Profiles In Public Health: LCDR Maya Thompson, Pharmacist


My name is Commander Maya Thompson. I’m a pharmacist with the Indian Health Service
with the Commissioned Corps in Chinle, Arizona. I can’t even imagine my life not in the Commissioned
Corps. I think it makes me feel worthy. It makes me feel like I have a sense of accomplishment
and that I am doing something for a greater good, that
it’s not just for a personal gain, that it’s for the public
and it’s for advancing the health of our Nation. Hello! My name’s Maya. I’m a pharmacist. What’s your name? I joined the Commissioned Corps when I finished my pharmacy studies. I had heard a lot about the Commissioned Corps
throughout my years in schooling and several people who
had come back who had had experiences with the Public Health Service
who had said that they really enjoyed their experiences. And I thought that it would be an interesting
thing to check out. So that’s what kind of got me interested in
doing it. Being where I am is a unique location in that
I live on the Navajo reservation and it’s a pretty remote
location. The population here is not the same. It’s not the same type of environment as in
just the general population. I mean, people live in more remote areas and
sometimes it’s harder to get access to health care. And so I feel that being here gives me, I
guess, a little more opportunity to do something. The mission of the Commissioned Corps is to
protect and advance public health throughout the Nation, and that
can take form in many ways through prevention programs with
vaccines or through emergency disaster relief. We’re also deployed to both national and international disasters and emergency response. Hello! I think that what gives me the greatest satisfaction
is that even if it’s just one person, that’s good
for me. Do you know what type of medication that he was getting from his doctor? As a commissioned officer working with the
Indian Health Service in a remote location, we have great
opportunities to work with physicians, nurses, and other members
of the health care team because we all live together. We live in government housing and we’re able
to establish friendships, relationships that you don’t
get in other sectors of health care. It’s a career. It’s not just a job. And it’s also just about a lifestyle and a
way of living. Since I’ve been here I’ve become part of the
community. I participate in some of the community activities
and after hours we have potluck dinners every so often. We invite people from our department and other
departments and we’ll just get together and hang out and
have a good time. So tell me some more about the petroglyphs
on the walls. Like, what type of meaning do they have? These were done by the Anasazi people. Supposedly they represented certain clans. I love being out here, just the wide open
spaces and just this natural beauty around here. It’s amazing, absolutely amazing. And it’s just serene and calm and gives me
a chance to do some of the things that I like to do-sketching
and sometimes painting a little bit. But I really enjoy learning about the Navajo culture and customs. To me the Commissioned Corps means a sense
of pride, a sense of accomplishment. It means a way of life and it means a career, a lifelong career.