LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. — When Genoa Healthcare pharmacist Dieu Chau decided to go back to school to study pharmacy, she wanted to find a career that would challenge her both professionally and personally. At Genoa Healthcare, she has found her niche.
Chau started as a Genoa pharmacist in 2020 at a pharmacy in Phoenix, where she used her interpersonal skills to help consumers stay on their medication plans as part of the care team.
“We get to know our consumers on a personal level. I often feel like I’m caring for a friend or a family member,” Chau says. “Consumers come to the pharmacy counter and tell us their personal stories and problems they are facing, and we do what we can to help. It’s very rewarding.”
Nearly all of Genoa’s 650 pharmacies are located on site within community mental health clinics, where pharmacists like Chau provide hands-on, personalized pharmacy care in partnership with providers. To help keep consumers adherent, pharmacy teams package medications in prefilled pill organizers, synchronize prescription refills and mail medication to consumers’ desired location at no extra cost. The pharmacy’s partnership with the clinics means each Genoa pharmacy provides care that’s customized to the consumers’ needs.
“While all Genoa pharmacies follow our unique integrated model, each pharmacy is built to serve the community we are in,” Chau says. “We specifically tailor our pharmacy services to their needs and any barriers they may be facing. This approach empowers me as a pharmacist to use my expertise to care for my consumers in the best way possible.”
By working closely with clinic providers, Chau notifies other members of the care team if a consumer needs a refill on their medication and doesn’t have an upcoming appointment scheduled. She learns consumer preferences and discovers obstacles that may prevent them from following their treatment plans, such as lack of transportation or difficulty managing multiple medications.
“I’ve had consumers who have been on more than 20 separate medications who struggled to take them consistently and on time before switching to our pharmacy,” Chau said. “Taking your medications on time and as prescribed is key to better health outcomes. I help sync up all their medications and show them how our prefilled pill organizers make it easier to manage.”
Chau’s consumers have expressed gratitude for her patience and willingness to help them understand their treatment plans. To make sure consumers know how to take their medications, Chau checks in with them and uses a teach-back technique to have the consumer explain how they should take the medication. If they have any questions, she’ll take time to address them.
Chau recently received one of Genoa Healthcare’s Top Site Manager awards for demonstrating excellence in quality pharmacy care. Today she’s growing a new pharmacy team in Laguna Hills, Calif. — a move she made to be closer to her family after growing up on the West Coast.
In addition to medication management, Genoa pharmacists are improving access to immunizations nationwide. Research shows that providing immunizations parallel to mental health services can increase vaccination rates by up to 25%.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists played a critical role in administering life-saving vaccinations. Chau worked closely with clinic staff to provide COVID-19 vaccines to a population that may not have gotten vaccinated otherwise — an effort Genoa is focusing on for other immunizations, too.
This year, Genoa is providing free flu shots to the uninsured. The no-cost flu vaccinations are available at all Genoa locations, and Chau is one of eight pharmacists hosting flu shot clinics in areas with historically low vaccination rates.
“Many consumers at these flu clinics do not have access to other health services, are at greater risk for severe illness from the flu and are unable to afford a sick day at work,” says Chau. “This is something I’m passionate about. We are helping to provide flu vaccination access to people who need it most.”
Chau looks up to other leaders and pharmacists at Genoa and says their support has helped her continue to learn how to bring the best-quality care forward. Getting to help people every day is a privilege for Chau, and it fuels her drive to continue making a difference in the communities she serves.
“I’m doing so much more than filling scripts. I’m caring for my consumers and thinking about how I can help them live their healthiest life,” Chau says. “My work as a Genoa pharmacist is a blessing, and I’m grateful to be able to make a difference in people’s lives every