As an ambulatory care intern pharmacist working primarily with patients who have Type 2 diabetes in the Bay Area, I have become fascinated by the pharmacist’s role in health care teams. When working with a pharmacist to manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes, patients become more aware of their medication regimen as well as potential side effects they should report right away. Pharmacists can quickly detect drug-drug interactions, which is key to disease management. Detecting drug-drug interactions early in treatment improves patient satisfaction and trust due decreased side effects. As a result, medication adherence improves significantly and hospital readmission rates decline due to better disease control.

Diabetes type 2 prevalence in California continues to rise, in part, due to uncontrolled diets and lack of physical activity. What becomes worrisome are small towns in California, such as Delano, where physician shortages and lack of health insurance is a reality. A possible solution to the high rise in diabetes and physician shortages is to create jobs for clinical pharmacists to help physicians manage chronic diseases. Adding a pharmacist to Delano health care teams will increase the accessibility of healthcare providers and improve the quality of life of so many patients.

Griselda Rivera, student pharmacist