When Sakhi Patel donned her first white coat at the School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences’ ceremony Sept. 22, it was more than just a moment of personal achievement. For her, the garment embodies generational dreams and moves her a step closer to helping people in underserved cities such as El Centro, where she was born and raised.
“Getting my white coat is something I have looked forward to for a very long time,” Patel says. “It signifies how the struggles of my family have come to fruition. They came to the United States from India in the ’90s with hopes that the children would be able to pursue higher education here. The white coat shows that I am on my way to being able to serve my community in ways that I have been preparing for throughout my educational career.”
The UCI alumna earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences in July and has opted to seek a graduate degree here. The decision was an easy one, as Patel had an exceptional undergraduate experience, receiving strong support from faculty, staff and fellow students. She was also intrigued by the fact that this is only the third year UCI has offered a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. The inaugural cohort was in 2021.
“The School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences is very innovative because the people involved in putting the curriculum together are so attentive to the needs of the students and what it is we would like to accomplish. I’m really excited to see how our cohort kind of helps shape the program for future classes,” Patel says.
Clinical rotations at UCI are unlike those at other schools, she says, which was another aspect of the program that appealed to her. In addition to serving in clinics, health centers, hospitals and neighborhood pharmacies, students will have opportunities in nontraditional areas, such as academia and industry, as well as in commercial and government health plans and specialty pharmacies.
“I’m really excited about all the expanded rotation settings because they increase awareness of the many career paths open to pharmacists,” Patel says. “But as far as me personally, I’m more interested in directly working with patients and developing personal relationships.
“My white coat will be a daily reminder to uphold the responsibilities that come with the profession of pharmacy and to continue to make my family and community proud through service in this field.”
If you want to learn more about supporting this or other activities at UCI, please visit the Brilliant Future website at https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu. By engaging 75,000 alumni and garnering $2 billion in philanthropic investment, UCI seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more. The School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences plays a vital role in the success of the campaign. Learn more by visiting https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu/school-of-pharmacy-and-pharmaceutical-sciences.