Forming Stronger Patient Connections

Pharmacy TimesSeptember 2015 Specialty Pharmacy
Volume 81
Issue 9

Marilyn Mootz, a pharmacy student at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy, firmly believes that pharmacists should influence positive change among their patients through exemplary care.

Marilyn Mootz, a pharmacy student at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy, firmly believes that pharmacists should influence positive change among their patients through exemplary care. The 2017 PharmD candidate was initially inspired to pursue a career in health care during a family health crisis in August 1997: her grandmother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. As her grandmother underwent surgeries and chemotherapy, Mootz saw firsthand the impact that her grandmother’s health care team, including the hospital pharmacist, had on their patient’s physical and emotional well-being.

“The hospital’s health care providers, who gave selflessly of their time and talents, allowed me to realize the integral role that the pharmacist plays in assisting with patient care and instilling compassion and hope,” said Mootz in an exclusive interview with Pharmacy Times.

Having been taught the value of helping others from a young age, Mootz has dedicated much of her free time during pharmacy school to serving the less fortunate. Among many other volunteer activities, she has conducted health screenings and counseled patients in underserved communities, tutored local high school students, and lent her skills and knowledge to international medical missions in Mexico and Peru. These experiences, according to Mootz, helped to shape her perception of the pharmacist she wished to become.

“I am certain that direct patient care, patient education, and service of the underserved will be 3 strong components to my future practice,” Mootz stated. “I see the value of educating patients and their families, and I’m sure this will play an important role in my decision about future pharmacy practice.”

Mootz considers her time volunteering with Brother Bill’s Helping Hand (BBHH), a medical clinic that offers screenings and educational services to patients and families without medical insurance, to be particularly rewarding. Here, she came to understand the importance of providing basic health services to those in need.

“BBHH patients, their families, and my fellow volunteers have all inspired me to pursue academic pharmacy while assisting underserved communities,” Mootz explained. “My time at BBHH fuels my aspiration to link available medical and educational services with underserved areas, and it has instilled in me a fervent desire to help the underserved by connecting medical resources with patients.”

Ultimately, Mootz believes that her volunteer experience has affirmed her choice to become a pharmacist, reminding her of the essential role that pharmacists play in providing patient care.

“Connecting with hundreds of patient and their families, through translating and assisting in underserved areas of Dallas, has encouraged me to choose a health care career in which I can make a positive difference in the lives of others,” Mootz said. “Pharmacy embodies many exciting opportunities to serve the needs of patients and to educate families on the value of health care and wellness.”

Q: Who are your greatest inspirations as a pharmacist?A: My mentors, professors, community outreach leaders, and family have tremendously impacted my life, but I have been particularly inspired by my parents, who have dedicated their lives to others in the health care field. My father is a physician and professor at UT Southwestern Medical School; he has demonstrated to me that a career in health care requires a strong mind and an unwavering commitment to patients and their families. My mother is a registered pharmacist who tirelessly devotes her time to our family, schools, and community; she clearly demonstrates by example that the pathway to fulfillment is through education and service.

Q: What do you think is the most important quality for a pharmacist to possess?A: A pharmacist must have a lifelong desire to learn and provide current information to colleagues and patients. In addition, pharmacists must establish strong, open communication with a variety of patient populations.

Q: What do you think is the most important issue in pharmacy today? Why?A: The most important role for a pharmacist is to educate patients, address their concerns and questions, and provide patient-centered care. Pharmacists are uniquely positioned to actively connect with patients and their families. In each of these activities, the pharmacist builds trust, assists with medication compliance, and enhances patient wellness.

About the School

The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy offers a traditional PharmD program, as well as a sequential PharmD/PhD degree track program that allows pharmacy students to conduct research in medicinal chemistry, pharmacology and toxicology, or pharmaceutics. The school encourages its students to take an integrated and problembased approach to drug-therapy management.

About RESPy - Brought to you by Walmart and Pharmacy Times

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

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