Q&A: UT Tyler Provides Kenyoru an Opportunity to Serve County

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Publication Date: 05/28/2020

Kenyan native and P4 student Kelvin Kenyoru of Tyler will graduate this fall. He began working an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) patient care rotation that is now part of the COVID-19 response with the North East Texas (NET) Public Health District in Smith County. Learn more about him and why he chose to help on the pandemic front lines.Kenyoru

Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born in Kisii, Kenya. I graduated from SFA with a biology degree, so I have spent some time both in East Texas and with the scientific field. I like to enjoy life’s ups and downs, take on challenges and always be prepared for the next adventure. I am an incredibly big “people person.” I enjoy getting to know people from all walks of life, learning about their background and who they are as a person. I believe this process aids me in my personal growth and development as an individual as I journey through life.  

When did you start your rotation?

I began the rotation on March 30, which was right after the initial stay-at-home orders were implemented here in Smith County. My rotation officially ended on May 8, but I plan to continue working and volunteering my time to NET Health as a way to continue serving my community.

Describe a typical day. ... What are you seeing regarding the pandemic?

I work typically from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. A typical day includes mainly communicating with patients and other healthcare providers in regards to the COVID-19 response. We are part of the emergency response team led by Dusty Gonzales and are responsible for screening patients for testing, aiding in providing general information to the public and following up on positive cases.

In regard to the pandemic, we are getting to see firsthand how it is affecting the East Texas community. We are also working with the response team and are able to see the amount of work and planning that goes into the public health emergency preparedness programs, including but not limited to, the allocation of emergency supplies, containment of the virus; and promoting the overall health of the community.

Why help and be involved?

It’s important to be involved because it not only gives you a sense of satisfaction, but also you are helping your community thrive and hopefully making a difference to the people around you. 

What’s the importance of this? To you? To others?

This is important to me because I feel like I am playing a part in helping the community as a whole. Throughout my time at this site, I have come to see the vital role the Public Health Department plays in ensuring that our community continues to thrive, and even more so, in times of hardship. I especially want to thank Mr. George Roberts and his team for not only giving me the opportunity to work side by side with them but for also treating me as part of the team.

How is UT Tyler preparing you in your educational journey?

The Fisch College of Pharmacy has provided me with a multitude of learning opportunities to explore. I am a person who is constantly wanting to learn and attain new information. The college has encouraged that by providing me with different venues to attain this knowledge. From providing us with unique database subscriptions, to acquiring professors and facilitators that are always available and invested in our academic/career success. In addition, their focus on a team-based learning environment has further illustrated to me the importance of having an “us” rather than a “me” mentality and what a vital role others can play in helping you achieve your overall goals.

What are your career goals?

In the past, my overall goals were mainly geared towards succeeding as an individual, but after going through the team-oriented curriculum and working in high functioning team-based positions, my goals have shifted. I would like to continue this current trajectory of working in teams and build and manage larger teams as I continue to grow as a leader.

Short term, I am looking forward to further developing and using my pharmaceutical/scientific background within an organization where my skills are valued and there is potential for growth. Long term, I want to develop into a position that allows me to further expand on these skills as well as explore my entrepreneurial skills, while also playing a larger role within the organization.

What are your interests/hobbies?

Currently, I’m mainly working on both my personal and professional development and really trying to see how I can put the best foot forward in order to set myself up to succeed in my future endeavors. I also enjoy spending time with family and friends as well as just meeting new people – getting to know them and their “story.”

Anything else you’d like to add?

Overall, I have a great family, and without them I would not be where I am today.