Ederlyn Lindley Dia, a student at the Thomas J. LongSchool of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at theUniversity of the Pacific and this month's RESPy awardwinner, is committed to helping advance pharmacists'professionalimage.
Dia became interested in pharmacy after working as a clinicaltrial research assistant at the University of California, LosAngeles. "I was in awe of how these drugs can help patients," shesaid. "I became interested in learning more about how drugswork and how drug therapy management can help patients."
After hours of observing hospital pharmacists'daily activities,Dia learned firsthand how important pharmacists are to thehealth care team.
"What I desire most is for other health care professionals,especially doctors, to view us as equals," she said. "I am passionateabout having more pharmacist involvement in direct patientservices and want the public to appreciate what we are capableof doing.We are a good resource for health care issues. We arealso very accessible to patients."
Through her varied extracurricular activities, Dia has seen thedifference she can make in patients'lives. She has organizedhealth fairs at which patients can receive free heartburn, cholesterol,blood glucose, and blood pressure screenings. Dia saidthat performing screenings is rewarding because she can havea positive impact on patients'quality of life.
"There is just so much opportunity todecrease morbidity by simply counselingpatients about the importance of takingtheir medications," she said. "Sometimesa patient can be hypertensive foryears and has never learned ways theycan decrease their blood pressure andof the effects that uncontrolled hypertensioncan have."
Her experience has also taughther to be a better pharmacist. "Ilearn how to talk to patients, toexplain things plainly, andstress the importance of controllingtheir blood glucose ifthey have diabetes," she said.
Jesika S. Faridi, PhD, assistantprofessor at the Thomas J.Long School of Pharmacy andHealth Sciences, said Dia's commitment to the profession is ahuge benefit to the school.
"What sets Ederlyn apart is that she is not only focused on herstudies, she is also focused on the community," she said. "Withevery screening event, she feels that she is making a positiveimpact not only on the public's health but also on their qualityof life. She is really advancing the profession of pharmacy whileshe is still at pharmacy school."
Her work with professional organizations also is notable. Diarecently attended the California Pharmacists Association'sOutlook conference as a student delegate. In addition, sheattended the California Pharmacy Student LeadershipConference and presented a poster on the role of pharmacistsin emergency response situations.
After graduation, Dia wants a position that will enable her toplay an active role in improving medication use. She also plansto continue to be active in professional organizations to "helpour profession grow stronger" so "the government and the publicfinally see and appreciate what we are capable of doing."
Dr. Faridi expects big things from her student. "She is continuingto challenge herself on what other niche in the communityshe can still serve in order to help change the perception ofpharmacists beyond the image of ‘pill pusher,'" she said.
About the College
University of the Pacific, Thomas J. Long School ofPharmacy 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 thePacific in Stockton, Calif. The school provides an academic environmentthat prepares students by developing their leadership skills andencouraging them to develop a strong commitment to their professionand society. The school has academic affiliations with majormedical centers, teaching hospitals, and related practice settings.
Pacific has an accelerated, 8-semester PharmD curriculum that isdesigned to address contemporary practice responsibilities as well asemerging roles in pharmacy practice. The 6 pharmacy systems coursesinclude an integrated presentation of real and simulated early practiceexperiences in areas including pharmacy practice, pharmacy administration,social and administrative sciences, and pharmaceutics.
The pharmacy practice program prepares students for careers inacademia, pharmacy practice, and industry through programs ofstudy built on a program of unique disciplinary programs designed
Ms. Sax is a freelance writer based in Chevy Chase, Md.