Hoa Bui is a first generation Vietnamese-American who wants to help people have a quality and non-judgemental health care experience. The experiences of her parents and grandparents are why she’s pursuing a career in pharmacy.
“Health care has always been an interesting and complicated matter to me,” Bui said. “With parents and grandparents who are from Vietnam, [I know] they faced difficulties with finding a health care team that relates to them. The concept of Western medicine was foreign to them since they relied on herbal medicine in Vietnam. I am pursuing pharmacy for people like my parents, so that they can have someone who understands and relates to them. Also, to be a person who will not judge their preference to herbal medicine because of their personal backgrounds and beliefs.”
Bui grew up in the Twin Cities, and attended the University of Minnesota, where she graduated with a bachelor’s in chemistry in 2014. She then spent the next two years working as a pharmacy technician in a community pharmacy and at a pharmacy benefits manager. After two years away from school, Bui returned to the education setting at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Duluth. She recently completed her PharmD degree along with a master’s in public health as part of the College of Pharmacy’s class of 2020.
“I did apply and receive many offers from other pharmacy schools; however I chose to be a student at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy because of the vast number of professors with dedicated expertise and research,” Bui said. “I also chose it because it was closer to home.”
Bui has enjoyed the network of support that is provided by the college, as well as the many opportunities she has been afforded. During her time at the college, Bui has gained valuable experience by working at Cub Pharmacy and Walgreens Pharmacy. She has also had the opportunity to participate in many extracurricular activities. She was the Generation Rx coordinator, Operation Heart coordinator, and Multicultural Pharmacy Student Organization (MPSO) health outreach coordinator; all three of these groups focused on raising awareness of individual health. While working with these organizations, Bui teamed with other patient care student groups to bring health fairs to the community, where point-of-care testings, such as blood-pressure readings, were offered.
“Health fairs are some of the best times I have at the college,” Bui said. “Taking what I have learned in the classroom and applying it in real life is my way of learning. The health fairs that I have had the opportunity to plan and serve at were located at places that may not have access to health care. For example, Operation Heart holds an annual health fair at Rainbow Health Center due to their senior population. I have been told by a few residents that they always look forward to the health fair as it is their only time to check in on their health.”
The experiences Bui received from working at the health fairs have improved her ability to tackle the problems that invoked her to pursue pharmacy in the first place. In dealing with the diverse groups of people at the fairs, Bui has been able to better understand the cultural differences that make up her community. She believes this will help her engage with each individual patient and work with them to improve their health in her future career as a community pharmacist.
Bui is excited to take the lessons she has learned and use them to offer all people the level of comfort and respect they deserve in their health care experience.