Bradley in spotlight at UGA


Peachtree City native and McIntosh High alum Kristin Bradley, who received her doctorate of pharmacy degree May 8 from the University of Georgia, is one of 16 students selected from the more than 5,000 graduates this spring to be featured on the university’s web site.

The students were chosen because of a focus on experiential learning. Here are Bradley’s comments from a recent interview with university officials.

Q: Share a little bit about your time doing public health service rotations and service-learning.

A: Through service-learning projects, I have developed the necessary skills to excel as a pharmacist. It has also impressed upon me the compassion, empathy and problem-solving skills that are better learned with hands-on experiences.

As a fourth-year student I completed three of my clinical rotations at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital, an Indian Health Service site in Sitka, Alaska. On an island with only 12 miles of paved road, this 22-bed hospital serves the Alaskan native and non-native populations of Sitka, as well as the outlying remote villages. At this hospital I worked with a unique patient population whose health is impacted by a mix of Western and native medicinal approaches. I experienced the barriers of limited resources and technology, which make providing care to distant and remote sites difficult but rewarding. The patients, cultures and geography made living and learning in Sitka an inspiring experience overall.

Locally, I enjoyed volunteering at Mercy Health Center, where I was able to expand upon my professional interests in ambulatory care and the management of chronic diseases. It is here where I was part of a team that developed a program to improve patient care. The goal of implementing this interprofessional program at Mercy Health Center was to provide a sustainable opportunity for health care students to work collectively toward a common goal of honing clinical, communication and leadership skills while optimizing patient care.

Q: How did your experiences fit into your academic interests or major? How did a UGA faculty member help you with it?

A: My interests lie in working with patient populations who have chronic diseases and are subject to limited health care access. I am passionate about identifying areas where pharmacists can impact health care in meaningful ways.

I am thankful for Dr. Catherine Bourg and Dr. Trina von Waldner for working with me to find these experiences at Mercy Health Center and Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. Without their guidance and advice, these opportunities would not have been possible.

Q: How did your experience help clarify your future plans?

A: My involvement in service-learning projects has unquestionably helped to shape my short-term plans and long-term career goals. I look forward to working with veterans at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System. I plan to continue exploring and expanding upon my professional interests by providing direct patient care, and ultimately improving the delivery of health care.

Q: What were the benefits of doing that work?

A: Service-learning at UGA provided me the means to increase my comprehension of and appreciation for pharmacy practice. All while providing health care services to patients who often have no other access to quality health care.

Q: How did that experience change you?

A: Participating in service-learning, and more specifically working with the patients at Mercy Health Center and in Alaska, reinforces the concept that patients have differing levels of access to, understandings of, and individual needs in regards to their health. I have grown to love getting to know patients, learning their stories and working directly with them to optimize their health.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: Next year I will complete a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System in Ann Arbor, Michigan.