VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Of the 256 pharmacists in the Air Force, about 25 percent reach board certification. One of those pharmacists serves at Vance Air Force Base.
Capt. Anh Ison, a pharmacist with the 71st Medical Group, passed her board certification on the first try despite the challenges she faced to get there.
“I was born and raised in Vietnam,” said Ison. “I came here when I was almost 19 years old. I was a high school student in Vietnam, and now I’m a captain in the Air Force running a pharmacy.”
Ison and her family moved from Vietnam to Oklahoma, where she began her doctorate as a pharmacist at the University of Oklahoma. While in her third year of pharmacy school she commissioned as an officer and attended officer training school after graduating.
“It’s not very common for pharmacists to get board certified in general,” said Maj. Kellie Zentz, the 71st Medical Group diagnostic and therapeutic flight commander. “It’s a crazy strenuous process.”
Earning board certification is an extra step to go above and beyond. “It was actually pretty tricky because that’s a lot to handle,” said Ison. “I have a two-year-old, so I would study for 30 minutes during my lunch break, and then when I went home, I would study at night for one to two hours,” she said.
“When I first met her, I was just really impressed because she’s just so hungry, just wanting to learn all about the Air Force and not just about her job, but about being an officer,” said Zentz. “She is always looking for the next step, whether it’s going for a fellowship or another career enhancement.”
Between her Air Force career and her family at home, Ison is dedicated and driven in all aspects of her life. “My advice to anyone, is just take every opportunity that comes your way,” said Ison.