As a Schweitzer Fellow in 2005, University of Pittsburgh pharmacy
student Lauren Jonkman made it her mission to improve access to
pharmaceutical care for Pittsburghâs homeless population.
Six years later, Jonkman is still going strong: now a clinical
pharmacist and instructor at the University of Pittsburgh School of
Pharmacy, she spends the bulk of her professional time working with
Pittsburghâs free clinics and community health centers to improve access
to medicinesâand ensure the safe and appropriate use of those
medicinesâfor under-resourced and underserved patients.
âWeâve noticed an increase in the number of patients with diabetes
that are coming to [one of the free clinics we work with], and almost
all have really out-of-control diabetes since theyâve been out of care
for quite a while,â Jonkman says. âWeâre creating a multi-pronged
program that meets the needs of our uninsured patients with diabetes and
provides both high-quality clinical care, but also the supportive
services necessary to keep people in care and develop the skills to thrive with diabetes.â
In addition to her day job, Jonkman is an active member of the
Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program Advisory Boardâand sheâs grateful
for the chance to help shape the programâs future.
âI think the Fellowship is truly special because it brings together
students with similar interests who maybe didnât realize that there were
so many people across so many different disciplines that share a
similar philosophy and reverence for life,â Jonkman says. âYou get the
opportunity to form a bond with these other extraordinary people and
learn together to be better leaders in your community and advocates for
âAt the same time, she adds, âyou get the opportunity to âlearn from
doingâ as you implement your own project and brainstorm solutions to all
the challenges and opportunities you encounter throughout the year.Â I
know of no other similar program that develops learners in quite the
As chair of the boardâs program committee, Jonkman has had the
opportunity to continue the journey of leadership she began as a
Schweitzer Fellow in 2005.
âWhile I learned how to better advocate for people in my community as
a Fellow, Iâm learning more about the nuts and bolts of how to run
meetings and organize committees that I maybe wasnât ready for when I
was a Fellow,â Jonkman says.
âAs a Fellow, I had no idea what went into the Fellowship to make it
successful,â she adds.Â âI would see the core group of advisors that we
worked with on a monthly basis, but I didnât observe all background work
that was being done to support the program.Â Itâs really rewarding for
me to be able to give back to the program and help to ensure that it
continues to function smoothly for the Fellows.â
Visit schweitzerfellowship.org/pittsburgh to learn more about the Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program.