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VCU-based fellowship is the only one of its kind in the U.S.

Wasem Gawish portrait in front of an image of the U S Capitol steps.
by Sydney Weber

Wasem Gawish has been selected to be the American College of Clinical Pharmacy-American Society of Health-System Pharmacists-Virginia Commonwealth University Congressional Healthcare Policy Fellow for 2023-24.

The 14-month fellowship, the only one of its kind in the nation, is based at VCU School of Pharmacy. It provides active mentorship and hands on-experience within the U.S. Congress and ACCP and ASHP government affairs offices. The experience offers fellows the opportunity to develop skills in issue prioritization, policy, legislation evaluation, research, writing and advocacy. 

Gawish has been a practicing pharmacist since earning his B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Cairo University in 2001. In 2022, Gawish completed both his Pharm.D. from Shenandoah University and a dual MBA from Southeastern Oklahoma State with concentrations in General Management and Healthcare Information Systems. 

“I worked in different practice settings including community pharmacy, pharmaceutical industry and clinical/hospital pharmacy,” Gawish said. “This allowed me to perfect my communication proficiency and clinical skills, as well as acquire many competencies that will be crucial to the successful completion of VCU Congressional Healthcare Policy Fellow Program.”

Gawish currently practices as a clinical pharmacist at Oklahoma State University Medical Center and also serves as research committee chair of the National Board of Medication Therapy Management (NBMTMS), where he leads cross-sectional national research on the impact of board certification on patient outcomes. 

“Becoming a member of the board of directors in the NBMTMS gave me a platform to

utilize my skillset in bringing about positive change. This led me to gain the confidence and the determination to further educate myself on regulatory and legislative issues,” Gawish said. 

Along with his experience with the NBMTMS, Gawish further attributed his interest in health care policy after witnessing the many negative consequence of COVID-19 on the community. He has already taken steps to engage on issues related to expanding federally funded health-insurance programs and granting provider status to pharmacists. 

Gawish wrote in his application: “Observing the unreadiness of our health care infrastructure was both eye-opening and a call for action. I believe that a major overhaul of our health care policies must ensue, and I want to take part in it. The VCU Congressional Healthcare Policy Fellow Program is a great opportunity for me to learn policy making at a deeper level through hands-on engagement. The expansion of pharmacists’ involvement in patients’ care as well as patient ease of access to care are two important policy areas to me.” 

The fellowship program, directed by VCU School of Pharmacy associate professor Kristin Zimmerman, was founded 14 years ago under the leadership of professor Gary R. Matzke. For more about the ACCP-ASHP-VCU Congressional Healthcare Policy Fellow program, click here or contact director Kristin Zimmerman at

Categories Faculty and staff news, Pharmacy profession
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