Helping Hands: Upholding My Oath

Written By: Sheel Shah, PharmD ’10, School of Pharmacy Alumnus

Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Helping Hands stories authored by School of Pharmacy faculty, staff, students, trainees, and alumni who stepped up to assist their family and friends, colleagues, and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, I have been working closely with a group called Columbia Community Care that was started by Erika Chavarria, a Spanish teacher in Howard County, Maryland. The group’s primary goal is to provide essentials and supplies to residents of Howard County who are in need and unable to work during this time. The group is fully funded through donations from the community.

Every morning, volunteers set up tables to sort and organize supplies for five different schools. Lines begin to form at 9 a.m. and at 11:30 a.m. community members arrive to gather what they need, one at a time, following social distancing protocols. I volunteer as a site coordinator for all five sites, and as a grocery delivery driver, delivering groceries to people who can’t leave the house. If you are interested in assisting Columbia Community Cares, please contact Erika Chavarria at

Additionally, during the day, I work for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the Office of New Drugs. Our office has been dealing with some applications related to COVID-19. I am currently in process for voluntary civilian deployment. On some evenings and every weekend, I work for Kaiser Permanente as an ambulatory care pharmacist in a mail-order facility, making sure patients have their medications, and answering any medication-related questions.

Finally, I will be volunteering with the Salvation Army in Baltimore City to provide meals to people who need it most. I plan to start the endeavor next week, along with donating blood to the American Red Cross. This is my way of upholding my oath as a pharmacist.

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