Born in Gujarat, India, Rajal Patel, PharmD moved to Quincy, IL with her brother during her junior year of high school. At the time, Rajal and her brother lived with their aunt and uncle while their parents looked for a place to settle down permanently. After a year, the family made their home in Yuma, AZ.
“America was so different than what we were used to,” Rajal said. “I remember being a teenager and watching cartoons so we would be able to learn English.”
Even when Rajal was living in India, she always had an interest in science and chemistry. Everyone in her family wanted her to become a doctor, but that’s not something Rajal was passionate about.
“I loved medicine, even at a young age, but I didn’t want to be a doctor,” she told us. “When I came to the states I found out about the different options pharmacy offered. In India you only work in the retail aspect of pharmacy, but I was never interested in that so I never saw myself being a pharmacist. But living in the U.S., the clinical side of pharmacy grasped my attention. I fell in love with it.”
Rajal received her degree from the University of Arizona and moved to West Virginia for a year of residency. Shortly after her return to Arizona, she started working at Mountain Park’s Maryvale Clinic.
“I really love working at Mountain Park. I have learned so much the last two years from everyone I work with,” Rajal told us. “This is one of the few clinics that I know of that gives a patient the opportunity to work on everything. I love the collaboration model and working with so many different sides of the healthcare profession all in one place.”
As rewarding as the job is, every day Rajal faces various challenges. Learning that someone has a newly diagnosed condition can come as a shock sometimes. Not every patient is on board with making changes, or taking certain medications, but Rajal knows how to help patients understand the benefits of proper prescription drug use.
“It’s important to be understanding to all patients and show empathy, no matter if you work in a clinical setting or a retail pharmacy,” she explained. “At the end of the day I know I am making a difference in someone’s life.
All patients at Mountain Park have access to a clinical pharmacist, giving them a more personal, one-on-one relationship. Clinical pharmacy offers a more personal relationship with a patient. Rajal enjoys helping patients manage their disease and monitors them closely. In addition, she finds educating patients on a deeper level more beneficial to everyone.
“Educating patients is easy for me because I’m a people person,” she said. “I am able to teach our patients about the best approaches to managing their disease. People at times get nervous with new medication, and doctors may not always have the time to talk to their patients in detail about certain medications to take or how to take them. That’s where I come in and make a difference. It’s easy for me to approach our patients and make them understand the good that will come out of taking a certain drug through proper drug management.”
“Mountain Park is special,” she told us, “because we help our patients get all their medical needs met under one roof. Having Registered Dietitians, a Behavioral Health Consultant and a Pharmacy on-site is helpful to all our patients. In addition, we have an amazing multi-lingual practice. Patients never have to worry or stress that they won’t be understood because of our language access services.”
Outside of Mountain Park, Rajal has a very tight-knit family that enjoys spending a lot of time together.
“My family has been my support group my whole life,” Rajal told us. “I have achieved everything because of their constant love and support.”
Rajal loves traveling and it’s something everyone in her family does together frequently. Recently, they all went back to India for a wedding.
“Weddings are crazy fun in our culture but also so exhausting,” Rajal explained. “Sometimes you need a vacation after the vacation so that’s where cruising comes in handy. One day I really want to go on a cruise to Alaska with all of my cousins. That’s been a dream of mine.”
Rajal also enjoys reading fiction and thrillers and watching movies.
“I’m actually an indoor person,” she told us. “I love staying home and playing board games with my family and friends.”
Keep an eye out for Rajal next time you are by our Maryvale Clinic.