Close Up

Meet an Innovative Pharmacist Focused on People

Eugenio Fernandez Jr. '13 M.B.A. '13 Pharm.D.

Eugenio Fernandez Jr. ’13, M.B.A. ’13, Pharm.D. ’13, grew up in Providence, the son of Cuban refugees. After amassing an impressive list of degrees, he went back to the neighborhood he grew up in with a big idea: a pharmacy focused on people, in all their complexity.

Eugenio Fernandez radiates an infectious enthusiasm. The founder of Asthenis, a unique community pharmacy grounded in providing reliable health information, his goal is to help as many people as possible, holistically. His URI degrees—biology, psychology, pharmacy, and business—and his graduate degree in public health from Harvard give him the broad perspective he needs to meet that goal.

“My colleagues complained that a 15-minute doctor’s visit wasn’t enough to diagnose and treat. What if someone forgot to ask a question, or didn’t understand? I saw a need for reliable health education outside the doctor’s office.” That’s when the idea for Asthenis was born.

He gave up a job opportunity at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, returned to the Providence neighborhood he grew up in, and poured heart, soul, and savings into launching Asthenis.

“I didn’t want to focus on just the clinical health side—people are more complex than that,” he explains. “People have trouble eating, sleeping, don’t know where to live.”

So Asthenis dispenses not just prescriptions, but also health education and resources. “We don’t turn anyone away. We point them in the right direction. Even if they don’t need a prescription, people can come in and ask questions. It’s an initial triage. We help patients decide whether to go to the ER, or if they can help themselves, or wait for a doctor’s visit. We help them make informed decisions.”

He credits his URI professors in shaping his thinking. “My professors at URI challenged me to think big. This is my interpretation.” •

—Diane Sterrett

Opened in July 2018, Asthenis means patient in Greek, which serves as Fernandez’s constant reminder to focus on people, not administration.