Viviane Caya-Vandenbroek, a fourth-year Pharm.D./MBA student at Palm Beach Atlantic University, hopes to make a positive difference in the world, starting with her time at PBA.
The summer after her first year in pharmacy school, the Montreal, Canada, native joined a group of students and faculty from the Gregory School of Pharmacy on a medical mission trip to Uganda. The next summer, she was selected for a prestigious summer program in Geneva, Switzerland, hosted jointly by the World Health Organization and University of Geneva.
As a recipient of a scholarship from the Swiss embassy to participate in that program, Caya-Vandenbroek was invited this fall to meet with Martin Dahinden, the ambassador of Switzerland to the United States.
While she was away attending that meeting in Washington, D.C., she was being recognized back in West Palm Beach as a recipient of the Joe. J. Eassa Scholarship, an award given to a select group of MBA students in the Rinker School of Business. Also this academic year, she was named a finalist for the national P.E.O. Scholarship.
Her most recent honor was announced last week. Caya-Vandenbroek, who presently is completing her rotations with the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, is this year’s recipient of the Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Award presented by the United States Public Health Service.
In nominating her for the award, her professors described her as “a budding healthcare professional who has demonstrated her passion for public health concerns purposely focusing her career on impacting global citizens.”
Caya-Vandenbroek said the award means a great deal to her. Her experiences, starting with the Uganda mission trip, have led to an interest in public health on a global scale, she said.
Her time in Geneva also made a lasting impression on her. The program participants interacted with several noteworthy decision makers, such as the founder of Doctors Without Borders, she said.
She and the other participants also learned about the WHO’s initiative to prevent antimicrobial resistance, considered by many to be a growing health crisis.
“Going there really opened my eyes to this,” said Caya-Vandenbroek, noting that pharmacists are playing an increasingly important role in the prevention of so-called “superbugs.”
After graduation, Caya-Vandenbroek wants to pursue a master’s degree in public health.
“I want to have an impact,” she said. “It’s a way to give back, if your knowledge can be useful to people.”