her student. "She is continuing to challenge herself on what other niche in the community she can still serve in order to help change the perception of pharmacists beyond the image of ‘pill pusher,'" she said.

About the College

University of the Pacific, Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

The Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, founded in 1955, is located on the campus of the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. The school provides an academic environment that prepares students by developing their leadership skills and encouraging them to develop a strong commitment to their profession and society. The school has academic affiliations with major medical centers, teaching hospitals, and related practice settings.

Pacific has an accelerated, 8-semester PharmD curriculum that is designed to address contemporary practice responsibilities as well as emerging roles in pharmacy practice. The 6 pharmacy systems courses include an integrated presentation of real and simulated early practice experiences in areas including pharmacy practice, pharmacy administration, social and administrative sciences, and pharmaceutics.

The pharmacy practice program prepares students for careers in academia, pharmacy practice, and industry through programs of study built on a program of unique disciplinary programs designed

Ms. Sax is a freelance writer based in Chevy Chase, Md.