Asal Azizoddin, Pharm.D., BCPS, CPG Class of 2014

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Asal Azizoddin, Pharm.D., BCPS, CPG Class of 2014

Oncology Pharmacist, UCLA Health
Burnout/Wellness Coach, Asal Dean Services
Creator of The Gratitudegrams 

Every day I wake up with the mindset to 'be better every day' through inspiring those around me and being of service. ”

What are you doing now/ where do you practice?

Every day I wake up with the mindset to “be better every day” through inspiring those around me and being of service.  I learned this from my residency director during my first year of training, and such a mindset led me to my current positions as an oncology pharmacist at UCLA Health and as a Burnout/Wellness Coach. As an oncology pharmacist, I serve patients who are battling cancer at an oncology clinic located in Santa Monica, CA. I am blessed to be part of an incredible team there that specifically assists patients with their oral oncology and supportive medications.  As a Burnout/Wellness Coach, I primarily provide support to healthcare professionals throughout the United States; the program and services I created give me an opportunity to connect with people from all over the country!

What is something you are most proud of?

What came to my mind first was — overcoming my fears and doubting myself.  During pharmacy school and residency, I struggled with confidence and believing in myself, and early in my career, I chose to work on myself and overcome self-doubt.  This journey led me to publicly present my first TEDx Talk “Why Patients Fighting Cancer Can be the Best Professors of Gratitude," create The Gratitudegrams — a company that hosts curated human connection events/workshops, and coach other healthcare individuals to be the best advocate for themselves.  Everyday I hold myself accountable to create and “live” as much as possible; Neale Donald Walsch said it best, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

Who are your female role models?

I am lucky to have so many! My top female role models are: Oprah Winfrey, Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, Frida Kahlo, Margie Blevins (my English high school teacher), and Irene Tan (my piano teacher).  These powerful women were/are leaders through their powerful voices and actions.

Oprah’s gift and talent to connect with people through her interviewing skills is something that leaves me in awe to this day. Growing up, I always enjoyed watching her shows and how she would highlight stories and formulate lessons for the audience to learn from those who were interviewed. She is also someone who is charismatic, funny, and does good work on an international level, which I greatly admire!

Amelia Earhart followed her passion: flying!  Her courageous and dedicated efforts taught me at a young age that I can pursue anything I put my heart and mind to. 

Eleanor Roosevelt has a famous saying,  “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” and this famous quote reminds me I have the power to choose who can and cannot reach me through their words. 

Frida Kahlo, a world-renowned Mexican artist, is my role model because of her leadership and creativity, despite the health conditions and physical challenges she faced during her lifetime. Her artwork is powerful on many different levels, and she has positively influenced many. 

I had many teachers who I looked up to, and the two women who had the greatest impact in my life were Marjie Blevins and Irene Tan. These women were my biggest advocates; they supported me to “follow my bliss,” continue with my creativity, work as a professional, and be a loving, kind, and powerful woman anywhere and everywhere I go. 

Did you have a female mentor while you were at MWU?

I was blessed to have a many female mentors during my time at MWU, and the women I would like to acknowledge are: Dr. Lindsay Davis, Dr. Shareen El-Ibiary, Dr. Dawn Gerber. and Melissa Rudinsky, CPhT. During my time in pharmacy school, they took me under their wings to teach me how to be an impactful, compassionate pharmacist and leader in healthcare. They would meet with me, take the time to answer my questions, challenge me, and invite me to partake in invaluable opportunities to expand my horizons as a pharmacy student. Most importantly, they saw my potential and they believed in me. These women are all powerhouses, and I am incredibly grateful for them.  I would not be where I am today in my career if it wasn’t for them. 

What advice do you have for women who want to go into healthcare careers?

  1.  Balance is KEY! Work hard and play hard. As much as you dedicate your time and energy to your profession, take time to take care of yourself.  Find what brings you joy and “fills your cup” outside of work and make those an equal priority.  If your “cup” is empty, how will you be able to be the best healthcare professional to those who need your help?  Take care of yourself— whatever that may be. 
  2.  Focus on teamwork. Whether you are a student studying for exams or part of a team of professionals providing care for a patient, be a team player and succeed with your team.  Healthcare is in the direction of serving patients in a “team-like” fashion.  Put the competition aside and keep the final goal in mind.
  3.  Practice kindness and compassion with yourself, those around you, and those you serve.  You will make mistakes. You will encounter people who are unkind. You will have “hard days.”  The learning curve in healthcare is high, and we must not forget — we are all on a journey of learning and growth every day. Every day is a magical opportunity, and throughout these days, being kind and compassionate with yourself and those around will make the world a better place.  Being tough on yourself and/or others won’t help you, and if anything, will hold you back. It’s a small world out there, especially in healthcare… contribute to make the world a kinder place. 

Asal Azizodden