Fulfilling a Lifelong Dream
Published on 18 March 2019
Throughout her life, Carol Hotze Hermann, B.S. ’91, had dreamed of setting off across the globe to help people. As a child, she traveled extensively with her family across Europe and the United States, and as she grew older, her desire to make an international impact flourished.
During her time as a student at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Hermann witnessed firsthand the impact that pharmacists could make in the local community and wondered how she could take her skills a step further in order to make a positive impact on those overseas.
“I realized that pharmacists are a perfect addition to interprofessional health care teams because every health care professional works with medication,” she said. “Pharmacy is one of the most integrated health care professions because of its broad scope.”
After graduating from the College, the demands of raising a family, giving back to her local community and pursuing a career in pharmacy, forced Hermann to put her dream of becoming an international humanitarian aside for many years.
It wasn’t until her fiftieth birthday inched closer that Hermann decided to turn her dream of traveling abroad to help others into a reality. She began researching different programs that would allow her to make the largest impact abroad.
“At 49 years old, I joined the local Rotary Club in Lodi, Wisconsin, a town with a population of 3,000 people, and told them about my dream of participating in Rotary International,” she said. “Within six months of joining, I signed up for a medical mission trip to Guatemala.”
Hermann flew to Guatemala and went straight to work setting up a pharmacy in a schoolyard. She stocked shelves, assembled pharmacy equipment and worked alongside other professionals to get the pharmacy up and running.
“Setting up the pharmacy in Guatemala allowed me to utilize different decision-making skills,” she said. “When resources are limited, you have to figure out how to best serve your patients.”
During a second medical mission trip to Guatemala, she assisted a pediatric dentist in providing teeth cleanings and sealants to children. Hermann also provided the dentist with medication recommendations and dosing instructions for pediatric patients undergoing more extensive dental procedures.
“The children were in a lot of pain because of tooth decay,” she said. “It was critical that we figure out a way to help calm them, so I recommended that the dentist use lorazepam to help the children relax.”
Hermann’s recommendation allowed the dentist to complete the procedure while she spoke with the children to help keep them calm.
“It was rewarding to see the smiles on their faces afterward,” she said. “Successes, like this procedure, are among the many reasons I love being a pharmacist.”
During her most recent medical mission trip, Hermann traveled to Haiti where she helped administer eye drops to help soothe eye pain, recommended medicinal treatments and taught patients how to administer eye drops and ointments.
“Each medical mission trip required the use of different health care skills,” she said. “Our patients had many different needs, which meant our goals were always changing. Through my work abroad, I have worked with a variety of dentists, nurse practitioners, optometrists and physicians, and each one has valued my expertise in helping to treat patients.”
Her diverse international experiences allowed Hermann to see how impactful collaboration across health care professions can be abroad, and she continues to witness it every day as a clinical consultant pharmacist at Omnicare, a division of CVS Pharmacy that specializes in long-term care pharmacy.
As a clinical consultant pharmacist, Hermann works as part of a collaborative, interprofessional health care team consisting of nurses, social workers, dietitians and physicians. Together, they review patients’ profiles and Hermann makes medication recommendations.
“Collaboration is key to the future of pharmacy,” she said. “Whether you’re looking to make an impact in your local community or across the world, working on an interprofessional team is critical for success.”