One alum of the University of New England’s Pharmacy program is being lauded as Framingham, Massachusetts’ “unsung hero.”
Shivang Patel, Pharm.D. ’15, owner and pharmacist of MetroWest Pharmacy on Union Avenue there, has stepped up in unprecedented ways to help his community during the novel coronavirus pandemic, the MetroWest Daily News has reported. Throughout the pandemic, he has donated medicines, masks, sanitizer, and other medical supplies – plus his time – to organizations and people in need throughout the city of nearly 72,000 people.
Patel, a third-generation pharmacist, came to the United States from India, where he held a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy that did not transfer to the U.S. He enrolled at UNE, earned his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2015, and began working for Walgreens in Worcester, Massachusetts, before opening his own shop in Framingham.
Even pre-COVID-19, Patel went above and beyond for his patients.
He already offered on-site vaccinations for the flu, shingles, and more; he delivered medications to patients who had difficulty leaving their homes; and he pre-segregated pills for patients who took multiple medications a day.
“We wanted to differentiate ourselves from other pharmacies to show that this is one of those mom-and-pop-kind of pharmacies that have distinctive services to support patients and support the town,” Patel told reporter Jeannette Hinkle. “People have different problems in their lives. We can make their lives easier for them.”
But, once the coronavirus struck, he doubled down on his efforts to aid his community.
Patel donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to Framingham’s police and fire departments when first responders were running low. He also donated supplies to MetroWest Medical Center across the street from his business.
Patel started offering outdoor flu shots for people who felt uncomfortable being vaccinated indoors, and he has volunteered for Framingham Coronavirus Community Outreach, a mutual aid group that supports residents struggling because of COVID-19. He has donated masks and gloves to the group and delivered supplies on their behalf.
Patel also donated about 150 bottles of hand sanitizer and 1,200 masks to Discovering Hidden Gems, a local youth engagement organization, and he has even filled prescriptions for people who could not afford their medications, eating the cost of the medicine himself.
“I like to help,” Patel told the paper. “Somebody’s asking for my help? Yes, I’m there. Whatever it is, I will always be there to help.”