First-year student found hope in pharmacist

For many, making a major career choice is not an easy decision. However, choosing a career was not so difficult for David Guzman, a first-year professional student pharmacist at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. His drive for becoming a pharmacist was fueled by his past. Growing up in an underserved population forced Guzman to see the struggle that many had to receive proper health care services.

Growing up in Brownsville, Texas, he was close to his mother and stuck by her side, going everywhere with her, but as the years passed, his mother’s health began to fade.

David Guzman, a first-year professional student pharmacist at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy.

David Guzman, a first-year professional student pharmacist at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy.

“When I was 11, my mother underwent a triple bypass surgery; soon after, doctor visits became frequent due to her renal failure,” said Guzman. “The appointments were located 30 miles north in Harlingen, because Brownsville, at that time, was greatly underserved in the medical field.”

At the appointments, Guzman was often left in the dark about what was happening with his mother’s health.

Being young, clinic policies did not allow him to enter the patient room with his mother. He was left in the waiting room until his mother was finished with her appointment. Although he did not get to experience the interaction between doctor and patient, his interests still piqued.

Unlike the clinic, the pharmacy allowed him to experience what helping a patient was like. Guzman was able to see the help a pharmacist could provide any patient. Whether it was explaining what the side effects of medication were or what natural supplements worked best, the pharmacist seemed to help those in need.

“I saw the guidance and compassion that the pharmacist always had. For me, the pharmacist was a stranger, but acted as family,” said Guzman. “He soon became the symbol of hope which acknowledged my mother and me. From those moments, I knew that I wanted to spend my days helping and comforting families like that pharmacist did for us.”

He graduated from Texas A&M University-Kingsville in May 2013, where he worked on his pre-pharmacy curriculum.

“I was able to incorporate what I learned in class to my research where I worked with the synthesis and inhibition of a protein,” he said.

For Guzman, choosing an institution for his career path was just as easy as choosing a career. When he was only 13-years-old, the news of the first professional school south of San Antonio made headlines in his hometown. As a born and raised native of South Texas, he saw the opportunity to attend the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy as a dream come true.

Another major deciding factor for Guzman was the progression at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy. It is ranked in the Top 50 pharmacy programs in the U.S. in a short amount of time.

“The Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy promotes superior health services and advocacy; I was able to observe that just by stepping into area stores,” said Guzman. “For this reason, I saw the school as an opportunity to be closer to home and serve the people of my community that have done so much for me.”

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