UH Hilo pharmacy alum advocates for independent drugstores
Katie Bass was recently selected for the prestigious Bowl of Hygeia Award from the California Pharmacists Association.
An alumnus of the pharmacy program at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is now the owner and pharmacist in charge at a community-oriented drugstore in Planada, California. San Joaquin Drug is Planada’s only drugstore and was among the first in the area to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations, reports the Merced County Times.
Dr. Bass, 33, was recently selected for the prestigious Bowl of Hygeia Award from the California Pharmacists Association. This annual award honors one California pharmacist for exemplary community involvement and providing patients with accessible health care through expanded pharmacy services.
“I believe in the work I am doing. I know I am helping the community. Compassion is an important theme in my life. I can’t see how someone could be a health care provider without the empathy,” Bass said.
Dr. Bass was born in Merced but says Planada has been a huge part of her life. Her parents bought San Joaquin Drug in August 2000 and she bought the pharmacy from them in April 2019.
San Joaquin Drug, on Highway 140 going through Planada, is a full service pharmacy offering free delivery, COVID-19 testing, immunizations, patient education, and more.
Bass says one of her favorite parts of being a pharmacist is the patient interaction she gets. She believes druggists interact more with patients than any other health care provider. She says pharmacists are the number two most-trusted professionals, next to nurses.
Bass received her doctorate in pharmacy in 2014 from UH Hilo, located in the rural area of East Hawai‘i. In rural, isolated communities, Bass says some residents are apt to be minority, low-income and underserved. Some don’t trust the health care system, and this can lead to vaccine resistance. But a pharmacist, Bass believes, is the most accessible health car provider out there.
She urges consumers to support locally-owned businesses and says they will be surprised to find out they are competitive with the big chain stores.
Read the full story at the Merced County Times.