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Pharmacy Alumni Q&A

May 3, 2016

Here at Pacific our faculty are committed to preparing students to be practice-ready professionals who are equipped to take on leadership roles in their profession. Two of our pharmacy alumni share with us the role that Pacific played in their careers and share advice with the next generation of pharmacists.

Paul J. Oesterman '76,PharmD was named the 2015 Nevada Society of Health-System Pharmacists (NVSHP) Hospital Pharmacist of the Year. Recognized throughout his career by his peers, Osterman received the Syntex/Pacific Preceptor of the Year Award in 1985 and the NVSHP Bowl of Hygeia Award in 2008. In 2012 he was the only pharmacist selected to participate in the initial United States Drug Enforcement Agency's Las Vegas Citizens Academy.

For Aram Rahimi '85, PharmD Pacific is much more than where she earned her degree. Her son, Neema Rahimi '17, is following in her footsteps and is currently in the doctor of pharmacy program at Pacific.

What led you to pursue a career in pharmacy?
Oesterman: As a child growing up I was always interested in the medical field. I loved the hospital environment and ended up working in multiple departments including the pharmacy.

Rahimi: My passion for the career in pharmacy started when I was a child watching our neighborhood "old fashioned" pharmacist compounding some antibiotic powder, wrapping it inside some paper and dispensing it to his patients including myself. I was so intrigued by that practice and how miraculously I was cured each time I was given that bitter powder, that I tried to play pharmacist by picking some leaves from to our backyard, crushing them using my mom's mortar and pestle from her kitchen.

How did Pacific help prepare you for a career in pharmacy?
Oesterman: I truly enjoyed the opportunities to participate in community outreach programs and recall many weekends doing blood pressure checks at Weberstown Mall. My education gave me the foundation needed to be a well-versed practitioner, which has allowed me to practice in multiple settings. The most important lesson I learned from the faculty was that your education does not end the day you graduate, that is just the beginning.

Rahimi: I had a great advisor who found out that I had a great passion for hospital pharmacy practice and encouraged me to go through a clinical pharmacy residency program in order to pursue my future career in hospital pharmacy.

How did your time at Pacific prepare you to take on a leadership role in your profession?
Oesterman: The preparation for my career that I received at UOP gave me the opportunity to participate in local, state and national organizations.

Rahimi: My education at Pacific and the encouragements I received from my advisor, Dr. Jeff Jellin ['74], were the main causes of my acceptance to the residency program, which in turn built my strong clinical and administrative skills.

What can students do while they are still in the program to prepare for leadership positions once they enter the field?
Oesterman: Take advantage of select opportunities and give it their all. Student organizations are a great way to start and build friendships that will last a lifetime.

Rahimi: Take any didactic elective courses which can strengthen their knowledge and skills in pharmacy management practice in addition to shadowing a pharmacy manager or director during their rotations, followed with a pharmacy residency program. Diversify your knowledge and expertise so you can take advantage of all the exciting job opportunities.

What individuals have been influential to your career?
Oesterman: My mother, Helen, instilled a strong work ethic in me and made sure I always did the right thing. The Pharmacy Director at Marin General Hospital, Jack S. Heard, who was president of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists took me under his wing, as a high school student, and provided me the opportunity to experience and develop my passion for hospital pharmacy practice and the team approach to healthcare.

Rahimi: Dr. Jim Blankenship, my pharmacology professor, Dr. Donald Floriddia ['71], my pharmacokinetics professor and Dr. Katherine Knapp, my pathophysiology professor.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in pharmacy?
Oesterman: Talk to various people in various practice settings and ask a lot of questions then decide if it is right for you. Try to shadow a practitioner if at all possible.

Rahimi: I would tell them the pharmacy program at Pacific is one of the best in the country and certainly in the state of California and once they graduate from the program they will be among many highly distinguished and successful pharmacists serving their communities.

Please share a fond memory from your time at Pacific.
Oesterman: Dorm life in Grace Covell Hall created some lifelong friendships. Saturday night football games at Stagg stadium. The whir that was created when the "Pacifican" newspaper that came out on April 1, 1975 or 1976 with the headlines that the Beatles were going to get together and perform at UOP - not realizing that this was an April Fool's joke.

Rahimi: The day I won the patient education contest and was awarded an expensive patient education guidebook.

Please share your professional recognitions or exciting accomplishments by visiting and submitting your story.

about the author

Anne Marie H. Bergthold  

Anne Marie H. Bergthold is the Marketing Coordinator for Pacific's Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy.

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