Purdue’s Faria Chaudhry embraces community-centric approach to holistic health care
Faria Chaudhry remembers the exact moment that influenced her decision to pursue a career in pharmacy. She was home from college when her father started having a heart attack. Chaudhry raced upstairs to grab his medicine.
“He was in severe pain,” Chaudhry says. “My mother was screaming at me to get his nitroglycerin. I remember holding the bottle in my hand and thinking, ‘I don’t even know what this is. I don’t know the proper dose. How is this going to keep him alive until the paramedics get here?’ At the time, I didn’t know where my path within pharmacy would lead, but I knew I wanted to learn more about medications.”
Chaudhry’s father recovered, and she redirected herself from a future as a lab scientist to a career in ambulatory care pharmacy, working closely with a comprehensive health care team to help patients manage chronic diseases.
A clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice in Purdue University’s College of Pharmacy, Chaudhry is based in Indianapolis, where she works in a community clinic and mentors professional pharmacy students during their rotations. She is dedicated to serving underserved populations and helping close care gaps.
“Culture and diversity really influence our health and well-being,” Chaudhry says. “The way someone experiences their health or their illness, their willingness to seek out treatment, the help they are willing to accept — it’s all connected to their culture. If we truly want to take care of patients, we first have to understand where they are coming from.
“I have Muslim patients who are diabetic and fast during the month of Ramadan. I work with them to come up with a plan to manage their blood glucose effectively during that time. I want them to feel respected and know that I appreciate them coming to me because what I see happen too often is that patients don’t seek help because they don’t feel understood. When patients have authority over their own health, they’ll take more initiative and experience better outcomes.”
Working as a clinical pharmacist, Chaudhry realized that prescribing medication was only one aspect of care and that patient health could be improved through holistic treatment plans. In her role in the Department of Pharmacy Practice, Chaudhry merges her passion for patient care with the opportunity to contribute to broader community initiatives that address social determinants of health. Examples of social determinants of health include economic stability, education, social support and other nonmedical factors that influence health outcomes.
This is a place full of trailblazers, people who are not afraid to take a stance and question the way we’ve been treating patients and communities.Faria Chaudhry
Clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice
“As pharmacists, we must listen to the patients and the community to understand their needs,” Chaudhry says. “I’m interested in learning about patients’ barriers to attaining their best quality of life and determining what tools and resources we need to support them. Prescribing a medication may not be enough if they don’t have a roof over their head.
“When I started looking at the work Purdue’s College of Pharmacy was doing, I realized that this is a place full of trailblazers, people who are not afraid to take a stance and question the way we’ve been treating patients and communities. Purdue is redefining the role of pharmacist.”
Soon after Chaudhry accepted the job at Purdue, a young woman of color approached her to thank her for setting an example and inspiring other women who look like her, showing them it’s possible to find their place in academia, too.
“I’m the daughter of an immigrant and a dreamer,” Chaudry says. “By coming to America, he offered me a life and education that I might not have had access to if I was born somewhere else. I reflect on how lucky I am every single day, and I want to pay that back to the community.
“Purdue has been very intentional with this cluster hire. The university is sending a message that diversity is celebrated here. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this incredible group of faculty.”
Purdue has been very intentional with this cluster hire. The university is sending a message that diversity is celebrated here.Faria Chaudhry Clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice