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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. CHEqI, now more than ever, allows us to take our passions related to health equity and create projects that will make a difference for the underserved populations of Indiana.

I am most proud of my current project – evaluating health equity content in the pharmacy curriculum. Last summer, Dr. Jasmine Gonzalvo gave a presentation designed to spark conversation between healthcare professionals on how to improve health outcomes in Indiana in regards to health equity. When the question was presented to me as a pharmacy student, I felt as if I wasn’t qualified enough to provide any insight. After feeling that way, I realized that our pharmacy curriculum does not adequately address health equity topics. I felt uninformed and out of place. How can we possible advocate for our patients, as pharmacists should, without a sufficient amount of health equity background under our belts? My goal is to evaluate the pharmacy curriculum at Purdue University to find where there are gaps in knowledge. I so badly want future classes of pharmacy students to feel confident in their health equity understanding, and be able to use that knowledge to help underserved patient populations moving forward. We must build a solid foundation for our students if we expect them to engage in health equity work as professionals and improve general health outcomes.

CHEqI, and the projects I have engaged in, have made me reevaluate my future career. I have always had a passion for learning, and I would love to instill that in others. Between the curriculum evaluation and the creation of the Spanish track program, I hope that other student healthcare leaders, and even other healthcare professionals, will be inspired to continue to expand upon their health equity background. While my future ambitions are still uncertain, I know for a fact that health equity will remain as an influential part of my life. Whether I find a position that has already established health equity work, or start anew in an area with underserved populations, I believe that I will work towards health equity in every aspect. After all that I have seen and all that I have learned, I want to work to abolish health inequities wherever I find myself.

I relish the hard work and the commitment I have taken on with CHEqI. Even as a third-year pharmacy student, I have learned more about discipline and responsibility with this organization than I have with any other courses, programs, rotations and more. As Dr. Gonzalvo likes to say, it doesn’t always feel like you’re saving the world, but when we put it all together, our work will make a huge difference. Thanks to her guidance, I have learned to not only manage these projects in the short term, but to zero in on the future – never losing sight of our end goal. Every day we inch closer to improving care and health outcomes for our patients. It is this goal that I strive to work towards every day.

Hanna Persha
Third Year Pharmacy Student
Purdue University