Humans of Khmer America

Kalyann Kauv

My name is Kalyann Kauv and I am a pharmacist with a non-traditional path. I am currently obtaining post-graduate training as a managed care pharmacy resident and completing a teaching certificate program as an adjunct faculty member for a local pharmacy school.

I have the privilege to speak to Medicare patients (65 years and better) with multiple chronic conditions and medications and provide personalized support, counseling and education on proper use of (sometimes complex) medication therapy in order to optimize their overall health outcomes. It is extremely rewarding when they thank me for resolving their medication questions and concerns.

I am relentless in the pursuit of service. Throughout pharmacy school, I participated in 3 international medical mission trips, and volunteered at dozens of local health screenings and fairs. I humbly served as a Chapter President and National Student Executive Officer for the #1 pharmacy student organization in serving underrepresented, minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, the Student National Pharmaceutical Association.

This has not gone unnoticed. Among various scholarships and honors, I am most notably the recipient of the National Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Award (United States Public Health Service), the first Virginia Commonwealth University pharmacy student to receive the Respect, Excellence and Service in Pharmacy (RESPy) award (PharmacyTimes/Walmart), Community Leader of the Year (Rite Aid), and featured by VCU Alumni for contributions provided for a free-clinic within the local Native American community.

I have been fortunate enough to have inherited from my parents what I call the “Tenacious Khmer Work Ethic & Resilient Khmer Spirit.” I had been helping my parents with managing our household–making sure our bills were paid on time, pitching in with chores, and by 14 I was helping with our small family business during my weekends off and summer vacations. As the recession hit, the excitement of college was replaced with the heartbreak of my parents losing their business, fear of losing our home, and uncertainty of what our future looked like. Without exception, attending college was a dream my parents had for their children, whom both immigrated as survivors of the Khmer Rouge genocide. They both immediately began working in the United States to begin their new lives, unable to attend college. Without the experience of higher education themselves, it was up to me to figure out the options, logistics and financial feasibility on my own.

That was my breakdown.

Before I could think I ended in my guidance counselor’s office and told her everything as she patiently helped me clear my mind and prioritize the things I had control over. At the same time, my parents fought tooth and nail to ensure our home would not be lost, and with hope and hard work they were able to keep it!

And finally, I found a unique summer college program geared towards students from first-generation, minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds with a focus of providing guidance and exposure into healthcare careers. Once I was accepted into this competitive program, I promised myself never to leave any opportunity that was presented pass by in order to allow my parents to see what an American dream looked like through my involvement in internships, student organizations, research, etc.

My passion and future: #1 is always providing the best patient care and #2, I hope to master the craft of connection and networking to bring people together, with the first attempt at founding the podcast “People in Pharmacy,” coming in 2018. “People in Pharmacy” aims to capture the personal and inspirational journeys of friends and colleagues in pharmacy as they make their own unique positive imprints on the world. And last but not least #3; the degrees, opportunities and accolades may be presented in my name, but it is not without the support of countless individuals, colleagues, and organizations that have supported me within the Khmer and healthcare community.

Ten years from now, I hope to do the same and continue to mentor our future generations of healthcare professionals who are passionate and ready to make a difference.

Follow Kalyann Kauv | LinkedIn

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