Pharmacy alumna advocates for women in STEM

PharmD alumna April Nguyen

April Nguyen ’16, PharmD, RAC chose Pacific because she knew it was a place she could pursue two of her biggest passions for the pharmacy profession – patients and legislation.

As a student, she took advantage of the many leadership opportunities available to her. Her list of leadership roles and accomplishments is long, but she highlights one of the standout experiences being the creation of California Pharmacists Association’s inaugural Outreach Week and the now international Pharmacy Legislative Week (PLW) initiative, which advocates for health equity in marginalized communities.

“Together with my team, we were able to organize the first collaborative health fair between Pacific and California Northstate University, providing patient consultations to 400 community members in Hmong, Spanish and Vietnamese,” said Dr. Nguyen. “I channeled that momentum to create PLW in 2014 and had no idea it would grow into a collaboration between 38 schools of pharmacy across the United States and Canada. Over the past nine years, this student-led and student-driven coalition has focused on addressing barriers facing the health care profession and has since hosted virtual panels on advocacy, fighting health disparities in the LGBTQ+ community and burnout in the profession. These past two years, the program has advocated for marginalized communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Today Dr. Nguyen is a senior manager for regulatory affairs at Biogen, a Boston-based biotechnology company. She enjoys serving on the company’s employee resource networks to promote environmental sustainability initiatives and the empowerment of women and girls in STEM. She also created the Pharmacists at Biogen Community of Practice network to highlight the diverse roles that pharmacists can play in industry.

Outside of pharmacy, she enjoys volunteering with community-based organizations such as the Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations to assist philanthropy and human rights efforts in Vietnam. She has also fostered seven dogs through a non-profit in the Sacramento area as they waited to find their “furrever homes.”

Of all her pursuits, Dr. Nguyen is most excited to empower women and girls in STEM and help advance diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the community.

“We can break down barriers in STEM by intentionally promoting inclusive and diverse cultures, giving women equal opportunities to pursue and thrive in their careers.”

“Women are significantly underrepresented in STEM majors, with even greater gender disparities at higher levels of leadership,” Dr. Nguyen said. “We can break down barriers in STEM by intentionally promoting inclusive and diverse cultures, giving women equal opportunities to pursue and thrive in their careers. The world needs women at every table where decisions are being made. Women, and especially women of color, make history every day, and there is no limit to what we can accomplish together.”

Earlier this year, Dr. Nguyen was honored with the American Pharmacists Association Distinguished New Practitioner Award and the Sacramento Valley Pharmacists Association’s Pharmacist of the Year Award in recognition of her contributions to the development of student pharmacists and impact on the profession. She also serves as a member of the Pacific Pharmacy Alumni Association where she says she “enjoys developing innovative and sustainable initiatives to grow the Pacific ‘pharmily.’”