You could say Van Tran got the most out of her college experience.
Tran graduated cum laude from Emory & Henry College in 2005. She was a Bonner Scholar for three years. And she received the outstanding senior scholarship at graduation.
Despite those accomplishments, Tran said she most appreciates the community service she performed while a student — swinging a hammer for Habitat for Humanity and being a friend to youth with disabilities at River’s Way adventure center.
“As a student, I helped others believe they can do anything they put their minds to,” said Tran, a mathematics and chemistry major with a minor in biology.
Not much has changed when it comes to Tran’s mission to serve others. The alumna continues to make a difference in the lives of youth as a clinical pharmacy specialist for the neonatal intensive care unit (NINU) and general pediatrics at Inova Children’s hospital in Falls Church, Virginia. She began her work at Inova Children’s Hospital in March.
Tran wasn’t sure what path she would follow after graduating from Emory & Henry. “At that time, I only was acquainted with retail pharmacists who most of us see on a day-to-day basis. I wasn’t sure my passion would lie with clinical pharmacy.”
She credits her education at Emory & Henry for giving her the confidence to accept challenges—even when those challenges are out of her comfort zone.
“E&H taught me that the only limitation is the one you set for yourself. You are as successful and as strong as you make yourself. As long as you have the drive, there are people who will help you make it happen,” she said.
“In addition, I do believe in paying it forward and helping the next generation by instilling the same values and qualities that my mentors from Emory & Henry so graciously instilled in me. I also believe in being humble and thankful for everything that you have.”
Before focusing on pharmacy, Tran received a master’s degree in business administration from Touro University in California in 2009. “I had to keep myself extra busy when my husband, Charles Hewitt, also a 2005 alumnus, was deployed to Iraq,” she said.
In 2011, Tran received her doctorate in pharmacy from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy.
She continued her education by completing her first year residency in pharmacy practice at Bon Secours Health Systems in Richmond, Virginia, in 2012 and then a second year residency in pediatrics at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. in 2013. She was a clinical pharmacist at the University of Virginia’s Children’s Hospital from 2013 to 2015.
“The people I work with at Inova are brilliant, humble and simply amazing. I also enjoy the work that I do,” she said. “I’m making a difference when I serve as an advocate for my pediatric patients and help to optimize their pharmacotherapy.”
Tran performs a variety of duties on a daily basis from managing medications for patients to creating and updating policies and procedures to ensure safe practice and administration of medications. She verifies the medications ordered by physicians, making sure the medicines are appropriately used and there are no interactions with other medications used by the patients.
“This is extremely important as pediatrics ranges from premature 23-week infants to young people18 years of age. Sometimes we get patients in their 20s with illnesses such as cystic fibrosis.”
Her other duties include answering drug information questions that physicians or residents may have, and managing pharmacokinetics of certain medications. She also manages antimicrobial stewardship, which is making sure the right antibiotics are used, the correct dose is prescribed, and the frequency and duration of the drugs are suitable for the patients.
Tran can suggest alternative medications if patients are allergic to certain drugs. She also makes sure patients’ home medications are correct and continued upon admission into the hospital.
Her family and career are very important to Tran, but so are the friendships she made at Emory & Henry.
“The friendships that I made during my days at Emory & Henry are forever bonds, and the mentoring I received from professors I will forever be grateful for. I still keep in touch with my chemistry professor, Dr. Jim Duchamp, and we are currently working together on future research projects. I went from having a mentor to having a friend.”
Tran and her husband, Charles Hewitt (an E&H graduate of the Class of 2005) is a Virginia State Trooper. They have a son, Bronson Hewitt, and a daughter, Scarlette Hewitt. They reside in Fairfax, Virginia.
Bonner Scholars Program, Pi Sigma Kappa, American Chemical Society, Alpha Phi Omega, Habitat for Humanity, River’s Way Program
“As a student, I helped others believe they can do anything they put their minds to.”