Diplomat Spotlight


September 2017:
Debbie Meyer, BS Pharm -  Diplomat at Purdue University & Co-Diplomat at Sullivan College of Pharmacy


Debbie2Debbie Meyer serves as an AMCP Diplomat for Purdue University and co-diplomat for Sullivan College of Pharmacy. She received her pharmacy degree from Purdue University. She currently works at Humana in Louisville, Kentucky and is the Manager of Managed Care Pharmacy Career Programs, Resident Program Director and precepts students on Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences. She serves as Vice-Chair for the AMCP Membership Committee, the State Advocacy Coordinator for Indiana, member and Past President of the AMCP Affiliate Ohio-Kentucky. Debbie represented managed care with a joint ASHP/AMCP workgroup on the recently updated managed care standards for pharmacy residencies. The new and goals and objectives for managed care pharmacy residencies were recently approved by the Commission on Credentialing and will become effective July 2018 for Managed Care Pharmacy Residency Programs. Debbie was awarded the 2017 AMCP National Preceptor Award and the University of Kentucky’s 2017 Preceptor Award.

How did you become involved in AMCP? I had been an AMCP member for a number of years but became more involved when I began working with pharmacy residents and students. I saw an opportunity to utilize the resources and talents AMCP provides to benefit residents and students and to become more of an advocate with managed care. AMCP staff makes it easy and enjoyable to become and stay involved. Managed care principles are present in the healthcare industry and I see this opportunity to provide managed care as part of pharmacy education. The friendships and networking opportunities within AMCP have been a real blessing for me.   

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? My pharmacy career began as a hospital pharmacist and it was such a great experience to interact with other clinicians to improve the health of patients. Humana transitioned from hospitals to managed care and it was easy to follow and continue to collaborate with clinicians yet become involved more from a business prospective. I honestly never saw managed care as a career path but the opportunity presented and I accepted. Being involved with initiatives to improve and incentivize well-being and health is important as we move to value based healthcare. I have found collaboration between pharmacists and other health care professionals is the best for the patients/members we support.

What was your first job or position in managed care? My first position in managed care was with Humana to perform prior authorizations for Medicare and Commercial members. I learned quickly that numerous opportunities were present in managed care and I continue enjoying managed care pharmacy and my journey on the road less traveled.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role?There are meetings to attend, work and projects constantly change and need to be prioritized, emails that need a response, planning programs, organizing assignments and supporting students and residents in their respective programs. Every day is different, not typical, but opportunity to be involved and contribute in any role is always present.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student chapter or school of pharmacy? My role with Humana allows me to be involved in managed care education as a preceptor for student pharmacists and as a Resident Program Director. There is always an opportunity to interact students at Schools of Pharmacy and student AMCP Chapters sharing practice in managed care. I include managed care principles and application of those principles in Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience rotations with pharmacy students and with residents within their residency. As president of the Ohio-Kentucky Affiliate we put together a mentor program to serve AMCP student chapters. Our first mentor program launched with the Sullivan COP student AMCP Chapter in 2016 and planning is underway to offer the mentor program to the Ohio State student AMCP Chapter this year. I represent managed care at college career programs and often meet and share managed care with pharmacy students. There is a thirst out there for knowledge and I encourage any AMCP member to get involved.

Words of advice? Managed care principles are present no matter the practice setting. Each day is a gift and filled with opportunity. Managed care pharmacy is a small world and it is important to build relationships, develop your professional network, and learn all that you can. Give each opportunity your best, learn something new, and do something to make the day better for someone else; you never know who might be a future co-worker, manager or employee. Be patient with opportunities afforded to you and think more long term than short term when you begin your career. The pharmacy profession will continue to evolve and we should take responsibility to raise the bar for pharmacy and improvements in population health.

 

August 2017:
Ryan Steadman, PharmD, MBA -  Diplomat at University of Cincinatti


ryanRyan Steadman is an AMCP Diplomat with the University of Cincinnati. He currently works for CVS Health on the Pharmacy Benefit Management side as a Strategic Account Director supporting Health Plans. He earned his Pharm.D. from the University of Cincinnati and his MBA from Wright State University in Dayton, OH. Ryan also completed a PGY-1 managed care residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

How did you become involved in AMCP? My I first joined AMCP during my pharmacy residency and immediately began to network and quickly got involved in volunteer activities to quickly learn more about the industry and more about the AMCP organization. My first meeting allowed me the opportunity to network with some veteran leaders in our industry and that catapulted my passion for manged care and helping to change the healthcare landscape.   

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? For me, to be honest I kind of stumbled upon managed care during my last year of pharmacy school. I had always worked retail pharmacy and that was my dream job and career path of choice until my rotations/clerkships opened my eyes to the business side of pharmacy. One experiential rotation in the pharmaceutical industry allowed me to directly interact with healthplans in consultative fashion and that completely changed my career path. Pharmacy and business combined is what truly sold me on moving away from the dispensing and counseling I had planned to make my career.

