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UPHARM Students

UPHARM students have a critical understanding of rural life and the medically underserved condition of many rural communities. UPHARM students want to practice pharmacy in rural Illinois and want to be leaders in the communities where they work and live.

  • Enjoy working with people of diverse cultural backgrounds
  • Have been involved in extracurricular and service learning in urban communities
  • Are interested in the factors that cause and perpetuate health and health care disparities
  • Are interested in complementary and alternative pharmacy modalities
  • Have taken courses in social and behavioral sciences that have exposed them to issues affecting various groups in society

Why Did You Choose the UPHARM Program at the UIC College of Pharmacy? Heading link

Kevin He Pictured here

I applied for the UPHARM program because I always had a passion for serving the underserved. The most rewarding aspect of this program was being able to give back to the community that I grew up in. My capstone project was focused on hypertension in the Asian-American population. My colleagues and I volunteered at the Midwest Asian Health Association in Chinatown once a month to educate the patients about hypertension and counsel them about their blood pressure reading. After completing this program, I feel confident in my ability to practice in underserved communities.

Kevin He, Class of 2021

Paul Majercak pictured here

I applied to UPHARM to give to communities on a longitudinal basis. The UPHARM program promotes students to volunteer their time in one community and this has helped me to develop relationships over the past 3 years. UPHARM helps students reach communities that we would otherwise not be exposed to and helps us to learn and experience the social determinants of health. This program has helped to shape me into a pharmacist that is more aware of aspects of patient health outside of medications alone.

Paul Majercak, Class of 2022

Alfredo Alvarez pictured here

I applied to the UPHARM program because I wanted to apply what I would learn in the classroom into the needs of minority populations in urban settings. UPHARM educates us on the needs and challenges of numerous populations and how we can overcome those obstacles to provide valuable patient care. As Mexican American, I can relate to the struggles of many underserved communities. Once we directly serve the people in need, we are more than ready to deliver optimized patient care for better health outcomes.

Alfredo Alvarez, Class of 2023

Celeste Guzman pictured here

Helping the underserved communities has always been a passion of mine. In the past, I was able to accomplish this goal through volunteering and traveling to different areas to provide medical relief. However, I knew I had to do more. UIC COP’s UPHARM program allows pharmacy to answer Chicago’s desperate call for advancement of health equity through its active role in the community and emphasis on diversity. I applied to the UPHARM program because I want to learn more about the complex web of the social, environmental, and economic factors that disproportionately affect many of Chicago’s vulnerable communities. By doing so, I will bring a better understanding of the complexities surrounding our healthcare system and be better equipped to take a more active role as a pharmacist in medically underserved communities.

Celeste Guzman, Class of 2024

Kamilah James pictured here

I applied to be a part of the UPHARM program because I wanted to be educated on health issues that are seen in marginalized communities. One of my main goals as a future healthcare professional is to help bridge the gap between urban communities and the medical field. The UPHARM program provides me with the skills needed to address these issues in medically underserved communities. While allowing me to apply these learned skills in community outreach programs.

Kamilah James, Class of 2024

Waad Ibrahim Osman pictured here

The reason I chose to join the UPHARM program is because I wanted to study more about the underserved communities here in the United States. As a Black Muslim woman, I know the struggles women people in my demographic receive when it comes to accessing basic healthcare. Through this program, I wanted to see how people in other communities struggle and how to best serve them. I wanted to understand the system that oppresses these communities so that we as future healthcare professionals can play the system in our favor and grant the healthcare needed for these struggling communities.

Waad Ibrahim Osman, Class of 2024

Jessica Wagner pictured here

I applied to the UPHARM program in order to improve my understanding of our medically underserved urban communities. I envision myself residing and practicing in an urban community post-graduation, and want to best equip myself with the knowledge of the health disparities that will undoubtedly affect my patients. My experience thus far in the UPHARM program has granted me with invaluable knowledge surrounding the challenges urban communities face, and I am beyond excited to start my community-based project throughout the next few years that will grant me firsthand experience dealing with these challenges. I believe the UPHARM program will equip me with knowledge of the best practices I can implement as a healthcare professional that will improve patient outcomes in an urban community.

Jessica Wagner, Class of 2024