Clinic needs pharmacists

Published 9:15 pm Friday, July 31, 2015

For the majority of my life I have been a resident of Suffolk.

It’s something that I’ve always been proud of. I can remember competing in pageants, and when it came time to introduce myself, I took pride in saying “I bring you greetings from Peanut City, Suffolk.” There’s something about the city’s charm, humanity, people and warmth.

Yet and still my love for Suffolk hadn’t come full circle until I began my fourth year pharmacy rotation at Western Tidewater Free Clinic. WTFC offers free medical and dental services to uninsured citizens of Western Tidewater.

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The majority of the staff consists of medical professionals who are volunteers. These are people who could be picking up extra shifts, seeing extra patients, and making extra money. But they have forfeited the extra, to be a blessing to someone less fortunate.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to work beside such talented and selfless volunteers. I am more than honored to serve the patients — actually neighbors in my community. Their gratitude is moving.

In the short amount of time I’ve been there I’ve received much appreciation through watery eyes and choked words. They’re saddened that they’re unable to repay us for the care we are giving.

Still, things could be better. WTFC is in need of licensed pharmacists who are able to devote their time to their community. The pharmacists who currently staff the clinic are all volunteers and work as their schedules allow.

My preceptor, Margaret Rosner, has been a Godsend for the clinic. However, there is only so much she can do.

Most of our patients have a hard time getting transportation to the clinic, and many times if a pharmacist is not available, patients are unable to get their medications. This means patients often go days without the medications they need to keep them out of the hospital.

I am calling out to the pharmacists in our community to help aid our neighbors in getting healthy and staying healthy, ensuring they are able receive their medication in a timely manner.

Let’s establish our presence in the community. Let’s show Suffolk who pharmacists are, what we do, and how we can provide exceptional care. Let’s call on our neighbors to help us to achieve provider status. Let’s provide in every capacity we are able.

“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived — this is to have succeeded.”

This quote explains so eloquently my goal in life. When I graduate in May, I plan to devote a portion of my time to WTFC . Every time I think of moving I get a sense that Suffolk needs me: my efforts, my talents and my time.

Charity B. Strothers is studying pharmacy at the Hampton University School of Pharmacy. Email her at