Each month, approximately 4,000 people get their prescriptions filled at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s pharmacy.
Overseeing the bustling and recently expanded facility and its 40 full-time employees is Pharmacy Director Nicole Thibeau, who feels like she’s found her dream job on the ground floor of the Center’s McDonald/Wright Building.
“I’ve always been very socially conscious and I’ve always felt a little bit on the outside of things,” she tells Vanguard. “But here it just feels like I belong. There’s a cause, there’s a reason, everyone is very socially conscious and everyone is here for something bigger than themselves.”
Thibeau left the world of retail pharmacy five years ago to work at the Center.
“It’s been the most rewarding time in my career. It just feels like you are making a difference every day,” Thibeau says. “I find that clients here are much more engaged in their care. They really want to be a part of it. It’s a very different experience from working at a regular pharmacy.”
When Thibeau found out about an opening for a pharmacist position at the Center, she jumped at the chance because she had always wanted to work with HIV clients.
“When I was in pharmacy school I had done a rotation in an HIV specialty care pharmacy in Boston and I just loved it,” Thibeau says. “I found it really interesting and I loved helping those patients. The HIV epidemic happened when I was a child and I felt very effected by it. I always wanted to help patients who had it and it is extremely rewarding.”
The Center is one of the few Federally Qualified Health Centers with providers who specialize in primary care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and people living with HIV. The pharmacy is open to the general public and accepts Medi-Cal, AIDS Drug Assistance Program and most private insurance plans.