Pharmacist focused on service, matching needsTweet
By Cindy Abole
Community outreach champion, tireless advocate and trusted pharmacy professional: These are only a few ways to describe new graduate Christian Younts, PharmD.
Younts embodies the characteristics that every pharmacy professional needs to prepare for a life of service to her patients. She is an exceptional retail and community pharmacist, a role model in professionalism and is passionate about improving the health care needs of people, especially disadvantaged populations.
|Dr. Christian Younts helps a young boy use a makeshift spacer inhaler, made out of a water bottle, to deliver medication to his lungs. Younts was part of a student team that volunteered at an outreach pharmacy in Uganda in 2012.|
At the retail pharmacy where she works as a graduate intern, Younts speaks and translates Spanish daily and sports a lapel button that reads “Yo hablo Español.”
“When I realized I was helping the store and our customers out in this way, I realized that I found my calling. This is where I’m supposed to be,” said Younts.
The Reno, Nev., native found a way to blend two passions, Spanish and science, into what she plans to be – a long-serving pharmacist.
At the May 16 hooding ceremony of MUSC’s campus of the South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Younts was presented with the national RESPy (respect, excellence, and service in pharmacy) award for her community service work. She is among eight recipients in 2013 to receive this honor. The award is sponsored by Pharmacy Times in conjunction with Wal-Mart.
Cathy Worrall, PharmD, assistant dean for Student Affairs and Experiential Education at the SCCP-MUSC campus, praised Younts’ efforts in her nomination for the award. “Christian has made significant contributions to the pharmaceutical care of the Hispanic population in the Charleston area and underserved populations both locally and globally,” wrote Worrall.
As a retail pharmacy technician, Younts started out volunteering at community health fairs and found that her Spanish language skills were invaluable in these settings. A good friend and medical school graduate student, Kelly Lambright, M.D., encouraged her to volunteer with MUSC’s Alliance for Hispanic Health. It was through this organization that she cut her teeth in networking and outreach.
As a pharmacy student, she worked in the MUSC operating room pharmacy. In her spare time, she devoted countless hours with the Alliance helping with community service projects, organizing health fairs, setting up free screening clinics, recruiting volunteers and matching people’s needs to services within the community. A defining part of this work was helping in a research study to assess the health of Charleston’s Hispanic community. The study, now in its third round of funding, examines health disparities among migrant and settled Hispanic populations through outreach and collaboration. Younts was instrumental in bridging the needs and requirements of the study with leaders in the Hispanic community.
“Charleston is a hub, and MUSC is well known and respected among the Lowcountry’s Hispanic population. Through this and other programs with the College of Nursing, Institute of Psychiatry and efforts that connect needs to services, we were able to work with them and build a relationship based on mutual trust and respect,” Younts said.
|Christian Younts, PharmD, poses with children in Ecuador.|
Younts’ community service work allowed her to extend her practice skills and cultural experiences to international populations through mission trips in Uganda and Ecuador. There, she completed month-long rotations, working with interdisciplinary health care teams, translating evaluation tools and serving people in those communities. She plans to participate in other trips to Brazil and Nicaragua and continue to be an active advocate for the Hispanic community and others through her profession.
Younts is a 2007 graduate of the College of Charleston with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish. She feels her love and connection to the Spanish and Central American culture was born through family roots left by her great-great-grandfather who worked temporarily in the silver mines near Guadalajara, Mexico. She also joined her father in several church mission trips to Cerro Gordo, Mexico.
“I feel it was always my destiny to someday embrace these two cultures – Spanish and Irish-American – not only for historical family reasons but because how this connection has made me the person I am today,” Younts said.
In pharmacy school, Younts held memberships with the Beta Chi chapter of the Lambda Sigma National Pharmacy Leadership Society, American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists and Christian Pharmacist Fellowship International. She is a member of Seacoast Church in Mount Pleasant and a certified Zumba fitness instructor.
“As I graduate, I’m very honored to be a student from this institution. MUSC has done a lot of great things to reach out to people from all cultures. There are so many people that I want to thank who believed in me and helped me get through pharmacy school and make my dream a reality,” Younts said.May 16, 2013