Pharmacy student leaders should be change agents

Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy Rho Chi Society inducts 17 members

Like all professional student pharmacists, those at the Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy face many changes in the profession as they begin their journey as pharmacists.

Lourdes CuellarImportant insight can be provided by someone who’s been there before, and Lourdes Cuéllar, M.S., R.Ph., FASHP, director of pharmacy and clinical support services at TIRR Memorial Hermann in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, shared her experiences  with students April 2, 2013, during the Dean’s Hour. Later that evening, the college’s Rho Chi Society inducted 17 new members into the academic honor society at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Center.

Cuéllar said students need to establish a legacy as they practice patient care by initiating change.

“You have to find your passion,” she said. “That is what is going to take you to work every day.”

 Students cannot wait around for others to make changes, either.

“There’s so much change going on in health care,” Cuéllar said. “We can maximize our profession, or we can go along for the ride.”

An area she sees as a potential opportunity for future pharmacists to step into leadership roles is reaching the 38 percent Hispanic population in Texas. The percentage of Texas pharmacists who were Hispanic or Latino was 3.2 percent in 2000, compared to 12.5 percent of the U.S. population, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resource and Service Administration report.

“I am Hispanic, and the number of Hispanics in pharmacy is very low, yet the population is growing. There are many health disparities in the Valley,” Cuéllar said.

The Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy was created in 2006 in response to the shortage of pharmacists in the Texas border region.