Lee Amaya, stage name SouLeePharmD, is our very own rapping pharmacist.
Amaya fell in love with rap music and poetry during high school. “I became infatuated with the flow and rhyme schemes of songs while listening to my favorite artists. The raw passion displayed and the topics they rapped about resonated with me,” says Amaya.
Inspired, he began writing and producing his own rap music that he shared over the Internet. “Rap provided me with an outlet to voice my grief and frustrations with the world. Being a science nerd, this allowed me to express a side of me that I rarely revealed.”
One of his first live performances was in front of his entire high school. “No pressure there!” says Amaya.
The performance was part of a senior project that was required to graduate from high school. Consisting of an internship, mentorship, faculty-run seminar or independent project of the student’s design, the project is quite the undertaking. Instead of the usual fare, Amaya asked if he could compose a rap album and the school agreed -- of course with the oversight of his honors English teacher. Most would choose creating and producing one song in five weeks, but Amaya chose an album! Then, he selected one song to perform at a school-wide assembly. That project solidified his interest in the art form and he’s been writing, performing and producing ever since.
“Because my time was extremely limited during pharmacy school, I didn’t have a lot of time to be creative and write raps during the program,” says Amaya. He did, however, write and record one rap during his fourth year for a reflection project. The song, which highlights his experiences as a pharmacy student, is the basis for a music video that has been developed by the school.
In addition to Amaya, current students and faculty participated in the taping at various locations at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. Staff member Dana Brandorff suggested the music video concept to Amaya, and directed and produced the piece, while videographer/content producer Stephanie Carlson taped and edited the video.
Future goals for Amaya include creating educational raps about pharmacy-related topics in a similar fashion to ZDoggMD, who raps about medical issues and conditions and releases them to the public through social media.
“I would love nothing more than to be able to combine my musical talents with my pharmacy knowledge by writing songs about various healthcare topics to educate those who learn in an auditory manner,” says Amaya.
In the meantime, Amaya has lined up a PGY-1 residency at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, which is sure to consume a lot of his time. ”Once I’m finished with residency and have more free time on my hands, I will definitely try to become the rapping pharmacist!”
Reflections of a P-4
Let’s take a trip down memory lane
To recognize the school that left me better than I came
Now professionalism is steady flowing through the veins
And infected with wisdom to analyze gram stains
At the University of Colorado
Leadership in pharmacy has always been the motto
Faculty members have set examples we can follow
Phi Delta Chi Sigma Brothers yelling “bravo!”
Now looking back to first year
I get real sense of what I learned here
Communication skills, how to make the pills
And a genuine devotion to reshape the field
Through interprofessional education
Got to work with students of different healthcare occupations
Determining the plan of patient simulations
And giving way too many case presentations
And now I’m dosing Vanco
Pharmacokinetics is a pharmacy staple
Ensuring safety, and our patients are stable
Crash cart filled and the meds are labeled
We do more than count by fives
Always taking time saving patient lives
Looking over DDI’s
And the prodrugs that need to hydrolyze
We are the Skaggs School of Pharmacy
In the mile-high city where it’s hard to breathe
Whether asthma, infection, or heart disease
We stay monitoring meds in the chart with ease
In addition to creatinine clearance
Calling all our patients to verify their adherence
Giving education so that they can understand
That they’re taking Synthroid for their thyroid gland
And with so many doses
Always gotta remain focused
Learning pharmacotherapy from respected professors
Authors to guidelines every semester
They helped me become independent practitioner
When pharmacy training required analyzing literature
And working with a team to improve patient outcomes
All my APPEs, couldn’t’ve done it without ‘em
And I sit here grateful
For every teacher that was willing to provide me
Guidance, education ‘til I got a brain full
Can’t contain appreciativeness inside me
And let’s not forget my peers
Who throughout the years gave me lots of cheer
I am ready for my career
And to practice at the pharmacy frontier
Guest contributor: Dana Brandorff