Along her path to becoming a pharmacist, Dana Le aspires to use her knowledge and compassion to help others manage their wellbeing and health.
Le’s future in pharmacy is bright, as evidenced by her four years as an undergraduate student at the University of California, Irvine, where she built a sense of community among her classmates through the Pre-Pharmacy Society (PPS).
“During my first quarter at UCI, I joined the Pre-Pharmacy Society,” said Le, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences at this year’s commencement. “This was a big step for me because I wasn’t really involved in clubs in high school. PPS has helped shape me into a well-rounded individual who knows how to work in a team, is no longer afraid of public speaking, and can plan large-scale events.”
Each year, PPS hosts the UCI Pre-Pharmacy Day, where more than 20 pharmacy schools from across the country visit UCI to speak about their programs. Despite being held virtually the past few years, the annual event continues to be extremely popular, providing opportunities for pre-pharmacy students to connect with a wide range of schools.
Le served as the president of PPS this year, and she’s grateful for the chance to mentor other students.
“I had the wonderful opportunity to use my personal experiences to guide aspiring pre-pharmacy students from all backgrounds, helping them find their own path in pharmacy while also supporting their personal growth,” says Le. “I probably wouldn’t have made it this far without all of the amazing opportunities and support that the UC Irvine School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences provided to me.”
Le’s introduction to pharmacy came at an early age. In fact, her mother has been a pharmacist for the past 30 years.
“Ever since I was a kid, I had really bad eczema, and the skin on my fingers was always red and cracked,” Le recalls. “I remember struggling to grip my pencil in class in fourth grade. My mother often came home with new treatments to try to alleviate the painful flares that I had. I have always admired how she uses her medication knowledge as a pharmacist to positively impact me and others in her life.”
These experiences inspired her to pursue a career in pharmacy where she hopes to improve health care for local communities. Currently, Le works in two pharmacies where she assists pharmacists in providing medication therapy management services to increase patients’ adherence to their chronic medications and to improve their overall health outcomes.
“Working at two different pharmacies has allowed me to see the contrast between patients from varying socioeconomic statuses, and it has really opened my eyes to the disparities between their social determinants of health,” reflects Le. “I enjoy helping and empowering patients to improve their health by providing continual education, discussing potential treatment barriers, and through regular check-ins.”
This fall, Le will continue her journey by attending the UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “I hope to become an ambulatory care pharmacist in the future,” says Le. “That specific field resonated with me the most because I want to make a positive impact on patients’ lives through proper medication education and chronic disease state management.” Now a UCI alumna, Le gives sound advice to incoming undergraduate students: “Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone,” Le says. “At UCI, there are so many opportunities. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Take that leap of faith. Talk to new people. You’re going to make a lot of amazing connections at UCI. Your studies are very important, but it’s also what you do with your college experience that is important, too.”