September 1, 2022

Volunteer Spotlight: Laura Licari, 2021 Pharmacy Volunteer of the Year

Laura Licari has been a pharmacist for 16 years and a CommunityHealth volunteer for 14 of those years! As someone who is proud of pharmacists’ contribution to the health care system, she has been happy in her professional career. Laura has brought her skills to a variety of settings, including community pharmacy, specialty pharmacy, managed care, and finally in academia for the last four years. She hails from Villa Park, IL, where she has lived since 2005 with her partner Mike. As a pharmacist and long-time advocate for CommunityHealth, Laura’s enthusiasm and passion make her an ideal member of our team. You can check out her speech from the 2021 Volunteer of the Year Awards here, and read on to learn more about her!


Do you have any special talents/skills you’d like to share?

After college I took a gap year before graduate school. I found a job at the Illinois Eye Bank, a nonprofit that assists with cornea donation and transplant. I worked for a year at a technician and would remove the corneas from the donors for transplant. I also completed enucleations for research. Part of the job was to contact the next-of-kin for consent for donation, and those conversations really stayed with me.


Do you have a fun fact you’d like to share?

My partner Mike works for a candy company, and sometimes I get to do taste tests of new products!


What does your ideal vacation look like?

Camping in GOOD weather with clear skies!


Why and how did you begin volunteering at CommunityHealth?

Oh my gosh, in 2008!


Do you remember your first day? What surprised you?

It was brand name drugs by donation only. There was one medication for about a dozen chronic conditions. It is so much better now with stock medications and donations.


What has kept you volunteering all this time?

I love the patients most of all. The pharmacy and administrative staff at CH are the best.


What is something you’ve learned from volunteering at CommunityHealth?

Absolute gratitude for how important healthcare is in a person’s life.


What has been your biggest takeaway from your time with CommunityHealth, and how does this impact your other life or career goals?

I feel like a preacher when I try to recruit pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to volunteer: “It’s good for you soul!”


How has working with CommunityHealth influenced your perception of healthcare?

Our healthcare system need to do better. I am proud of how many patients we serve, but there should be more of a secure safety net that is fully funded.


How can CommunityHealth be more supportive of your journey?

You do SO much to celebrate volunteers, and we notice it!


What does being a healthcare professional mean to you?

I have an obligation to provide the best care I can to my patients by staying up-to-date on literature/education and always provided empathic care.


Why is volunteering important to you? What do you get out of it?

It is hard to put into words. I just feel completely energized after a shift.


What advice would you give to a new volunteer at CommunityHealth?