A scholarship’s ripple effect

Melissa Varner
July 13, 2021
Bernard Best stands by the MUSC College of Pharmacy Michael P. Araneo Building

Bernard Best estimates he’s borrowed at least $160,000 for his education so far. That includes his undergraduate degree from Clemson University and three years at the College of Pharmacy at the Medical University of South Carolina. And he still has another year to go before graduation.

Scholarships help. “Anytime I get a scholarship, that alleviates some of the financial burden for the semester,” Best said. “It is definitely appreciated.”

A 2004 College of Pharmacy alumnus relieved some of that burden for Best last semester. In 2020, Best became the first recipient of the Dr. M.A. Lee ’04 Endowed Diversity Scholarship. The $2,500 scholarship benefits a deserving underrepresented minority student as he or she pursues a career in pharmacy.

Best hasn’t met Maurice Lee, Pharm.D., but he does follow him on Instagram. There’s a good chance you may recognize @DrMALee too – from his recent television spot with performer John Legend, created to demonstrate the ease and safety of getting a COVID-19 vaccination. The two are part of Walgreens’ “This Is Our Shot” campaign to reach communities hit hardest by the pandemic. The campaign is intended to build trust with those who may be hesitant to get the vaccine.

Like Lee, Best wants to use his voice to build trust and relationships with people from underserved communities. He’s passionate about patient education, especially prevention.

“Diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are so prevalent, especially with African American populations,” Best said. “They kill so many people, and they can be prevented.”

He said some of the patients he met during his clinical rotations had just accepted that they would die of their diabetes as their family members had.

“They didn't know the importance of taking their insulin every day,” Best said.

Eventually, Best plans to pay Lee’s generosity forward to another pharmacy student.

“Once I’m in a position to do that, I want to be able to do that for someone else,” Best said. “It’s more than just the impact you’re making on that one person. There’s a ripple effect whenever you can help someone out.”


About the Author

Melissa Varner

Keywords: Thank You Notes, Pharmacy