news-category: Bulldog Profiles

Gardner-Webb Alumna is Clinical Pharmacist Caring for Patients with Chronic Diseases

a photo collage of Laura Demilio, on left before Covid-19, on right after Covid-19 with PPEr

Laura Demilio, ’12, Works at Inner City Healthcare Clinic in Baltimore, Md.

Gardner-Webb University alumna, Laura Wilcox Demilio, ’12, is a clinical pharmacist at an inner city healthcare clinic in Baltimore, Md. Many of her patients have uncontrolled chronic diseases and multiple health problems. Additionally, they are transient and experience financial and food insecurities.

“My role as a clinical pharmacist is to work with the integrated healthcare teams to deliver unique and innovative care to our patients,” Demilio offered. “Some of my daily responsibilities include: leading diabetes education classes, making drug therapy recommendations, monitoring laboratory values, educating patients on new diabetes technology, and providing education on novel medication therapies.”

Demilio, a native of Normal, Ill., was recruited in 2008 to play volleyball at Gardner-Webb. On her first visit to Boiling Springs, her initial thought was that the campus was small. However, by the end of the tour, she sensed that GWU was the right place for her. “I was caught in the ‘Webb,’” she shared. “The people at GWU were so kind and everyone seemed so happy. The campus wasn’t overwhelming, but instead inviting and safe. I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else, and it just felt like home.”

Laura Demilio poses with GWU Professor of Chemistry Dr. Ben Brooks at the awards ceremony before her graduation from Gardner-Webb.

As she began her freshman year, she liked science and math but wasn’t sure what to declare as her major. “The first semester of freshman year, our academic schedules were made for us and I am so grateful that I was in Dr. (Ben) Brooks’ freshman chemistry class,” she observed. “Dr. Brooks is truly passionate about the subject, as well as the students he is teaching. He was genuinely invested in our success and made sure we were well prepared for the next level of our education. I truly believe this class made me realize that I wanted to major in chemistry. And, I quickly learned that the whole science department was extraordinary.”

Once she had settled on a major, it wasn’t long before she was sure of her career path. “I always knew I wanted to work in healthcare, and pharmacology has a strong chemistry foundation,” she related. “Honestly, I am not sure if I would have had the confidence to pursue a doctorate without the education that GWU provided. I think for me, the small class sizes and the investment the professors put into the students at GWU made all the difference.”

She served as a chemistry teaching assistant and was a member of the Tri Beta Biology Honor Society. After graduating with her bachelor’s in chemistry, she was accepted to Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, where she received her Doctor of Pharmacy in 2016. “Gardner-Webb prepared me for graduate school by teaching the fundamentals and constantly building upon our knowledge,” Demilio asserted. “We were definitely challenged but also well prepared. I also remember the science department putting on mock graduate school interviews to help prepare us for the next chapter of our education. GWU truly goes above and beyond for their students, and I am forever grateful.”

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