What was your first job or position in managed care? Post residency, I started my first job as a Clinical Advisor (clinical account executive) with CVS Caremark. In this position, I had the opportunity to consult healthplan clients on formulary decisions, trends in the industry and more importantly interact on a daily basis to ensure my clients’ needs were met to service their members (patients).

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? In my current role as a Strategic Account Director for CVS Health a typical day or typical week is non-existent and that is truly what I love about the job. The job itself is really problem solving and strategy combined to help my clients achieve their goals and for members to get the best care possible. I have a great team that works for me and a great support system in my company that allows me to serve my clients’ needs effectively and efficiently. One day I may work on planning for the following years to come and the next day researching market events or regulatory changes that have an impact to my clients. Every day is a new day and some say new challenge, but I like to consider the challenges as opportunities.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student chapter or school of pharmacy? The University of Cincinnati currently does not have a student chapter. As their Diplomat, I like to keep the faculty and student body informed of major events occurring in the managed care industry and also inform them of activities and opportunities through AMCP. Each year I lead a handful of lectures/labs on managed care topics such as formulary, P&T and the health insurance landscape.

Words of advice? Network, network, network! This industry is a very small but mighty segment of the pharmacy industry and your contacts today will likely be contacts you interact with throughout your career.

 


July 2017:
Ann Sears, BS Pharmacy, RPh -  Diplomat at University of Arizona

 


ann How did you become involved in AMCP? I was working in managed care and my organization encouraged their PICs to be involved at the state and national levels. I went to my first AMCP and volunteered. This exposed me to some wonderful staff and countless members and that was all it took for me to be hooked. I still consider myself Blessed beyond measure at the contacts and friends that I have found through my affiliation with AMCP.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student chapter or school of pharmacy? My initial meetings were interacting with leadership of the College of Pharmacy at University of Arizona. I was able to do a lunch meeting with the students and talk about managed care and AMCP. Eventually this enabled me to do a managed care class for 3rd year students. I also became a preceptor and have had students shadow me outside of rotations.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? I was honestly interested, because there were so many opportunities. The benefits and flexibility are more in keeping with my own personal preferences. I found the collaboration between pharmacists and other health care professionals to be very positive and beneficial to the patients.

What was your first job or position in managed care?My first position in managed care was at Cigna as a staff pharmacist in one of their specialty clinics.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? Currently, I manage a team of ten temps and we work in a remote office. We are responsible for several different projects. Our primary purpose is to research how drugs are covered for particular diseases. We are largely interested in the prior authorization and step therapy aspects.

Words of advice? I would encourage students to get involved and stay open to opportunities. Residencies are great, but your career isn’t over if you don’t get one. You can learn in any situation and from any leader. Pay attention and make the most of what is available to you.

 

June 2017:
Linda Posta, PharmD, MBA, BS Pharmacy, RPh & Daniel Shan, PharmD - Co-Diplomats at University of Saint Joseph, School of Pharmacy, Hartford, CT


Daniel Shan Linda PostaHow did you become involved in AMCP? 
LP: The precursor to my current position involved meeting with payers and other entities that were involved in someway with managed care pharmacy. AMCP provided a means to learn more about managed care pharmacy and also resources. The meetings also provided the opportunity for networking. As I attended more and more meetings, I learned about the Diplomat program and now I am a Co-Diplomat with Daniel Shan.
 DS: When I was a retail pharmacist, I enjoyed being a preceptor and a mentor. I was looking forward to something similar when I came to the managed care pharmacy. In 2013, I volunteered to be a co-diplomat to the University of Saint Joseph. I then developed an urge to help deliver AMCP's messages to the legislatives, and I joined the force of the state advocate coordinators in 2014. I am also very fortunate to have the opportunity to serve the AMCP Northeast Affiliate as a treasurer.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student chapter or school of pharmacy? 
LP: The initial meetings with St Joseph University (SJU) School of Pharmacy were informational, both about opportunities in managed care pharmacy from a payer and pharmaceutical company perspective. Additional meetings lead to the successful formation of an AMCP student chapter. In my interactions with some pharmacy benefit manager companies, I was also able to set up a managed care short term rotational opportunity. Additionally SJU was offered as a site for remote presentations offered by the NorthEast AMCP Affiliate. This last year provided the opportunity for a "speakers bureau" and one of my colleagues who has had considerable experience in the PBM arena, presented the background, inner workings, current challenges and potential managed care pharmacist opportunities at PBMs.
DS
: After the opening of the USJ's school of pharmacy, Linda Posta and I gave speeches of managed care career to the students. We helped the students establish their AMCP chapter. We have been working closely with the dean, and the chapter advisor, and providing advice to the chapter. In the past, the students helped set up a remote site at the campus for Northeast Affiliate webinar meetings. This year, they successfully established a guest speaker program. They also contributed articles which were published in the Northeast Affiliate newsletters.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? 
LP: I have had a myriad of pharmaceutical industry experience dating back to the 1980s including industrial production, quality control, marketing and sales, medical affairs and my current health economics and outcomes research role. The changing healthcare landscape along with the "Big Data" availability provides a forum for the true value of medications to be presented. AMCP was and is a leader in this arena and I found this ability to provide information and data for the betterment of patients very important.
DS
: It was a great idea to be a part of the team with positive impacts on many lives. I liked both the clinical and the business aspects of the job. I enjoyed the fast-changing dynamics and the endless challenges. I also loved the vast networking and growth opportunities in the managed care pharmacy.

