2022 Grad Stories: Yvette Hernandez

May 11, 2022

CHSU Pharmacy Grad Advocates for Health in Bakersfield

Dr. Yvette Hernandez, CHSU College of Pharmacy Class of 2022 graduate and Bakersfield native understands firsthand how important it is for a health care provider to be able to connect with their patients through their native language.

Through her experience as a medical assistant, her clinical pharmacy rotations, and internships, Dr. Hernandez met patients throughout the Valley that were affected by this language barrier. She knew as a bilingual pharmacist she wanted to be a part of the solution.

During her time at CHSU, she and her peers in the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) had the opportunity to work with underserved patients at COVID-19 vaccination events in Lamont, a small Spanish-speaking community near Bakersfield. There she helped translate between the health care providers and patients, explaining instructions about the vaccination process and answering any questions these Spanish-speaking patients had.

“Speaking in Spanish opens up the Spanish-speaking patient because often times when I offer a medication consultation in English, they’ll decline. They’re either embarrassed or know they won’t understand in English. But when I talk to them in Spanish they open up and tell me their concerns or questions,” said Dr. Hernandez. “So it definitely helps them learn more about their conditions and their medications if I’m able to speak in their language.”

Dr. Hernandez is a first-generation college student and the first doctor in her family. Her grandfather had immigrated from Mexico to build a life here in the US. She was inspired to become a pharmacist and help her Spanish-speaking community by her mother, who wanted to become a physician herself, but chose to raise a family instead.

Dr. Hernandez became a medical assistant in high school and worked through undergrad at a family practice medical office. She loved math, chemistry and talking to people, so she found pharmacy to be the right fit.

“I knew wanted to be a pharmacist. When I see patients, I see my grandparents and my family, And I want to help them just as others have helped my family,” said Dr. Hernandez.

She has a passion for learning about different cultures and languages. Many of her favorite memories from her time at CHSU were of the cultural events that taught students about different cultures and religions, tying that back to how they can use that knowledge as a pharmacist to connect with and understand patients.

“You come to know your patients like they’re your family. When I see a sick patient, I want to help them improve their health. Just because I’m a pharmacist, it doesn’t mean I push medication. I push health. I want to help them towards a path of better health,” said Dr. Hernandez.

During her time at CHSU, she also served in other organizations, such as a member of the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA), was president of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA), was the P2 Class President in 2019-2020, and was a student liaison for the Central Valley Pharmacists Association and she was asked to stay on as a board member for the organization.

She also was awarded the California Health Sciences University Value Award for Integrity, by keeping promises, fulfilling expectations and by aligning her beliefs, thoughts and actions, adhering to the highest ethical and professional standards in academics, research, and/or health care.

After graduation, she plans to work as a retail pharmacist in Bakersfield to have a personal impact on promoting health in her community.

The Graduation Ceremony to honor Dr. Yvette Hernandez 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.

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