Aryn Pinson

ARH Scholars Spring 2019 Winner: Aryn Pinson

Twice a year, students from across the region are invited to apply for the Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) Scholars program. The ARH Scholars are awarded a $5,000 academic scholarship to pursue a degree in healthcare. Their stories are unique, but a common thread unites every winner: a desire to make a difference to the people of Appalachia through healthcare. The Spring 2019 class of ARH Scholars includes 11 talented future healthcare providers.

Aryn Pinson grew up in Pikeville, Kentucky, and she loved it. “I don’t think there is any better place to grow up. I love the hometown feel I get from Pikeville, and always having a community behind you is incredible.”

Aryn also loved Pikeville High School, where her mother is a teacher and where Aryn played volleyball in addition to her academics.

“I don’t think I would be where I am today if I didn’t have Pikeville High School.” Aryn says, “They taught me to have a strong work ethic.”

It takes a strong work ethic to succeed in medicine. While no one in Aryn’s family is in the medical field, she was inspired by friends of the family Sandy and Joel Thornbury, pharmacists who own an independent pharmacy in Pike County.

“They were such a good influence on me, and they are so devoted to their community. When people come into the pharmacy, the Thornburys know them by name and know what they need. They are willing to do anything for anybody. I

think a pharmacist should have those qualities. I love this profession and I credit them completely for that.”

After finishing up her four years at Pikeville High School, Aryn headed off to Eastern Kentucky University for her pharmacy school pre-requisites. Then, Aryn moved to Birmingham, Alabama to start pharmacy school at Samford University. So far, she’s enjoying the opportunities that Samford offers its students.

“This year I took part in the Birmingham Healthcare Access movement, which is a community health fair. We took people’s blood glucose and BMI and offered counseling services. I was stationed doing BMIs, taking the height and weight of patients and calculating their BMI for them. At a different station, someone would talk to them about what their BMI means and how they should go from there. It was eye-opening for me because it brought to light the need in the community.”

With so much need in the community, Appalachian Regional Healthcare is dedicated to helping students achieve their goals of getting a medical education. Aryn Pinson first heard about the ARH Scholars opportunity from her aunt who works at Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center. Though Aryn was overwhelmed at school during the application window, she pushed through and applied. And when she won?

“I was in shock. I could not believe it. It’s awesome that a healthcare provider in our community wants to help students strive for their goals, because sometimes funds are limited, especially in graduate school.”

When Aryn graduates in May of 2022, she plans to start her career at a bigger chain pharmacy to learn the ropes and catch her stride. Ultimately though, she wants to move home to Pikeville and open her own pharmacy.

“I want to help the people in my community,” she said. “I like having an impact on someone’s life. Being from a small community, pharmacists are often the most accessible healthcare provider. If you’re having a medical issue or a concern, you can just walk in and talk to a pharmacist. I want to be the person that my community can come and talk to, and I can help them figure out next steps. “

Full story can be found in Appalachian News-Express, July 30th edition.