“To me, every case feels personal. I treat every patient like a family member.” – Narin, PharmD, Lowell CHC Clinical Pharmacist
At Lowell CHC, our Clinical Pharmacists work closely within care teams to help patients optimize their medications, with an emphasis on prevention and quality of life. What does this look like?
Meet Narin, a Clinical Pharmacist. In 2021, she was one of the first team members hired by Program Director Amy Sullivan. Born in Cambodia, Narin arrived in the US as a refugee when she was a toddler. Her work in our Metta Health Center always felt personal. Today, Metta serves the unique health needs of newcomers from around the globe, but was originally founded in 2000 to provide hope and healing to Cambodian refugees – patients like Boupha*.
Boupha had been struggling to control her diabetes for decades. But in recent years her blood glucose levels were so unpredictable she never knew when a dizzy spell would lead to a fall or loss of consciousness – often sending her to the hospital. Fearful even to leave home, she had lost hope that things would or could get better. Sensing a fresh approach was needed, her primary care provider asked Narin to help.
There was an immediate connection. Both speak Khmer, which meant conversations could flow more naturally. Narin, who has diabetes herself, could provide an even deeper level of empathy and understanding.
“Especially speaking their language, I build that trust that helps patients open up,” Narin explains.
“All of us on the team, we have a drive to give back. We approach every situation with a ‘we can fix this’ attitude. It’s what our patients deserve.” – Amy Sullivan, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacy Director
Our Clinical Pharmacy program is one of the newest ways we are providing critical linkages in care that focus on understanding and removing barriers to good health – both in and out of the exam room.
Narin learned that not only were Boupha’s current medications not effectively managing her diabetes, but they were costing her hundreds of dollars a month.
Narin quickly determined that she was a good candidate for a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), a small device that tracks a patient’s levels 24/7. This real-time feedback helps patients and their care team better understand the impact of factors like medication, food, and exercise – and how they work together.
For Boupha, the monitor has been life changing. Narin recommended a new medication and dosage that would be more effective, for a fraction of the cost. She also connected Boupha with our nutritionist to help her think more proactively about her diet. Making small adjustments over time, they worked together to prevent the dangerous episodes that kept her at home. The best part? Boupha’s hope has returned, motivating her to re-engage with her care and community.
When Boupha met Narin, her A1C (a measure of how well a patient’s diabetes is being controlled) was at 10.5, putting her at risk for severe health complications. Now, she’s down to a much healthier 6.9.
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*Name and some details have been changed to protect patient privacy.