SPHS 9 26 17 Future Pharmacist

Kim Nguyen Selected as Future Pharmacist of the Year

In her fourth and final year of the PharmD program, Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) student Kim Nguyen earned selection as the 2017 Future Pharmacist of the Year at an awards gala held at the San Diego Zoo in August.

Nguyen led the development and implementation of Come and Meet Pharmacy Days (PharmCAMP), an engagement program that exposes primary and secondary school students from underserved communities to careers in pharmacy.

“In developing PharmCAMP, our vision was to foster life learning as a means for self-growth for all students,” Nguyen said. “Our mission was to inspire all students to pursue higher education.”

The first annual on-campus PharmCAMP was held on March 4 and 5. The event included approximately 150 student attendees and 100 volunteers. Christine Cadiz, Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences, served as Nguyen’s mentor and supported the KGI leaders throughout the planning stages.

“Kim’s passion for pharmacy is evident through her strong academic performance, leadership roles, and active involvement in clinical practice, research, and community outreach,” Cadiz said. “Kim always displays professionalism, a positive attitude, and integrity in her interactions with others. Her passion and leadership abilities brought together KGI student leaders from ten student organizations to develop and implement a successful inaugural PharmCAMP.”

During Nguyen’s three years at KGI, she has stayed active in community outreach projects. In January 2017, she guided the Vietnamese-American Pharmacy Student Association (VAPSA) through its first service trip to Vietnam.

The 10-day trip included 11 VAPSA members, who accomplished their goal of providing pharmaceutical and medical care, along with other charitable services, to the underserved communities in Southern Vietnam.

“We traveled to four different counties and were able to reach out and impact more than five hundred people, ranging from five to seventy years old,” Nguyen said. “We were able to make a difference in the lives of the patients and as student pharmacists, we gained a valuable experience that influenced our cultural, professional, and educational growth.”

To prepare for the trip, VAPSA collected funds and materials through donations and fundraising efforts. The group was able to purchase more than 32,348 counts of OTC medication such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and docusate sodium, as well as 100 eye drops, 560 pain relief patches, 350 unit doses of triple-antibiotic ointment, and school supplies that included hundreds of pens, pencils, and notebooks.

“I grew up in an underserved community, but I’ve been fortunate to have amazing mentors at every grade level, all the way up through KGI’s School of Pharmacy,” Nguyen said. “They encouraged and supported me at every step of the way. PharmCAMP and the VAPSA trip are my ways of giving back. Our KGI students want to offer the type of support that can change lives.”

In the San Diego ceremony that honored the Future Pharmacist honorees, Nguyen and the other award winners were recognized as pharmacists who represent the future vision of the profession.

“This year’s Next-Generation Pharmacist finalists are the pharmacy leaders of today who embody our standards of innovation and inspiration in pharmacy, and represent the future vision of the profession,” said Pharmacy Times editor-in-chief Troy Trygstad. “We congratulate this diverse group of gifted men and women and celebrate all their accomplishments across a wide range of practice settings.”