Tatiana Bujnoch has been named the American College of Clinical Pharmacy-American Society of Health-System Pharmacists-Virginia Commonwealth University Congressional Healthcare Policy Fellow for 2020-21.
The fellowship offers pharmacists an opportunity to gain insight into health care policy analysis and development through immersion in the congressional environment. Fellows are mentored in legislative evaluation, policy development, research and writing.
Bujnoch earned her Pharm.D. from Northeastern University in Boston and Master of Science in pharmacy administration and leadership from the University of Houston. Her postgraduate training was in health system pharmacy administration and leadership at Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston.
Working as a pharmacist during the pandemic underscored to her the importance of health policy, Bujnoch said. “I spoke many times with patients who couldn’t afford medications or who were afraid they couldn’t afford treatment for COVID.”
Bujnoch traces her passion for health care policy to her family. She hails originally from a small town in south central Texas and is the granddaughter of working-class grandparents without college degrees. Their sacrifices for her family led her to want to make the most of the opportunities she was given, she said.
After the death of her father by suicide during her first year of college, Bujnoch decided to focus on betttering the lives of others. She took on new challenges including working for three months in Jamaica as an assistant in clinics.
As she wrote in her application: “Now, I feel the urge to continue to think broader and understand the larger picture, leading me to pursue this fellow program to engage in policy at the national level.”
The fellowship, which began in July, consists of one week at the Brookings Institution and three weeks each with ACCP’s and ASHP’s government affairs offices. Afterward, Bujnoch will begin her placement within a congressional office or on congressional committee staff in Washington, D.C.
After completing the fellowship, Bujnoch hopes to continue to be engaged in health policy development. “Health issues are important. A devastating health issue can ruin lives,” she said. ““It’s a cliche, I know, but it’s true: I really just want to help people.”
The fellowship program, directed by VCU School of Pharmacy associate professor Kristin Zimmerman, was founded 14 years ago under the leadership of professor Gary R. Matzke. For more about the ACCP-ASHP-VCU Congressional Healthcare Policy Fellow program, click here or contact director Kristin Zimmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org.