Wednesday, October 11, 2023
Marianne Said and Noor Alwaan
Marianne Said (left) and Noor Alwaan

Oct. 12 marks Women Pharmacist Day. The recognition celebrates the significant gains women have made in the pharmacy field, honors trailblazers in the industry, and recognizes the important contributions women pharmacists make every day.

UI College of Pharmacy alumna and women students alike have found success and laid the foundation for thriving careers.

Two current students, Marianne Said and Noor Alwaan, are shining examples of this.

Said and Alwaan, third-year Doctor of Pharmacy students, recently pitched a new business concept to the College of Pharmacy’s Hart Entrepreneurial Program Committee. The Hart Program is an opportunity for entrepreneurial-minded pharmacy students to receive support for their ideas and innovative projects. The entrepreneurial initiative is named after benefactor Miekeleen Hart – also a successful UI pharmacy graduate. The committee saw potential in their product, awarded Said and Alwaan funding, and assigned them an entrepreneur-alumni mentor.

Marianne Said 1
Marianne Said

Their business concept, called OTC-Helper, aims to optimize the use of over-the-counter medications. This quality improvement project provides patients with the highest level of efficacy and safety. It’s also an easy-to-use tool tailored to patients’ needs, values, and preferences.

They shared, “Since we chose pharmacy as our career, we put all our efforts into improving patient care and satisfaction, and ensuring patients’ safety is essential to us. We experienced how improper use of over-the-counter products can lead to harmful effects on a patient’s health and even death.”

Moving forward, Said and Alwaan hope to take OTC-Helper from concept to real life and enable patients in the community to utilize the tool. 

What they’ve enjoyed most about working on the project together is that they make a great team.

Noor Alwaan
Noor Alwaan

“We enjoyed spending time together as we shared our ideas and backgrounds,” the two said. “We were also happy with all the constructive comments from the Hart Entrepreneurial Program Committee to help us build our ideas into real life. The committee believed in our vision and supported us with the best mentor, and they made our dream a reality.”

As they develop into successful women pharmacists of their own accord, Said and Alwaan are also grateful to the faculty members who’ve advised them to advance their business concept and careers.

“We started applying what we learned in quality improvement, business management, and pharmacotherapy into our project,” they said. “We want to extend our utmost gratitude to everyone involved in this project and the faculty members who took time out of their busy schedules to meet and help guide us in starting this project.”