1. So, Abe, what are you currently up to?
a. I am completing my first year of a two-year pharmacy fellowship program in infectious diseases at Loma Linda University (LLU) in California. This first year has been heavy in clinical application where I am involved in antimicrobial stewardship efforts and multidisciplinary rounds for our infectious disease consult service. I have just completed a rotation in pediatric infectious disease and will move on shortly to immunocompromised and transplant-related infectious diseases.
2. What has been the most rewarding, or challenging, experience of your residency training?
a. The most rewarding experience of my residency and fellowship training is the most challenging experience as well. It is the ability to connect knowledge with application. Being able to use, and many times tailor, what I have learned in the classroom and translate that to everyday practice is truly the culmination of what I have worked so hard for. It can be challenging to apply black-and-white knowledge to an almost always gray clinical picture.
3. Your journey to GSOP is a very interesting one. Can you share a little about how you came to be a student at the Gregory School of Pharmacy?
a. In 2015, I arrived in the U.S. from Syria looking for new opportunity. I came to the country with the intention of pursing pharmacy as a career; however, my abysmal GPA and a significant language barrier did not make [it] easy. I studied English in Miami for six months before I called every pharmacy school I could find on the East Coast. Every single school I called said I was not a candidate for their program. It was not until fate put me in the hands of GSOP where people believed in me and gave me the opportunity to prove myself and pursue my dream.
4. What advice would you give your P4 self?
a. Do not focus on the outcome so much and enjoy the stage you are in! Enjoy the process and progress to success and trust that everything will fall into place as it should.
5. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
a. My first publication with Dr. Brust was my most memorable and proud moment. This publication took a lot of work over more than one summer break, but it created so many great memories in the GSOP labs and gave me an introduction to my passion.
6. In what ways were you most impacted during your time at GSOP?
a. The inclusion and friendliness that everyone showed me during my time at GSOP. It is not easy being alone in a foreign country, but GSOP provided an atmosphere where I felt at home. This is a rewarding and impactful experience to any expats, I imagine.
7. What do you do for fun?
a. I like boxing and playing soccer any chance I get.
8. What is the best professional advice you’ve received?
a. Question everything. Do not accept what is taken as fact by others. Always do your own research, form your own thought and make your own argument.
9. What is something you learned at GSOP that you will never forget?
a. God always has plan for you. Do what is in your control, and God will take care of the rest.
10. Who was your most influential professor at GSOP?
a. I have to say both Dr. Guirguis and Dr. Brust.
11. What has been the best professional decision you’ve made?
a. Pursuing both residency and fellowship training. I love learning and pushing my career to the limit.
12. If you weren’t a pharmacist, what job do you think you’d be really good at?
a. That’s a hard question to answer. I think I’d make a good soccer player.
13. What is a book you’ve recently read?
a. One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch
14. What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their life?
a. Bungee jumping!
15. What is your favorite memory of GSOP?
a. The ping pong tournaments. The breaks we would take between classes and head up to the lounge to play a quick ping pong game serve as great memories.
16. What is something you thought you knew about the pharmacy profession, but it turns out it was different?
a. How much value a pharmacist can truly bring. I had an idea that we were somewhat involved in therapy management but never imagined how heavily a team can depend on you. If you’re a good pharmacist, your feedback on a case will always be respected and considered when making the ultimate clinical decision.
17. What do you think is next for you, professionally?
a. A main interest of mine has always been PK/PD, so I try to align my research projects as such at LLU. My aim is to publish at least three research manuscripts within the next year. I will be working towards earning my teaching certification through the program as well. Once I complete the program, I am looking forward to being an infectious disease clinical specialist.
18. If your life were a movie, what would the title be? Who would play you?
a. My Rollercoaster Life – Far From Home. Jude Law with an Arabic accent.