Inspired to Help People Through Clinical Pharmacy
Touro College of Pharmacy's Research Track Gave Avinash Chatoo the Experience He Needed
When growing up in Trinidad with his grandparents who raised him, Avinash Chatoo recalls always knowing a pharmacist. Next door lived the “village doctor”, who was the first one consulted if someone in the family was not feeling well.
“Whenever my grandparents were sick or there was something wrong with me they would go to him instead of the doctor. That got me into the whole idea of going into pharmacy,” he said.
Chatoo moved to the U.S. after high school to attend CUNY’s York College in Queens. But the summer before his undergraduate studies, his interest in pharmacy became stronger after working as a cashier at an independent pharmacy close to home where he was inspired by the pharmacist in charge.
“He would always go above and beyond to ensure his patients were satisfied. I realized my passion was in helping people in a safe and effective way with innovative pharmaceutical medications,” he said.
Chatoo earned a B.S. in Pharmaceutical Science at York and gained research experience. It would be three years later before he came to Touro, during which time he worked as a pharmacy technician on Long Island and in Queens. The work gave him an in-depth look at what pharmacists do daily in both retail and hospital settings.
Opportunities for Research and Faculty Guidance
TCOP was his first choice of pharmacy schools and by the time he arrived he already had experience working in various pharmacy settings and doing research. His research interests and the opportunity to work closely with faculty are what drew him to Touro.
“Touro had a really great ‘Research Track’ and that’s what I wanted,” said Chatoo. “You also had one-on-one contact with professors. At other colleges, they don’t really know your name; whereas here you can walk the corridor and a dean whom you don’t know personally will know your name. When you’re having problems with your academics they will help you.”
He worked as a research assistant to Dr. Paramita Basu, Director of Infectious Diseases at New York College of Podiatric Medicine, researching biofilms and antibiotic treatments. Their work has been submitted for publication and is under review.
Chatoo also became the first author on a systematic review paper about patient coping strategies and how they affect medication adherence. The research was published in INNOVATIONS in Pharmacy, and he presented his findings at the University of Minnesota.
“That’s what I’m most proud of while at Touro – being able to publish,” says Chatoo. He credits Dr. Basu, with his success. “She knew I was really passionate about research and guided me.”
Soon he will be transitioning to become a PGY-1 pharmacy resident at NYU Langone Hospital-Long Island. After that he hopes to complete a second year of residency specializing in either ambulatory care, infectious diseases or oncology, eventually ending up as a clinical pharmacist where he can research and possibly teach as well.
“That’s where I see myself and what I want to do. After working in a hospital as both a pharmacy technician and as an intern, I saw myself practicing clinically. If I were to close my eyes and envision myself that’s the first thought that comes.”