Kayla helped her homeless patient get his medication

A woman sits at her desk ready to type on her keyboard.

Lifelong Maine resident Kayla Stewart started her professional career as a researcher in a laboratory. “I was working with pipettes, PCR reactions ... it was very boring and lonely,” she remembers. “The test tubes didn’t talk back. I wanted to meet people, to help them.” 

One round of pharmacy school later, Kayla now does just that, serving the Portland community as a CVS Specialty pharmacist treating patients with complex and rare conditions — and there are many who need her help.

“We have a partnership with a local clinic to help provide care to people struggling with homelessness,” she explains. “When you’re worried about your next meal or shelter for the night, refilling your medication isn’t at the top of your priority list.”

Putting her patients’ health needs first

As a pharmacist for many people who fit this description, Kayla often takes extra steps to make sure their health care needs are met. Site Manager Cheri Wiley can attest: “It’s Kayla’s ability to relate to people on a real human level that builds strong bonds and helps them to stay adherent to their medication. It can be lifesaving,” she explains.

Kayla and Cheri smile and pose next to one another.
Kayla and Cheri know the value of helping those who are most in need.

But sometimes, those barriers are really steep. “One of my patients had missed a dose of his Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment,” Kayla recalls. “So, I called him to check in. He didn’t seem to want to tell me at first — homelessness can carry a stigma — but he had missed his dose because he was living out of his car. He had no place to have his medication shipped and didn’t have enough gas, or the funds to purchase it, to drive the 40 minutes to pick it up. It broke my heart.”

Kayla was determined to find a solution. Using a local courier service, she had his medication delivered to him at the parking lot where his vehicle was located. Not only that, because he lacked a refrigerator to store the temperature-sensitive medication, she arranged for delivery the exact day the injection was needed. 

Thank you, Kayla, for literally going the extra mile so your patient could get the medication he depended on.

Heart At Work recognizes CVS Health heroes across the country who bring their hearts to work to help people on their path to better health. Read their stories, watch their videos and celebrate our CVS Health Heart At Work heroes along with us!