College of Pharmacy at Marshall B. Ketchum University student Hakam Jameel, 21, grew up a Type 1 diabetic in war-torn Baghdad, Iraq. Locating insulin was often extremely difficult. As an aspiring pharmacist, he hopes to better people’s lives through quality, accessible care – something he did not experience in Iraq.
“It serves a greater purpose, which is making people’s lives better,” Jameel says of his chosen profession.
Born and raised in Baghdad, Jameel and his family – a younger sister and parents – moved to Jordan after the war and then to California when Jameel was a junior in high school. His parents were physicians in Iraq, but could not practice during and after the war due to violence and kidnappings.
“We couldn’t secure our safety,” says Jameel. “And it was hassle for us to get our hands on medicine after the war. There was no assistance, no government. It was complete chaos.”
Building a Life of Service
Moving to the states has allowed the family to escape the violence of war-torn Iraq and build a better life. Jameel graduated from San Diego State University with an undergraduate degree in biology in 2016. He knew early on that he wanted to enter pharmacy school.
“It offers me an opportunity to live up to my potential while serving a greater purpose,” Jameel says of pharmacy school. “It also allows me to maintain a good life.”
The COP program at MBKU has surpassed his expectations, he says.
“I’m getting an amazing education,” he says, adding MBKU is a “friendly environment” that offers “seamless interactions with faculty.”
“They are always there to contact for any reason,” Jameel says of the COP faculty. “They are our support system and professors – both.”
He says he especially enjoys the free health fairs MBKU organizes with the Lion’s Club. He helped to perform blood pressure and diabetes screenings at a recent fair held near the beach. Jameel also served his class as president during his second year, a leadership opportunity that gave him “the opportunity to be more involved on campus,” he says.
Aiming for Practicing in a Hospital Setting
After graduation, Jameel says he hopes to work in a pharmacy in a hospital setting.
“That’s where I feel I could interact with patients at their most vulnerable moments but still be able to offer the most help,” he says.
When he’s not studying, Jameel enjoys watching professional soccer and basketball. He also plays the sports in pick-up games and enjoys cooking.