Pharmacogenomics. I must laugh because it's really not a word that just rolls off of your tongue. Well, not at first, anyway. Yet, when it does start to become easier to say, ˈfärmə kä jēˈnōmiks, you also recognize just how important the information about a person's genetic makeup, or genome, is to choosing the drugs and drug doses that are likely to work best for that particular person.
As a conventional pharmacist for over 20 years, I practiced in a few different settings, mostly hospital, retail, telepharmacy/remote order entry, and even held some adjunct professorships in pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics.
But sadly, not a single one of those settings ever sought to facilitate individual health without relying solely on suppressing it with medication. Not one. That never quite made sense to me, either, but I kept my concerns to myself when I discerned that such thinking was perceived, erroneously, as controversial.
Yet, I knew that like 17th century philosopher and Samurai swordsmen Miyamoto Musashi stated, there is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.
Subsequently, instead of individuals seeking their own health from someone outside of themselves, they have to be taught how to create and optimize their own health through wellness (social, financial, occupational, spiritual, environmental, physical, emotional, intellectual.)
And that's the mission of There's A Pharmacist In The House.
Instead of hiding behind the fact that theU.S. spends the most on healthcare per capita of any other country with similar life expectancy, has the worst overall health outcomes and poorest quality patient experiences, There's A Pharmacist In The House is transforming the way health is measured, accessed, and delivered.
Our reliance on prescription medication, however, cannot be transformed overnight. It will take time largely because we don't know everything that challenges our health. Much of our food, for example, has unlabeled ingredients, like pesticides and endocrine disruptors, that cause cancer, hypertension, cardiovascular problems, and other chronic, preventable diseases, that are suppressed (not cured or eradicated) with medication.
I have embraced the growth and advancement of pharmacogenomics because it perfectly sits as a bridge between "one-size fits all" medicine and precision medicine. There will always be times where medicine will be the best and only choice. That's a fact. And when this is the case, pharmacogenomic testing can predict and therefore optimize which drug and what dose would likely give the best results.
And that's the kind of medical care/medicine I can live with, knowing that I have done more good than harm in helping a patient optimize their own health through wellness and getting the right drug and dose when medication is the best (and only) treatment.
I'm a laid-back and humble person, so I really don't need the accolades; yet, I know because I got out of the "shut-up and make your money and go home" line, I am not only re-introducing individuals to their own health; but, I am also opening the door for pharmacists (and other healthcare facilitators) to begin patient-centric health and medical care that turns to wellness first and medication last.
So, come out, come out wherever you are wellness pharmacists, precision medicine pharmacists, and patients that want to grow their own health with wellness!
Sara Louise Joe, PharmD, established There's A Pharmacist In The House ™ in 2015, after being no longer able to practice "one-size fits all" medicine. She now helps individuals create their own health by optimizing their wellness mosaic and by utilizing pharmacogenomic testing when medicine is the most appropriate treatment choice. Joe is also a photographer and graphic artist and resides in Pennsylvania.
THERE'S A Precision MEDICINE PHARMACIST in THE HOUSE
Accelerating a new era of medicine that transforms the way health is measured, delivered and accessed.