Kelley Kita, Pharm.D., MPH

Pharmacy Manager – Walgreens Vallejo, California

Have you ever driven home after work in complete silence trying to think about what to eat for dinner? Or felt too tired to even make dinner? Have you ever felt like all you eat at work is unhealthy food?

Does every work party have junk food? Does everyone else at work eat healthy? Are you frustrated with not having the energy to go workout after work?

These are just some of the experiences and questions that I have daily. Surpassing my goal to become a pharmacy manager within a year, I’m faced with many challenges and stresses. Some may say that it comes along with the job and it’s what I signed up for. However, the stress of not being in control of my own physical and mental health was pushing me to find change. When my diet is healthy and I have time to put into the gym, I’m a happier, more energetic person. My problem has been trying to find the time, motivation, and energy to workout and eat healthy. I had a hard time reaching out to my co-workers because I didn’t want to be judged at work. I didn’t want to express my feelings of stress and needs at work. Outside of work my family and friends heard about all my stresses at work. Even though I knew they were there for me, I felt like it was hard for them to truly understand the struggles I dealt with on a day-to-day basis.

I saw the Leadership Development Institute (LDI) as an opportunity to grow myself and reach out to the pharmacy community. LDI is a great opportunity for those who are leaders or are ready to become one. I believe that there are many pharmacists who need extra support that they might not have from their peers, friends, or family. They might not even know that there is an opportunity like LDI.

My proposal is to create, in conjunction with California Pharmacists Association (CPhA), a food and fitness social networking session at CPhA conferences called “RX CUT.” At these sessions we will have a section on nutrition for inside and outside the workplace. We can have examples of weekly meal plans and options of healthy food to pick in desperate times. We can also do a short workout or physical activity for the group. The idea is that pharmacists are busy health professionals, where the workplace may not be as accommodating to a healthy lifestyle. We would be connecting pharmacists, technicians, and all healthcare workers to live a healthy life. It will be a platform to start relationships with healthcare professionals who are interested in healthy living and working out. Not only connecting them, also inspiring and empowering them to make a change in their personal and work lives.

Think about yourself, your mental and physical well-being, your longevity in the pharmacy world, and your happiness. Think about how many more people we can care about if we care for ourselves first. I know that I would benefit from this program, for I myself have internalized so much stress that it caused me to lose a whole patch of hair on my scalp. I was not working out and keeping my health as a priority during this time of stress. This program is crucial to our health; we all must start somewhere to reach our health goals. We shouldn’t let our health wane due to our lack of motivation getting the best of us. We should lead by example and that means starting with “RX CUT.”

The reason why I’ve chosen to host a networking session that involves food and fitness is because it’s an important part of my life. I’ve learned from LDI to be a player not a victim. I’ve learned that victim statements will not get things done. I will only progress if I become a player and take control of my own life. Time itself is not an excuse to not workout or eat right, it’s an excuse that a victim would make. LDI has also been a great help in making me realize my Values, Interests, Strengths, and Needs (VISN). I look back at my VISN chart frequently to remind myself why I’m acting or doing the things that I do. It also helps me realize why a task may be a challenge for me because this task may not align with my VISN.