From Clinic Care to Prison Pharmacy: Fresno Native Looks Forward to Helping the Underserved
For Dr. Alexa Crown, CHSU College of Pharmacy Class of 2022 graduate and Fresno native, becoming a pharmacist means that she can help bridge the gap between patients and their health care providers. Growing up in northwest Fresno, she saw the agricultural and rural community sometimes struggle with finding access to health care.
“Here in the Central Valley, if a patient doesn’t have health care, they come to the pharmacy first because they don’t know where else to go,” said Dr. Crown. “But coming to a pharmacy is a step in the right direction because we can help direct them to where they need to get help or recommend an over-the-counter solution.”
But even patients that are seeing their physician regularly also find it beneficial to develop a relationship with their local pharmacist. A pharmacist is often the first line of defense when it comes to identifying medication contraindications.
“A lot of the time doctors can’t see the whole picture because a patient either doesn’t know, or isn’t fully relaying, all their medications to the doctor. As a pharmacist, I get that behind-the-scenes picture and can help create a better plan for patients to prevent them from taking something that they shouldn’t because of other diagnoses or something that interferes with another medication,” said Dr. Crown.
While she is excited to work in the pharmacy clinic setting after graduation, she one day hopes to work in the prison system as a pharmacist. During one of her rotations, she had the opportunity to help with inmate patient workups at Madera Hospital. She found the experience rewarding and it opened her eyes to a unique pharmacy environment.
“It’s a different patient population that you don’t see every day. These patients have different comorbidities, their treatments may not be managed as well on a day-to-day basis, and there may be a history of drug and alcohol usage that affects their treatment. Some people also may have a negative perception of these patients, but they still need to be cared for. So, I think that’s where I’ll be able to help as a pharmacist,” said Dr. Crown.
Dr. Crown comes from a family of health care professionals including nurses and physical therapists and growing up she had the unique opportunity to see the wide variety of health care professions. She found that the pharmacy profession would allow her to become a vital part of a patient’s health care team, helping patients understand their medications and how to use them. She was excited to be accepted into the CHSU Doctor of Pharmacy program.
During her time at CHSU, Dr. Crown was involved in the CHSU Ambassadors program as a Lead Ambassador, was a tutor and teaching assistant, was involved with the Prospero program, held leadership positions in Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA), and was a member of the California Society of Health Systems Pharmacists (CSHP).
She also was awarded the Granville Homes Outstanding Graduate Award in recognition of exceptional academic performance, demonstrating excellence within our University mission’s setting and being a compassionate, highly trained, intellectually curious, collaborative and adaptive leader capable of meeting the health care needs of the future.
Some of her favorite memories from pharmacy school were participating in the various cultural and holiday-oriented activities that are a signature part of the interactive culture at CHSU. She developed lifelong friendships throughout her time at CHSU and is excited to have her peers as colleagues in the profession.
After graduation, Dr. Crown will be working at a health clinic in Madera after passing her board exams.
The Graduation Ceremony to honor Dr. Alexa Crown and her peers in the CHSU College of Pharmacy Class of 2022 will be held Saturday, May 14, 2022.
The 2022 Grad Stories is a series dedicated to honoring our California Health Sciences University (CHSU) Doctor of Pharmacy graduates and showcasing their accomplishments throughout their time at CHSU while earning their PharmD degree.