Lalah Ali

School of Pharmacy

Pharm.D.

Recipient of the 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award

Photo of Lalah AliLalah's time at Duquesne has been marked by her years of service to incoming students through the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at Duquesne University's Pre-Orientation Program and learning about all the pharmacy profession has to offer.

The Indiana, PA native had lived in several different states before settling in Indiana with her family ten years ago. Her parents were born in Pakistan and she is the first one in her family to be born and attend college in the U.S. Most of her family are in the healthcare field, including her father who is a doctor.

In addition to her work with the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Lalah has served as the Chronic Kidney Disease Chair of the Student National Pharmaceutical Organization, the student affiliate of the National Pharmaceutical Association (NPhA) and as an executive officer of the International Student Organization. This past spring she was awarded a 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award.

"I think initially I was really set at working in hospital and having a clinical position and sort of as I've gone through school and actually did work at a hospital for some time, I kind of realized that I don't really know what I want. It wasn't until I met a woman from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at a conference and I thought that was a really interesting position to have. I didn't know that pharmacists worked at the FDA."

"Our school has a rotation at the FDA so I applied and got it. I'll be going there in October to do a five-week rotation. I'm really excited about that because I feel like that is an area that I liked to work in - how drugs get accepted by the FDA, that pathway for how we approve drugs."

In addition to her rotation at the FDA in Washington, D.C., Lalah will be doing rotations in Pittsburgh on infectious diseases at Allegheny General Hospital, a generalized hospital rotation at the Cleveland Clinic, ambulatory care at a hospital group outside of Pittsburgh, acute care at UPMC Mercy, a retail pharmacy rotation in downtown Pittsburgh, and finally in New York City at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's Oncology Institute.

Though she grew up living a lot of other places and will be traveling a lot for her rotations, she said that, "I'm glad I went to college in Pittsburgh to be honest. I realized very quickly that I wanted to be closer to home. I don't go back that frequently but just nice to know that I'm not that far away. I felt less intimidated at Duquesne. I thought it would be easier to maneuver through here than a larger school."

In speaking about how important the Pre-Orientation Program has been for her she says, "a group of us got together and started revamping the program to what it is now. To have been a part of it for almost the last five years is so cool. I'm so proud of the program and proud of the people who come through it and participate. To get to meet all those people is really an amazing experience."

Lalah thought it was very important to always be honest with new students, particularly about what the student experience has been like for her and her fellow group leaders. "I think it's hard to be honest sometimes, especially when it's sort of in a negative way. It needs to be real so that people can relate to you and feel like they're not alone when they start this process (of coming to college)."

A new group of students have been selected to take over the program and she noted that, "it was a little hard to hand over the reigns because you've worked so hard on it. I have full faith in this new group. They are amazing and I know they care about the program and will do a great job."