By Kate Sullivan
Read below for a conversation between Kate Sullivan, SODA's Communications and Strategy Intern, and Zeinab Koosej, SODA's Student Outreach Coordinator.
What inspired you to start a SODA chapter?
I always wanted to promote organ donation as I saw there were many misconceptions that impeded people from registering as an organ donor. So as a pharmacy student in college I held a position called Chronic Kidney Diseases (CKD). I was responsible for educating students about what CKD is and how it can be prevented. I was involved with the National Kidney Foundation and the Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) Living Legacy of Maryland. Through my local OPO, I got introduced to SODA and loved their mission. As an organization, SODA’s mission further sparked my desire to become involved in the organ donation and to turn my passion into something tangible: a SODA chapter.
Why did you become involved with SODA’s National Team? What do you do on the National Team?
Through the process of starting a SODA chapter I worked closely with the SODA National Team. I enjoyed working with the national team as a SODA chapter leader and their guidance made my chapter to become well known and successful. So, I wanted to do the same and help other students and chapters to have successful events. In 2019, I joined SODA as the Student Outreach Coordinator to help students start and cultivate their chapters.
To learn more about starting a SODA chapter, visit sodanational.org/chapters.
Can you talk about your work as a pharmacist? How did you become interested in pharmacy? How was your work impacted by COVID-19?
As a Clinical Pharmacist, I work in the hospital reviewing patients' medications, labs and counseling patients on their medications and compounding medications if needed. I got interested in pharmacy when my grandfather got discharged from hospital with a new insulin order and a long list of new medications. I stayed with him for a week to teach him how to use insulin syringes and make sure he can manage all of his medications.
Pharmacists and healthcare professionals have had to adapt to the current circumstances as COVID-19 has caused constant changes to the daily tasks of healthcare workers. Changing department settings, changing medication rooms and making sure medications for COVID patients in ICUs has put more pressure and urgency on everyone in the Pharmacy Department.
What is most rewarding about the work that you do?
Helping patients through their journey to recovery is what makes my job so rewarding! Their health is our top priority and we want to assist them in any way they need.
How do you plan to assist students in the coming months as they transition into an abnormal school year due to the circumstances of COVID-19?
Students will be navigating new and unfamiliar obstacles this Fall. As the Student Outreach Coordinator, I want to help them to think out of the box. COVID-19 has made everyone stop routine tasks and become creative. Online education events, online registration campagins, and even drive-through registration drives are all examples of how students can hold socially-distanced events. I am looking forward to continuing to work with students and see how they continue to be leaders on campus despite the circumstances of COVID-19.
What words of encouragement do you have for a student who is looking to join SODA and become involved in the organ donation community?
Be organized and plan ahead. The sooner you plan the event the better it will be. Don’t forget to enjoy the work and learn from those around you. The feeling of having even one student to become an organ donor is so great and rewarding. Lastly, never underestimate what you can do in promoting organ donation and saving lives.
To register as an organ donor, visit registerme.org/sodanational.