Unless you are a student who is getting a prescription filled or work in the Student Services Building, you might not have met Patrick Moraleda, although he has been working in Student Health Services as a pharmacist for more than 10 years. His photo also appears in the Bloomington-Normal Public Transportation System bus shelters.
The administrative part of his job keeps him tied to his computer, desk and pharmacy while he deals with pharmaceutical suppliers, checks on drug recalls and fills out the never-ending requisite paperwork. Moraleda said he relieves the other two pharmacists as well as assists with prescriptions during busy periods of the day, which is a nice break in his schedule.
Moraleda said he enjoys working with the students to educate them about their medicines and the proper way to take them. He said the pharmacists ask students the same three questions every time they come through his door. Are you allergic to any medications? Do you have a long-term medical condition? What other medicines are you taking? Moraleda finds students generally respectful and enjoyable and likes the atmosphere of a university.
A native of the Philippines, Moraleda, the youngest of 11 children, was the last member of his family to come to the U.S. His father served as a dentist in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II and immigrated to the United States some years later. Moraleda was in college at the time and decided to remain in the Philippines to finish his college and post-graduate coursework.
During his collegiate years when he was studying pharmacy as a pre-med student, Moraleda had several surgeries that culminated with a cancer diagnosis and the amputation of his right arm. He chose to have his surgery at the national orthopedic hospital and said after waking up minus his arm, he looked around and realized how fortunate he was compared to some of the other patients.
That positive attitude has prevailed through the abandonment of Moraleda’s dream of becoming a doctor, through completion of his five-year pharmacy course of studies and board examination and through the process of learning to adapt to the loss of a limb at a time of life when appearance is so important. After getting his pharmacy degree, he recalls being told by his brother, one of the seven doctors in the family, that he needed two hands to be in medical school for practical reasons and suggested law school instead. Four years later, Moraleda earned his law degree and ultimately passed the bar exam.
As the only one of his siblings left in the Philippines, Moraleda’s felt the call of family beckoning him to the U.S. One of his brothers was working at the Bloomington-Normal Carle Clinic and both of his parents lived in Bloomington-Normal, so Moraleda chose to relocate here. His siblings in the healthcare profession gave him guidance in deciding on the pharmacy profession, and he came to work at Illinois State.
Moraleda said he has adapted well both to the U.S. and with his prosthesis and needs no special accommodations to work at the University. While he appreciates that Illinois State offers accommodations, Moraleda said he would rather others who need it more use the available Disability Concerns and Human Resources programs and services.
The planned expansion of the University pharmacy, while greatly needed, adds to Moraleda’s administrative responsibilities, which is about 70 percent of his job. The addition of new, more sophisticated software in the pharmacy along with the amount of information provided to the students about drug information and potential drug interactions has increased the amount of time for training, continuing education and additional information resources. The pharmacy processes more than 41,000 prescriptions annually, and Moraleda said the pharmacists all need to have their accreditations and licenses renewed every two years.
Kept pretty much tied to the Student Services Building, the busy Moraleda said he does get out during festivals on the Quad when the pharmacy staffs information tables. He and his wife, Claudine, are steady visitors to both the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts and the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, enjoying the symphony and musical performances. They love to travel and visit family, who are scattered throughout the U.S., and hope to visit two of his siblings in Sydney, Australia.