About 5% of immigrants in the United States belong to the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. AAPI pharmacists have left a salient mark on the healthcare industry through their pioneering efforts, innovative practices, and consistent advocacy for equitable care. This month is all about celebrating AAPI individuals contributing to the foundation of the pharmacy profession!
Filomena Francisco Guerrero was one of the first Filipino women to obtain a pharmacy degree in 1908. After graduating, she established her pharmacy in Manila and called it "El Carmen Pharmacy" in 1910. Throughout her career, she was engaged in research efforts in chemistry, biology, and microbiology. Although not much is known about Filomena's career, her work led to more women pursing pharmacy degrees. Matlide Arquiza, a contemporary of Filomena, also obtained her degree in 1908, but information regarding her career is lacking.
Matlide Arquiza Filomena Francisco Guerrero (1886 - 1949)
Dr. Jagdish Chandra Bose, of Indian origin, made significant contributions to the field of pharmacy. Born in 1858, Dr. Bose was not only a pharmacist, but also a revered physicist and biologist. After completing his education in India, he ventured to the United States to advance his knowledge in pharmacy. Dr. Bose conducted extensive research on plant-based herbal medicines and their therapeutic properties. His studies served as a blueprint for the advancement of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences. Dr. Bose's contributions to the field of pharmacy have had a lasting impact, contributing to the development of new drugs and creating a deeper understanding of the therapeutic properties of various plants and their extracts. His books include Response in the Living and Non-Living (1902) and The Nervous Mechanism of Plants (1926). Jagdish C. Bose (1838 - 1937)
Takeru Higuchi (1918 - 1987)
Dr. Takeru Higuchi, a highly esteemed figure in the field of pharmacy, is widely recognized for his groundbreaking contributions that have revolutionized the pharmaceutical industry. Throughout his career, Dr. Higuchi dedicated himself to the study of drug delivery systems and pharmacokinetics, leading to remarkable advancements in these domains. His research laid the groundwork for the development of innovative drug formulations, significantly enhancing the effectiveness and safety of medications. Dr. Higuchi's invaluable contributions not only revolutionized patient care but also inspired countless researchers to push the boundaries of pharmacy and drug development.
Another visionary, Dr. David T. Wong immigrated from Hong Kong to the United States to pursue his education in pharmaceutical sciences. He swiftly emerged as a leading expert in drug development and drug delivery systems. Driven by his passion, Wong focused his research on enhancing the bioavailability and efficacy of medications, particularly in the realm of oral drug delivery. His breakthroughs in drug formulation and optimization techniques, including the development of cutting-edge technologies such as nanoparticles and microparticles, have had a profound impact on the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Wong is best known for the discovery of fluoxetine. David T. Tong (1936 - present)
These remarkable individuals have revolutionized drug delivery systems, optimized drug formulations, and established pharmacy education. Their visionary work has not only enhanced the effectiveness and safety of medications but also inspired countless researchers to push the boundaries of pharmacy and contribute to the betterment of diverse populations. As we commemorate Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage month, it is essential to recognize and celebrate the invaluable contributions made by these individuals, as their legacies continue to shape the field of pharmacy and advance healthcare for generations to come.
A big thanks to Ji-Woo Lee (PGWL Intern and University of Rhode Island, P4), Dr. Anjali Bordoloi (Fellow at BOLDSCIENCE, University of Rhode Island Alumni), and Dr. Kayla Arroco (Pharmacist at Greater Lawrence Family Health, University of Rhode Island Alumni) for their work on this blog!
3. Takeru Higuchi” Pharmaceutical Chemistry pharmchem.ku.edu/takeru-higuchi. Accessed 29 May 2023.
4. THE FIRST FILIPINO DOCTORS OF MEDICINE AND SURGERY (1878-97) Luciano P.R. Santiago
6. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose". Encyclopedia Britannica, 16 Apr. 2023, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jagadish-Chandra-Bose. Accessed 30 May 2023.
7. Valdes JN, de Pablos Pons F, and Carillo AR. Some Asian Women Pioneers of Chemistry and Pharmacy. Foundations. 2022;2(2):475-87.