BUFFALO, N.Y. — Karen Brim graduated from Bennett High School and the University at Buffalo's School of Pharmacy in the early 1980s, and says being a woman of color behind the counter back then certainly wasn't easy.
"I'll admit, 30 years ago people would walk into a pharmacy and say, 'I don't want to talk to you. I want to talk to a pharmacist.' They didn't see that representation. They didn't see a pharmacist that looked like me," Brim said.
Her perseverance has had led an accomplished career in healthcare. Now Brim works as a clinical pharmacist behind the scenes with Independent Health and serves on the Independent Health Foundation's Board of Directors. But her passion is when she can be out of the office, and in front of the pharmacy counter, out serving the community.
"I always say, my rent for living on earth is volunteerism," Brim said.
Brim is a champion of the Foundation's "Good for the Neighborhood" program. She selflessly gives her time to go to underserved parts of Western New York for "Ask The Pharmacist" sessions which gives patients the opportunity to walk up and talk about things they might not be able to ask their doctor.
"I've had patients coming back to say look, 'look at my cholesterol. The levels are better. I did what you told me.' That's pretty gratifying."
Her colleagues says her compassion is impactful, and she's supportive to strangers, colleagues and friends.
Brim tries to be visible, not just to establish comfort with patients, but also inspire future generations.
"If you can't see me, you can't be me," she said.
Brim hopes to be a role model for younger generations of women and show them that they too can enter the healthcare field. She also works with UB, D'Youville, and the national Tech Savvy program to encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM.
Good for the Neighborhood "Ask the Pharmacist" sessions are scheduled for the following days and times:
Packard Court Community Center
- 4200 Pine Ave., Niagara Falls, NY 14301
- Wednesday, Oct. 19 4-6 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 21 4-6 p.m.
West Side Community Services
- 161 Vermont St., Buffalo, NY 14213
- Thursday Oct. 13, 2022, 4-5:30 p.m.
Martin Rd Elementary School
- 135 Martin Rd., Lackawanna, NY 14218
- Tuesday, Oct. 18, 5:30-7 p.m.
Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building
- 3001 9th St., Niagara Falls, NY 14305
- Thursday Oct. 20, 2022, 5:00-6:30 p.m.
Westminster Community Charter School
- 24 Westminster Ave., Buffalo, NY 14215
- Wednesday Oct. 26, 2022, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Mt. Olive Baptist Church
- 701 E. Delavan Ave., Buffalo, NY 14215
- Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, 10 a.m. - noon
Akron Newstead Senior Center
- 5691 Cummings Rd., Akron, NY 14001
- Thursday, Nov. 17 5:00-6:30 p.m.
To nominate someone to be featured as one of the "Selfless Among Us" on Channel 2, email details to Melissa.Holmes@wgrz.com .