Radio show leads to campus invite for aspiring chef-pharmacist, age 10

A community storytelling initiative by a public radio station has yielded a surprising connection between an East Oakland fifth grader and Sharon L. Youmans, PharmD, MPH, the UCSF School of Pharmacy’s associate dean of diversity.

Youmans first heard 10-year-old Lita Hernandez on an August broadcast of Hear Here, a show on San Francisco-based KALW featuring local voices. Hernandez talked about her dreams of being a chef and concluded: “I want to be a chef and a pharmacist. Well, maybe I can do [both] part-time.”

Calling the show’s producers, Youmans explained, “I’m a pharmacist and a chef, so I was just thrilled to hear those words come out of her mouth. I almost fell out of my chair.”

In a recently aired follow-up show, Youmans recounted cooking dinner for her grandparents and sisters at age 10, and also pursuing her own dreams of becoming a pharmacist. She earned her UCSF degree in 1985 and is vice chair for educational affairs for the Department of Clinical Pharmacy.

Youmans arranged for Lita and her family to visit the School’s Parnassus campus in late August. As a student pharmacist helped translate for Lita’s parents, Youmans presented the youngster with some cookbooks and her own UCSF "Future Chef & Pharmacist" ID card, and then gave them a tour of a laboratory and the library.

To read more about the radio connection and hear the KALW show, visit Hear Here: Serendipity on the airwaves.

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.