Being a part of RxPharmacist has been rewarding in many ways. Thanks to a colleague and friend, I was introduced to the RxPharmaicst Internship opportunity and applied. Prior to applying, I was really confused about professional plans after graduating from pharmacy school (May 2020). As on the verge of graduating with my pharmacy degree in 2020, I also had no plans for the next phase of my life. I later successfully passed the NAPLEX exam but found myself struggling to pass my state’s MPJE exam. At RxPharmacist, I served as a Data Analytic Informatics Intern, in charge of creating online MPJE content. While doing so, I was also able to study for the MPJE at my own pace and passed!
I have witnessed the profession of Pharmacy play a vital role in alleviating chronic and infectious diseases which stirred my intellectual curiosity. This was further reinforced when I witnessed my father having a diabetic attack, which almost led to a stroke. Barriers such as lack of affordable healthcare and medication non-adherence was the leading cause of his inability to properly manage his condition. This incident left a huge impression on me and re-established my desire to want to help engage underserved populations in better managing their disease condition through my public health expertise, pharmacy, and other clinical initiatives. From my personal experience, I can engage and empathize with healthcare providers, patients, and their families in understanding the outcomes that are important to them and co-creating sustainable solutions.
Over the years of schooling obtaining a Master’s in Public Health: Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Doctor of Pharmacy degree, I’ve acquired the necessary research, analytical and statistical skills including methods to test hypothesis for association or causality of different risk factors and health outcomes in different populations, as well as build clinical knowledge to effectively promote and deliver optimal healthcare. In addition, I have been able to work within teams to evaluate the clinical effectiveness and value of the Pneumococcal vaccine in pediatrics in the state of Maryland, working with the Maryland Emerging Infections Program and Active Bacterial Core Surveillance team at Johns Hopkins University in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The research was a case-control study that evaluated the effectiveness of the 13-valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13) against invasive Pneumococcal disease (IPD) in children 2-59 months living in Baltimore. Clinical endpoints were not assessed for the new antigens, which led us to conduct a post-licensure matched case-control study to assess vaccine effectiveness.
Joining RxPharmacist gave me better insight on how to constructively figure out my life goals while helping other students succeed to prepare for their NAPLEX, MPJE, and BCPS exams. The internship later convinced me that the next stage of my learning may lay in the field of public health professionally as a pharmacist. The internship led to an opportunity to continue my development as a Public Health professional, serving as an Epidemiologist. I later plan to combine my public health and pharmacy efforts linking disease prevalence and drug utilization, to enable development of effective health policies, as well as allow disease prevention to be placed within a larger context. At RxPharmacist, I found being in an environment that’s right for me in terms of performing tasks that allow for personal enjoyment and professional growth.
-Catherine W., 2021 RxPharmacist Intern