Pharmacy Alumna Takes on Mental Health, Addiction Issues

Yasmine Alhasan, Pharm.D.

Yasmine Alhasan, Pharm.D.

Growing up in Dallas, Yasmine Alhasan, Pharm.D., (Pharmacy ’16) always wanted to make a difference through health care. She started achieving that goal at TTUHSC, where she became a student leader for the School of Pharmacy’s Class of 2016 and the Texas Pharmacy Association (TPA).

“I became involved with TPA during my first year of pharmacy school,” Alhasan said. “I had an interest in law and policy prior to pharmacy school, and TPA was the perfect place for me to expand upon my interests with other pharmacists. Involvement in the legislative process is incredibly important since it governs how we practice, and I wanted to work in that role.”

Encouraged by her TPA mentors, Alhasan founded the Student Pharmacist Recovery Network (SPRN) during her final year of pharmacy school. Through SPRN, she began working within the School of Pharmacy and the community to dismantle the stigma that often surrounds mental health and addiction issues. Because she also saw a need to reach out to students who may be dealing with those issues on a personal level, she tied SPRN to the Professional Recovery Network, an organization that aids health care professionals in Texas.

 “As pharmacists, we must lead by example to change how our nation views mental health and its related topics of addition and suicide,” Alhasan said. “I also think it is incredibly important to provide confidential and reliable resources for our student body through peer outreach groups. As health care professionals, we focus our attention on the health of others while often times neglecting our own.”

In July, Alhasan completed a two-year term as president for TPA’s Student Board of Directors. She was also named the group’s 2016 Distinguished Student Pharmacist, an award that recognizes a fourth-year pharmacy student in Texas who has demonstrated leadership and advanced the practice of pharmacy through their service to the community and to TPA. Alhasan says the award is important to her because TPA changed the course of her career.

“The organization helped me find what I was passionate about and allowed me to expand on my interests,” she said. “I think sometimes as health care professionals we focus so much on health and wellness that we tend to neglect areas of legislation and policy within the health care system that are equally important. TPA showed me that it was possible to do both and that my voice mattered even as a student pharmacist.”

Alhasan presently works as a relief pharmacist at several of Walgreens retail and specialty pharmacy locations in central Dallas. She enjoys the direct interaction she has with her patients, and she sees firsthand the value and impact community pharmacists have on public health.

“As a new practitioner, I am in the process of figuring out how I am able to make the biggest impact in relation to issues that I think are important,” Alhasan said. “I am a pharmacist, but I am also a human first, and I think there are many opportunities for health care professionals to contribute that are not just strictly health care initiatives.”

 

Story originally published in PULSE, a publication for alumni and friends of TTUHSC. Photo by Carolyn Cruz.

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