PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University College of Pharmacy students Andrea Fernandez and Yedesdes Shiferaw are recipients of the $2,500 Bill Gaskins Pharmacy Scholarship, established in 2013.

Applications for the 2015 spring semester are due Oct. 15. For more information, contact the Pullman Regional Hospital Foundation at 509-332-2046.

From the Philippines, Fernandez seeks to serve the underprivileged in her place of birth.

“I grew up where good healthcare was only for the people who could afford it,” she said. “The hardships that I experienced in the Philippines inspire me to work harder for my dreams.”

She looks forward to a two-year residency program to gain knowledge and experience in hospital pharmacy in the specialty areas of oncology and infectious disease. She believes an international rotation in Vietnam will also provide her opportunities to help those in need.

Shiferaw, born in a small village in Ethiopia, would accompany her mother to the hospital where she worked as an office assistant. An article about a pharmacist who traveled to different countries with the Red Cross inspired her.

“My long-term goal is to give back to the community as a healthcare provider and work with underserved populations,” she said.

“As a pharmacist I would like to work in a clinical setting where I can challenge myself with different patient cases, have a close interaction with patients and expand my knowledge by being involved in clinical research,” said Shiferaw.

Andrea Howell, director of the Pullman hospital pharmacy, emphasized the importance of recruiting and retaining high quality providers in rural and underserved areas: “Few other fields in healthcare provide immediate access to an expert with just one phone call.”

Gaskins is a WSU alumnus, instructor, mentor, athletic hall of fame inductee and retired director of the Pullman Regional Hospital pharmacy. Upon his retirement, the hospital foundation raised money for a scholarship to honor him and assist pharmacy student interns and residents training in rural pharmacy via clinical rotations at the hospital.

“Bill Gaskins has been devoted to the development of outstanding healthcare professionals through both mentoring and teaching,” said Linda Garrelts MacLean, College of Pharmacy associate dean for advancement and clinical professor. “This scholarship is a great way to continue that legacy, and these women embody the professional values that Bill always upheld.”

“As a former student of Bill’s, I believe it’s a perfect way to honor his legacy of fostering an environment of learning and to share his heart for the underserved,” Howell said.

Tax deductible gifts to the Bill Gaskins Scholars Fund may be made to the Pullman Regional Hospital Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.
[October 3, 2014]