I started working at an independent pharmacy when I was 15 years old sweeping, mopping and delivering in the “Northside,” a Latino neighborhood just north of downtown Houston, Texas. I lived with my grandmother who raised me in the same neighborhood. Since my mother’s passing when I was three years old, I have had many mentors, mother and father figures, shoulders to lean on, and positive individuals who have influenced my life and to whom I am greatly indebted to until the day I die. My philosophy of humanity and life is rooted and inspired primarily from the knowledge I learned from my grandfather in Mexico.
Not only have I learned the profession and practice of pharmacy but, have also learned positive lessons in life from pharmacists who have devoted their careers and profession to the community and to mentoring kids. Most of them have been independent pharmacists who have closely watched me grow in every way. I owe and passionately do the same now as they did for me. I always keep my doors open to everyone and anyone indiscriminately. I love to donate and give back to my community, church, and university. Go Houston COUGARS. I attended the University of Houston for all my college undergraduate studies, and graduated from Pharmacy School in 1997.
I am the American dream, an immigrant who came from the bottom. I am a success story. I am a rags to riches kid from the barrio (Spanish term for Latino slum!) who reached my goals and beat the odds. I am a first generation Mexican American (most of my family still lives in Mexico), a product of government cheese and food stamps. Although government assistance is frowned upon by the taxpayer, it just goes to confirm that some make it with a little help. I made it through college with federal Pell grants, loans, scholarships, and continuously worked throughout high school and college at local independent pharmacies in order to feed and clothe myself. I have sacrificed all that it takes to get ahead. And for our esteemed and beloved profession, I have always been an “all in” kind of person.
Upon graduation, I was recruited to work for an independent pharmacist in San Benito, Texas (South Texas or known as the Rio Grande Valley). By that time, I was experienced in nursing home consulting, compounding, both extemporaneous and sterile compounds, hospice care, and most important, pharmaceutical health care services for the community (what the pharmacist should be most proud of!). I worked as the PIC (Pharmacist in Charge) for the pharmacy and was on call 24hrs/day for the nursing home practice, as we had 7 in total and filled 800 prescriptions per day on good days. I learned the practice and was able to become even more experienced and passionate.
I am and always will be indebted to the pharmacist who hired me and gave me those opportunities to learn and grow in the profession. I continue to keep in contact with the pharmacist who gave me the opportunity to learn and grow in the profession. He is not only my past mentor, employer, but also a friend. I am proud and honored to say, that we continue to this day to maintain a personal and professional relationship. He still invites me as a hunting lease partner.
After working a total of 5 years, I decided to branch out on my own with my current business partner. Both of us graduated at the same time, from the same university, and concurrently worked for the same independent pharmacy. Currently, in a span of 8 years, with other associates and colleagues who also graduated with me in 1997, we successfully opened 5 pharmacies. Together we succeeded in our efforts and practiced independent pharmacy. Again, the American dream!
I am currently 40 years old. I have a beautiful wife and three great children, a dog, and some chickens and cows. I enjoy the outdoors, fishing, hunting, and ranch work at 101 degree weather, watching football games on Sundays, cooking, baking, and grilling for family and friends.
In my professional and pharmacy career, I have made many friends from all socioeconomic backgrounds and professions. I am a servant by many means and necessary to all mankind. From the impoverished, elderly, illegal immigrant, ex-convict, drug addict, and homeless, to the teacher, mayor, and doctor I have formed many great friendships and relationships whom I dearly esteem, appreciate, and love with no discrimination. I view the career of a pharmacist as one of servitude. My practice only serves me as a vehicle to do what I love passionately. At the same time, I never forget where I come from.
Today, I am here to passionately continue to serve my community and contribute positively to the healthcare team. I enjoy working with my pharmacy staff and look forward to the difficult challenges that we face ahead on a daily basis.
Your friend and pharmacist,