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College of Pharmacy

Pharmacy Alum Tackles Medical Riddle of COVID-19

Posted on: July 17, 2020


When Krutika Mediwala, 2015 Pharm.D., was a freshman in college, one of her required books to read was The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World. The book centered around tracing – finding 'patient 0’ and working to solve the most pressing medical riddle of their time. That helped spark her interest in public health and epidemiology.

“Pharmacy school wasn’t my original plan,” Mediwala recalls, who has a bachelor’s degree in genetics from Clemson University. “I didn’t realize how much you could do with a pharmacy degree. That made me even more curious, and I wanted to do more research, so I reached out to faculty members at the College of Pharmacy about joining them on their projects.”

Mediwala connected with Brandon Bookstaver, 2004 Pharm.D., associate professor and director of Residency and Fellowship Training at the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, and began working on research about the impact of documented allergy on use of non-preferred antibiotics with him before even beginning her pharmacy education.

“Dr. Bookstaver was one the main mentors who helped shape my interest in infectious diseases,” she says.

After earning her Pharm.D., Mediwala completed two years of residency at University of Kentucky Healthcare. She then joined Prisma Health Baptist Parkridge as the inaugural infectious diseases/antimicrobial stewardship clinical pharmacist, where she helped build the stewardship program under the guidance of her mentors.

Mediwala is now a clinical pharmacy specialist in ID/Antimicrobial Stewardship at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. In addition to her role in infectious diseases, Mediwala is director for the ID PGY2 program and is working to resurrect that program after a two-year hiatus. She is also engaged in academia, leadership and trainee education.

One role she considers most important is her ability to share information with other pharmacists as it relates to today’s medical riddle - COVID-19. “I became involved because there was so much data coming out,” she says, “and the information is changing almost daily.”

Mediwala has produced several webinars about COVID-19 through PharmCon’s FreeCE, an online resource for continuing education for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and nurses, and she has also made presentations for the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists (SIDP).

This is a different age that we are in. We are truly having to be more creative in how we share information and educate people.

Krutika Mediwala, Pharm.D.   Clinical Pharmacy Specialist

She contends that social media has been crucial in the ability to share information. “This is a different age that we are in. We are truly having to be more creative in how we share information and educate people,” says Mediwala. “While it is good that there is transparency and people have access to good information, they also have access to wrong information. We want to educate as to what the facts are.”

Mediwala adds that social media has also provided her the opportunity to identify mentors and authorship opportunities. “It has been rewarding to connect with someone via Twitter and collaborate on various projects,” she says.

Mediwala encourages current and prospective pharmacy students to ask questions and to seek out opportunities. “I was able to find those opportunities that pushed me ahead by asking questions,” she adds. “Take all the feedback and use it to improve. You should never feel that you have reached any level where you don’t need help.”

Mediwala credits the education she received at the College of Pharmacy in providing her the background she needed to be successful both as a clinician and a mentor. “I had amazing mentors in Drs. Bookstaver, Julie Justo, Christina Cox and many others that I regularly keep in touch with,” she says. “They know what I am capable of and they continue to encourage and involve me. They showed me how to give back and set examples for me on how I would like to be a mentor to future pharmacists.”



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