YLS Member Spotlight: Courtney Patterson

Courtney Patterson, an oncology clinical pharmacist for Advocate Health, is the chair of the YLS Issue Awareness Committee. Read on to discover how she joined YLS, how her day job contributes to her positive, sunny attitude, and why you would be lucky to be invited to one of her dinner parties. Where did you grow up, attend high school and go to college? I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, where I attended Stanton College Preparatory High School. I went to college at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, where I received my doctorate in pharmacy. Why did you join YLS? I relocated to Chicago because of a job opportunity and it was a nice way to form a like-minded professional group of friends. I believe in the mission of United Way, and working with YLS makes me feel that I am positively contributing to the world around me. Tell us about your role as chair of the Issue Awareness Committee and what some of your goals are for this year? As chair of the Issue Awareness Committee, it is my role to keep YLS attuned to the problems that the community we serve is facing. Last year we focused on education, and this year we are concentrating on health. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in every state, more than 20% of the population is overweight. So this year we will host two events, “Calories In” and “Calories Out.” One highlighting what we can do to improve our diets and the access to healthier choices in the community and the other focusing on exercise. There are so many good non-profit opportunities. What makes YLS the right option for you? YLS is a good opportunity for me because I can see the impact that I am making. It’s more than just writing a check or volunteering an hour or two. I get to see and talk to agencies and people that United Way has impacted. That makes it the right option; YLS is passionate about what I am passionate about, and I get to be a witness to the positive transformation and impact. What causes are most meaningful for you to support? As a pharmacist, health is my business. I see so many people who struggle with medications, and to some extent what they suffer from is preventable. Knowledge is power and a well-informed patient is a better patient. So health is near and dear to my heart. Tell us about your professional career? I work for Advocate Health as an oncology clinical pharmacist, mostly with the outpatient community. I assist them with patient education, streamlining the oncology service line, developing cost containment strategies while improving the quality of care, along with traditional pharmacy duties. I was recently accepted into the Health Care Management Concentration of Loyola’s School of Business and start class at the end of August. Pairing my doctorate of pharmacy with an MBA will allow me to better serve my profession and eventually become director of pharmacy to make an even bigger shift in the care delivered to patients. How does that influence the causes you support? I work in oncology: no one asks for cancer, no one. However, we can take better care of ourselves to prevent certain disease, heart failure, diabetes, etc. I see people every day and in my mind I know that their days are numbered, so it greatly influences the causes I support.  It makes me grateful for what I have and I complain less. Seeing a breast cancer survivor, or someone suffering from the illness, smile makes me humble, and realize that I have so much of myself to give every day. How did you get to be such a good cook? I had two hard-working parents growing up and my grandmother would help them take care of me. My grandmother is the epitome of a Southern belle and a phenomenal cook. I spent after-school days and summers with her and that’s where I learned to and developed a love for cooking. She felt a Southern woman who didn’t know how to cook was utter blasphemy. So I spent many after-school days over the stove! Some fun ones: Favorite TV show? Secret Millionaire – Hopefully I will be a millionaire one day and can donate thousands to charities. Favorite book? Patti LaBelle’s Cook Book Favorite movie? Sex and the City What are your iPod favorites? Greatest Hits – Whitney Houston or Off the Wall – Michael Jackson What are your biggest hobbies? Running (I just completed my FIRST half-marathon last month at the Chicago Rock and Roll). I also play the piano and enjoy reading (just finishing up the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ series) How do you enjoy spending summer in Chicago? I love running along Lakeshore Drive, the ‘Movies in the Park’, ‘Music Mondays’ in Millennium Park and the many festivals.

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