P.J. Saves the World

P.J. Pitts cares for orphans in Haiti.

P.J. Pitts, a member of Pacific University's first pharmacy class in 2009, has spent more than two years working on recovery and relief efforts in Haiti.

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“That was with no posters, publicity, just word of mouth.”

A pediatric clinic the group offered, she said, brought in close to 1,000 Haitians, both children and adults. Using an interactive session with lots of posters with pictures, because many of the Haitians are illiterate, the clinic was done in cooperation with medical students and providers from Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

“We did this hour-long lesson, and it was really to empower the parents and caregivers…the things they could do to keep their kids healthy,” she said.

Although Pitts is no longer full-time in Haiti, she is still very much involved. Now an assistant professor of pharmacy at D’Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y., she takes pharmacy students to Haiti on two-week-long trips and is developing relationships with clinics there. She also spends between 20 to 30 percent of her time at D’Youville teaching at the college, with the other time spent working at a refugee clinic in the Buffalo area.

All of this work relates to Pitts’ hopes that pharmacy will provide international care to those who need it.

“My hope is that I will continue to make a difference in the world and inspire others to do the same,” she said. “I hope that pharmacists will take a more active role in providing care to those in need, both here and abroad.”

Additional reporting by Joe Lang.