PharmD Alumna Earns Praise for Work with Students

Leadership Award Goes to Adviser of Touro CARES Mobile Vaccination Program

June 10, 2024
A photo shows Dr. Fatima Hernandez, who was named Student Organization Adviser of the Year this spring as part of the 2024 Touro University California Leadership Awards program.
Dr. Fatima Hernandez was named Student Organization Adviser of the Year this spring as part of the 2024 Touro University California Leadership Awards program.

A Touro University California alumna who was a key leader of a countywide vaccination program launched during the Covid-19 pandemic is among those recognized this spring with a 2024 TUC Leadership Award.

Dr. Fatima Hernandez, a 2020 graduate of the College of Pharmacy, won the Student Organization Adviser of the Year Award for her role leading the Touro CARES Mobile Vaccination Program.

The program that offered its first mobile vaccination clinic in May 2021 is coming to an end after 375 such sessions at schools, community centers, churches and similar settings across Solano County.

Hernandez serves as Pharmacist Project Manager and Principal Clinical Pharmacist with the program. As such, she oversees TUC students who volunteer with the program as they bring targeted health care into the surrounding communities.

A Surprise to Hernandez; No Surprise to College Dean

The TUC Leadership Awards program is organized by the Student Affairs team on campus.

Hernandez says she’s surprised by the recognition in part because she had no idea she had been nominated.

“I felt emotional when I read the email announcing my selection and saw my name on the list,” Hernandez says. “I am always happy to be there for my students, and it is a privilege to know that many of them think highly of me. I must be doing something right.”

Dr. Jim Scott, Dean of the College of Pharmacy, says it’s not a surprise to him that Hernandez would be selected for recognition.

“Her dedication to advising students in a clinical environment is mirrored by her commitment to the patients she serves,” Scott says. “Her friendly demeanor toward everyone makes them feel important and shows that she cares about them and is there to help them.”

“The fact that her work – advising and teaching­ – crosses disciplines without bias helps reflect that all health care practitioners are on the same team,” Scott says, “and on the side of the patients.”

Mobile Vaccination Program a Sustained Success

Touro’s mobile vaccination program got its start as a direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. It’s a partnership that includes, among others, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, Solano County Public Health, and Partnership HealthPlan California.

Hernandez was instrumental in the program when she was a student and has maintained her leadership with the program since completing her Doctorate. But for Hernandez, the joy comes in raising up the members of her team.

“I always measure my personal and professional success by seeing my team grow and teach others what they have learned from me,” she says. “I am proud of their hard work; they make me look great. Therefore, this award also belongs to them.”

The program’s formal name is the Touro Child and Adult Resource Education and Support Mobile Vaccination Program. It has from its inception brought together Touro students, faculty, and staff across all three Colleges to serve at community clinics on a volunteer basis; the University’s Mobile Diabetes Education Center Team – known as MOBEC; and numerous community partners.

The Touro CARES MVP team is winding down. The final free mobile vaccination clinics occurred in May. The grant that funds the program ends June 30. Approximately 8,200 COVID-19 vaccinations were administered free to local residents 3 years old and older who do not have insurance, along with 1,100 influenza vaccines to people 3 years old and older, and 500 Tdap shots – to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, also known as whooping cough – for children 7 and older.