Monica Murariu, PharmD '18, invites fellow pharmacists to volunteer at community clinic

Monica Murariu
WSU Applebaum alumna Monica Murariu, PharmD, BCPS

Monica Murariu earned her PharmD in 2018 from the Wayne State University Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She is a clinical pharmacist at Trinity Health Livonia Hospital and the pharmacy director of the Gary Burnstein Community Health Clinic in Pontiac.

The GBCHC provides medical, dental, and pharmacy services at no cost to uninsured, underinsured and income-constrained patients. Dr. Murariu is seeking volunteer pharmacists to expand the clinic's impact. She describes the work – and the reward – in the following interview. 

What does being a WSU Applebaum grad mean to you?

Being a WSU Applebaum alumna means having a connection with others in the pharmacy profession. Through the alumni emails we receive, we can see the accomplishments of others, and help each other if we can. Or, we may be inspired by others and use their ideas in our own health care practices. 

How does the Gary Burnstein Community Health Clinic impact the community?

Volunteers at the GBCHCThe Gary Burnstein Community Health Clinic (GBCHC) is a free clinic located in Pontiac, Michigan. Its mission is to provide free, high-quality medical, dental and pharmaceutical care for uninsured and income-constrained adults. In addition, our goal is to ensure that treatment is provided in a caring, compassionate and dignified atmosphere.

All of our services are provided by volunteers. These volunteers are prescribers, physician assistants, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and pre-professional students. In the pharmacy, we provide volunteer experiences for pharmacists, pharmacy students and pharmacy technicians.

What services does the GBCHC provide?

The clinic provides these services:

  • Internal medicine
  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • Podiatry
  • Ear, Nose, and Throat
  • Pulmonology
  • Gynecology
  • Optometry
  • Neurology
  • Rheumatology
  • Vaccines
  • Dental exams
  • Dental cleanings
  • X-rays
  • Fillings
  • Extractions
  • Full Denture Services 

Last year, we were able to provide about 5,000 prescriptions to our patients. This is 11,682 thirty-day supplies of medications, and our numbers have only grown in the last year. 

What roles do volunteers play in the clinic?

A teaching moment at the GBCHC pharmacyI like to think of our clinic and pharmacy as a teaching clinic. We counsel every patient who picks up their medications. We also do education on diabetes testing, insulin administration, inhaler administration, and administration of other medications.

We not only educate each patient that walks through our doors, but also all of our pharmacy technician volunteers. Working with pharmacy students and technicians is a great experience for any pharmacist who has a passion for teaching.

All of our pharmacy technicians are pre-professional college students who are pursuing careers in health care. They all have their temporary licenses and are studying to take the PTCB and obtain their full pharmacy technician licenses. We also work closely with WSU Applebaum. We have about 12 pharmacy students each year who are completing their introductory pharmacy practice experience with us. We like to review medications and disease states with our volunteers. All of our volunteers are dedicated to furthering their careers and learning more about health care.

The pharmacy and the clinic are always working on quality improvement studies. We also have a few vaccination clinics going on every month. We also have a large Hispanic patient population and are in need of Spanish-speaking volunteers as well. 

How will volunteer pharmacists help GBCHC grow?

Our numbers have greatly increased over the last year and we are in need of volunteers to maintain our services and continue to provide quality health care to those who cannot afford it. The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but the pharmacy only has limited hours three days a week. With additional volunteers, the pharmacy could expand its hours.

In 2023, we are also looking to expand our clinic pharmacy and diabetic education services. I am working on creating a clinic pharmacist volunteer position, as well as a diabetes self-management education program. Without additional volunteers, we will not be able to develop these new programs. 

How can WSU Applebaum alumni get involved? 

An online volunteer application is available on the GBCHC website.

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