“Ever since I was 16 I wanted to go to med school,” says second-year pharmacy student Miya Holley. Being diagnosed with Type I diabetes at 16 allowed Holley to see more of the system, “especially from a patient’s perspective and it interested me.”
Like many undergraduate students, Holley fumbled around with a variety of majors and finally settled on microbiology.
After graduation, she decided to take a few years off to figure out what she wanted to do. She took a job as a medical scribe in the emergency department at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley and followed a physician throughout the day. She discovered that 90 percent of a physician’s time was spent on administrative tasks (charting) while the remainder was with the patient. “Actual patient time was miniscule, which was eye opening,” says Holley.
Even though Holley took the MCAT and applied to med schools, she still remained hesitant.
So, she joined AmeriCorps where she attended a career fair that highlighted a variety of health care careers and began chatting with CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy recruiters. Admittedly, Holley knew little about the field of pharmacy and like so many thought it was “just distributing meds.” But after sitting down with a pharmacy student and having a meeting with a faculty member, Holley discovered an entirely different side to pharmacy — the clinical side where pharmacists are medications experts managing complex diseases and monitoring medications.
“I had a moment of clarity. The profession seemed to align well with my goals of treating patients and being able to conduct research.” After the first year of the program, Holley says, “The program has been amazing.”
She’s even been working with faculty member Sam Ellis, PharmD, who specializes in diabetes research and treatment at the Barbara Davis Center. “I don’t know if I would have been able to work on a research grant my first year of med school, but I got to do it in pharmacy school.” For Holley, “There are two outstanding reasons why pharmacy is a better fit for me than medicine: one is to be a part of innovation in medical care is very important to me, and secondly, there’s more opportunity to conduct research.”