It was January 2021, nearly one year after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I was in the middle of the second academic year of my PhD program. Much of my time this academic year, unfortunately, was spent alone, in an office, working on a computer (most of this work environment I attribute to COVID-19).
In August 2020, I became the Health Equity fellow, a fellowship that is jointly offered through Purdue University and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Health equity is the “absence of avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people, which can be socially, economically, demographically or geographically” (WHO, 2011). During this fellowship, I will rotate through Washington D.C., Indiana, and Kenya addressing various health equity gaps in each of these sites.
As someone with a passion for health equity, mental health, and vulnerable patient populations, I have sought out opportunities that align with my interests. Most recently, I began a project titled, “Assessing the Need for Gender Diverse Education Amongst Practicing Community Pharmacists.” Prior to initiating this project, I recognized transgender health as a controversial topic – an uneducated and irresponsible viewpoint inadequate to provide proficient and destigmatized care.
The experiences I have had with CHEqI in the past year have been more than I could have ever asked for. What started as a simple phone call turned into a once-in-a-lifetime experience I am incredibly grateful for. We were able to put together the CHEqI Student Ambassadors in record time, and immediately took on any and all projects. It has since evolved and students have been able to create their own projects. The program has become more individualized and student driven, which I believe is a great step in the right direction for the improvement of CHEqI.
I have always been interested in the intersection of pharmacy and public health. Pharmacists are one of the most accessible health care professionals. With how common it is for people to visit their pharmacy, I think that pharmacists have an opportunity (and a responsibility) to have an impactful conversation with every patient that picks up their medication.