UCSF Pharmacy Student Drowns in Kings River

Olga Beyn

UCSF School of Pharmacy student Olga Beyn, 27, drowned Saturday in a rafting trip with family and friends in the Kings River in Fresno.

Beyn was wearing a life jacket on the rafting excursion when her raft became caught and pulled her under water, according to the Fresno Bee.

Beyn was pulled from the river at 1:30 p.m. Saturday near Pierce’s Park and transported to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where she died at about 8:50 p.m. Saturday, the Coroner’s Office reported.

Three UCSF students were also on the outing and went to the hospital, where they waited with members of Beyn’s family.

Beyn was due to complete her advanced pharmacy practice experiences on the pharmaceutical care pathway in the UCSF Fresno Pharmacy Education Program (PEP) in March. She also served as a teaching assistant for a second-year pharmcokinetics course.

UCSF School of Pharmacy Dean Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, PharmD, described Beyn as an “exceptional student.”

PEP Director Mitra Assemi, PharmD, an associate dean and associate professor of clinical pharmacy, described Beyn professionally as “intelligent, steadfast and professional” and personally as “sweet, always ready with a smile and a kind and caring manner.”

Assemi went to the hospital to offer her support after being called by the pharmacy students. She has been in contact with them and other Fresno-based students and met with Beyn’s family.

Program directors at each UCSF site are available as a local resource for students.

“Olga’s unexpected and untimely passing is an extremely difficult experience we are all processing and sharing at this time,” wrote Assemi in a message to the School of Pharmacy. “Please remember the school is a family and we will be working through this together. As more information becomes available, we will be communicating it directly to your class, the rest of the student body, the faculty and staff in our school and across the UCSF campus community.”

A native of Belarus, Beyn received a BS degree in Neuroscience from UCLA. She was an active member of the student chapter of the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists and was one of the coordinators for the Rx for Drug Awareness community service project in 2009-2009.

Student Counseling Available

Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) is available to provide support for students who need assistance in dealing with this tragedy. The phone number is 415/476-1281 for scheduling an appointment.  SHCS also utilizes a service that provides telephone access to licensed counselors for students who need assistance during nights, weekends, and holidays when its regular staff is not available. Immediate access to a counselor can be achieved by calling 415/476-1281, followed by selecting option 7 when the voice mail recording begins.

UCSF Student Health Insurance will cover students who are in need of counseling and are at Fresno or at any of the other programs throughout the state. In-network providers throughout the state are listed at this website.

Students who have elected to waive out of UCSF Student Health Insurance and who need counseling should check with their own insurance plan for coverage options as a first step, but they should also contact Student Health Services for assistance if their insurance does not provide easily accessible counseling options.

Related Link:

So. Cal woman ID’d as Kings River drowning victim
The Fresno Bee, August 1, 2010