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BESt Pharmacy Institute Opens Doors

Published on 17 March 2016

Achieving academic success in high school was not difficult for Rim Hadgu. She was a strong student, but she craved a challenge. The summer after her junior year, she enrolled in the BESt Pharmacy Institute and the program proved to be the breath of fresh air she needed.

“It was an eye-opening experience to feel challenged and need to ask for help,” Hadgu said.

The mission of the BESt Pharmacy Institute is to educate, train, and prepare diverse students for a future career in health care, with an emphasis in pharmacy. It began as a collaborative partnership between Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Express Scripts, and St. Louis College of Pharmacy. Since its inception in 2008, every single participant has been accepted to college with 93 percent pursuing health care careers.

Hadgu is now a P3 student at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. After graduation next year, she plans to pursue a residency in clinical pharmacy. None of this would be possible, she says, if it weren’t for the six weeks she spent enrolled in BESt.

“Being surrounded by my fellow classmates pushed me to be my best,” Hadgu said.  “Not only do you get to make friends, the instructors get to be a part of your life. They want to challenge you and help you grow.”

P4 student Mario Coronado has been with BESt since that first summer. He said even though his father graduated from the College and works as a pharmacist, Mario might not have chosen pharmacy without participating in BESt for several years. His experience in BESt, specifically an assignment researching toxicology pharmacy, helped him realize that pharmacy was indeed the right choice. It also sent him down his own path.

“The whole point of that assignment was to emphasize how many career options pharmacists have,” Coronado said.

Despite nearing completion of his pharmacy education, Coronado plans to remain connected to the program that helped him discover his passion. In fact, last summer, Coronado was invited to be an instructor at BESt.

“Everyone in the program has a desire to learn and inspire,” Coronado said. “Whether it’s the students or instructors who come back year after year, everyone is excited. There’s a great positive energy that makes it fun for everyone.”

The deadline to apply to this summer’s BESt Pharmacy Institute is April 1. More information about the program and prerequisites can be found at stlcop.edu/best. .

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