College of Pharmacy alumni
By Rebecca Roybal Jones

Prescription for Success

UNM College of Pharmacy Alumni Receive National Service Award

University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy alumni are key to making a Rio Rancho-based pharmacy team the best in the United States, according to SingleCare, a prescription savings service that rated them for the Best of the Best Pharmacy Awards for 2021.

The awards single out five pharmacy teams, 10 pharmacists and 10 pharmacy technicians, according to the SingleCare website.

The team, based at a Walgreens store at 1941 Southern Boulevard SE in Rio Rancho, was ranked No. 1 in the country for its dedication to customer service and willingness to go above and beyond to serve customers and the community. 

The UNM alumni inlude pharmacy manager David Martinez, staff pharmacists Marisa Ochoa and Juanita Resta and pharmacy student Nicholas Olivas.

Ochoa, who has worked at the Rio Rancho location for eight years, says the recognition for providing excellent customer service was “awesome.” Answering patients’ questions and concerns and working with her team are some of the most rewarding aspects of the job, she says.


We have a great team. It’s definitely a team effort. We couldn’t get anything accomplished without each other.
β€” Juanita Resta, Pharmacist

“It’s an honor,” adds Resta, who has worked there for 23 years. “It’s nice to know our patients appreciate us. We have a great team. It’s definitely a team effort. We couldn’t get anything accomplished without each other.”

Pharmacy manager Martinez says the team works well together and really cares about customers.

“I have one of the best staffs,” he says. “They're very self-motivated. They really care about our community, our customers, and it's just great that they've been acknowledged in this capacity.”

Initially, we didn't realize it was it was national recognition,” Martinez says. “We thought it was just for the state. So quite frankly, I was taken aback. It’s good news for my staff.”

Customer service is the team’s forte, Martinez says. “It just seems like it's more of a natural thing for my staff. They'll tend to ask, ‘How are you doing today? What can we do to help you this evening?’”

The staff also works hard to make sure they get prescriptions out as soon as possible, rather than asking customers to return later in the day.

Olivas, a PharmD student in the College, says he really enjoys the aspect of helping patients.

“I've come to know my regulars there, and they're the kindest, sweetest people and I adore them,” Olivas says. “I absolutely love working in that store.”

His coworkers encouraged him to apply to the pharmacy program after he completed training at CNM. 

“(The College of) Pharmacy does great work with instilling that patient-centered care process,” Olivas says. “They're making sure that you're not just focused on the medication aspect but also on realizing that your patients are people as well,” he says. 

That dedication and quality that has drawn him to pursue a career in pharmacy. “We all work together,” Olivas says. “With our store in particular, one of the best aspects that we have good communication skills – and not just with patients but with each other.”

Categories: College of Pharmacy, Education, Top Stories