Skip to main content

The Family Business

When Dr. Josh Garcia decided to pursue a career in health care, he was in many ways going into the family business.

His grandfather was a physician, and his mother was among a number of family members on both sides who had followed a calling into nursing. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Dr. Garcia often heard about the nobility of the health care professions. He also witnessed it firsthand, as the very reason his family was situated in rural Pennsylvania. This area was underrepresented and his grandfather, after having completed his medical residency in the Philippines, chose to serve as it was desperately in need of doctors.


As Dr. Garcia deliberated in high school between pursuing medical school or nursing school, he met a local pharmacist who opened a window to a world that perfectly married together his family legacy with his own particular gifts. “This pharmacist explained how in her field she had the science-based expertise in medications, but also a ton of interactions with the patients,” says Dr. Garcia. “They trusted her and she developed great relationships with them over time. And I loved that. Building connection and being able to do it in a health care setting fit everything for me.”

Before beginning pharmacy school, Dr. Garcia’s notion of the profession was, like so many others’, limited to a person behind the counter at the major retail chains. As that notion expanded, so did his interests, and he pursued a postdoc residency in clinical hospital pharmacy, and then a specialty residency in infectious diseases. By this time he felt quite reasonably that he had achieved all of his professional goals, but then his career plans expanded once more. He realized how much he loved teaching and mentoring students.

“I love all aspects of being an academician, from teaching to research to service,” he says. “But ultimately it all boils down to the impact you can have in one professional’s life. Just like that first pharmacist was a role model for me, and inspired me with her passion for people. And the thing that I find most enjoyable is being able to guide a student who’s just like me, who initially had no idea what area of pharmacy they wanted to do. If I can help them discover a passion or understand the impact we have on patients, or help them get that job, it’s my favorite part of this work.”


Before his current role as Student Outreach & Pathways - College of Pharmacy Specialist, Dr. Garcia was serving as the Director of Admissions for the College of Pharmacy. One of Dr. Garcia’s greatest innovations there was to package everything that makes MBKU special – such as its student-centered, generous, and family-like community – and present it dynamically to prospective applicants. He did this with a very simple approach: put current students front and center. With the Admissions Ambassador program, prospective students get an intimate and authentic look at what it’s like to attend MBKU, guided by experts who are friendly, enthusiastic and honest.

In this way the program makes the strongest case for itself, and Dr. Garcia has no reservations about granting this inside look, because the “insides” are in such good shape. “The overall tone I observed in some students in pharmacy school back when I attended was that they couldn’t wait to get out,” he says. “Here, it’s different. Students wish we had a residency because they want to stay! Of course our students are challenged, but we also go to great lengths to make sure that they are supported just as much. Our students know we have an environment where they can feel comfortable and learn.”