When Magdi Awad, Pharm.D., came to the United States in 2001, he arrived with one goal — to finish the pharmacy education that he had started in his home country of Egypt.
After finishing pharmacy school, Dr. Awad completed an ambulatory care residency at a Federally Qualified Health Center – a facility that offers medical care to the underserved. It wasn’t long after that residency that Dr. Awad joined Northeast Ohio Medical University as a shared faculty member with AxessPointe Community Health Center, a FQHC serving the Greater Akron, Ohio area.
Dr. Awad originally served as a clinical pharmacist at AxessPointe, but his role eventually developed into the director of pharmacy. In this capacity, he oversees clinical services and other dispensing pharmacy locations for the nonprofit. It’s a role that he finds enormously gratifying, because of the ways it allows him to help patients in a holistic way—and teach his students to do the same.
“We often have a certain idea about what we can do as pharmacists when we join pharmacy school because of prior experiences as interns, technicians or in the hospital and community settings. Students don’t realize that they can do much more. We allow them to see that we do much more than just dispense medications. Seeing them want to be part of this role and pursue positions like this — that’s what I like most about my role as faculty,” says Dr. Awad.
Teaching students to help the underserved
Many of Dr. Awad’s patients are underserved, with limited resources. In his role as faculty, he demonstrates to first-year students through PGY2 residents from the College of Pharmacy how pharmacists can help such patients manage medical conditions such as pain, diabetes or COPD.
Working in a shared location with other health care professionals, such as physicians, dentists and behavioral health experts, Dr. Awad teaches the importance of working as a team in health care.
“We share electronic health records and we communicate directly. Everyone in the pharmacy has access to and communicates with the medical team. This way we tackle the source of our patients’ problems and stay on the same page,” says Dr. Awad.
As Dr. Awad’s role in the pharmacy continues to expand, he leans on his training from NEOMED’s Health-System Pharmacy Administration program, from which he earned a Master of Science degree.
“The HSPA degree has benefited me a lot,” says Dr. Awad. “From a business perspective, I now understand much more about the financial models and assessment of productivity, and about personnel management. I also know more about quality improvement and other disciplines that are related to administration and management.
“We didn’t necessarily learn these things in pharmacy school,” notes Dr. Awad, “but they truly influence how pharmacy departments can succeed.”