Like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, my choice to pursue pharmacy was not laid out so colorfully before me. From the age of five, I was so sure that I wanted to be a doctor. My plans changed, however, when I was taken off the yellow brick road and led in a new direction. In my senior year of high school when I got the chance to work as pharmacy technician, so I took advantage of that opportunity.
As a win-win opportunity, I learned firsthand about the role of a community pharmacist and how she impacts the healthcare system and the community. I wanted to make the best of this so I started to work with this pharmacist, and saw how she was able to educate and inform her patients a better awareness of their medications. As a pharmacist I want to be available to patients without regard to fees.
When my summer pharmacy technician job ended, my future plans, hopes, and dreams had all changed. I realized that I did not just want to diagnose patients, I wanted to be the healthcare provider who offered the patients a cure. I want to be the missing link between their pain and their healing and health.
After my summer job ended, I became more passionate to pursue a career in pharmacy. It may have come from a simple act of fate in a small town high school, but my interest came long before that. I was raised in a family where autoimmune diseases, unfortunately, are common. When I turned ten years old, my great aunt was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Unfortunately, while there are treatments to slow down the disease, there is no cure to this aggressive disease; the arthritis will always affect her. I always wondered why she hasn’t been cured. Why does she always have to take such powerful medicine but still show no progress? These questions draw me to the career path that I choose to follow.
Today, so many immunosuppressive drugs are available and many people are winning the battle against autoimmune diseases. However, that puts patients at increased risk of infection and death, and these diseases still remain hard to treat. For this reason, I want to focus on autoimmune drug research and development. Specifically, I would love to work on a multi-drug combination involving many different agents directed at many cellular targets.
Back in Egypt and in the Long Island University Chemistry labs I was trained to get the expected results and consulting with my teaching assistants about the execution of the lab. These studies will serve me well when I have to run my own experiments in research or collaborate with others as a team. Working in a number of pharmacies, I have filled prescriptions, but my true passion lies in compounding. The Doctor of Pharmacy program can provide me with the firsthand experience of compounding which would serve as the jumping board for me to leap out into the research field of autoimmune drugs.
From my volunteer service in community and hospital pharmacies, I have gained a better sense of empathy for people and a better appreciation for what they face in the health care system. It was fulfilling to know the service I provided these people in some small way may have left them in a better condition than when they arrived. The time I have devoted to helping others is just the beginning. I want it to transcend into helping people locally as well as globally. My long term goals include traveling back Egypt several times a year to bring medicine to areas with poor access to health care. To travel and organize pharmacy expeditions in other countries seems daunting. I believe that I have skills will be vital in gaining support to travel halfway around the world to help others.
Dorothy’s dream changed her life and gave her a new perspective. Similarly, with the help of one unplanned job opportunity as well as my family’s experience of diseases, have helped me discover my true passion for pharmacy. I am determined to devote the next four years of my life to becoming a pharmacist.