What was your first job or position in managed care? 
LP: My first position where I interacted with Managed Care was about six years ago. My responsibilities were to provide the scientific and clinical support for my company's products to managed care accounts. As the decision making process evolved with the evolving health care landscape, my current position now also entails health economics and outcomes research in addition to the clinical/scientific support.
DS
: Before coming to the pharmaceutical industry, I worked on the payer side. I started as a Regional Pharmacist Program Manager at Anthem.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? 
LP: While my specific responsibilities may change from time to time, I spend a considerable amount of time preparing for interactions with payers and other managed care entities to learn what is of value to these entities. I currently have geographic responsibility for three states which requires some air travel, but is mostly a drivable territory due to the concentrated population of the NYC metro area. There is often cross country travel to attend medical symposia and congresses.There are a lot of logistical considerations in scheduling meetings, arranging travel, administrative tasks such as expense reports, meeting reports which require organizational and time management skills. Since a field based position requires working from your home, there is a degree of self-discipline involved to be fully engaged.
DS
: My primary responsibility is to provide clinical information to the managed care key opinion leaders. There is no daily routine for my job, so it does take some organization and self-discipline to get the work done. I travel often to attend client meetings, conferences, and offsite meetings. I also spend a considerable amount of time in the preparation for client presentations and scientific exchanges. The rest of my time is spread among training, conference calls, communications, paperwork, emails, and other logistics.

Words of advice? 
LP: If there are students who are not familiar with the changing healthcare landscape, how political and legislative changes will affect current and future implications of managed care pharmacy, scour the AMCP website for the many excellent and current resources. For those students interested in learning more or have an interest in pursuing a career in managed care pharmacy, find a mentor either from your AMCP student chapter Faculty Advisor or Diplomat.
DS
: Students who are interested in managed care should maximize their benefits from the numerous resources provided by the AMCP. Attending AMCP conferences is highly recommended. Being involved in AMCP events or student chapter functions is a fantastic way to gain experience and network. I also strongly encourage them to consider managed care residence/pharmaceutical fellowship programs, and find a mentor.


May 2017:
Peter Lee, PharmD, MBA, FAMCP CCHP - Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Co-Diplomat at University of Oklahoma


PeterLee_SWOKPeter Lee serves as an AMCP Diplomat for Southwestern Oklahoma State University and a Co-Diplomat for the University of Oklahoma. He received his PharmD from the University of Southern California and attended the University of Oklahoma for his MBA. He currently works at PharmaCorr/Corizon Health as Vice President of Clinical Pharmacy Services.

How did you become involved in AMCP? As an AMCP student member, I attended an AMCP annual meeting and it changed my life forever. I was fortunate to do two summer AMCP/Managed Care Pharmacy internships and PGY-1 residency with CVS Health in Irving Texas. I also was blessed to be on the Educational Affairs Committee as a student and even became a chairperson of the committee years later. In addition, I was a member of the Special Projects Committee, Organizational Affairs Committee, Finance Committee, Nominations Committee, and other ad hoc committees. Finally, I received a Spirit of Volunteerism Award from AMCP and recently have been inducted as Fellow of AMCP.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student chapter or school of pharmacy? Since we don’t have AMCP student chapters in Oklahoma, I work with fellow Oklahoma AMCP members to help students consider managed care pharmacy as career options via lectures, on-campus presentations, IPPE, and APPE rotations. I try to focus on three things: (1) Potential career options in managed care pharmacy, (2) Successful individual career pathing, and (3) Professional and personal development.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? My two AMCP/Managed Care summer internships helped me to understand the role of a manage care pharmacist. I also had great mentors like Debi Reissman, Debbie Stern, Darlene Mednick, Robert Navarro, and many AMCP staff members and many others. I loved their dedication, focus, seamless ability to merge clinical, policy and business together to manage population health. I enjoyed the challenges they faced every day and more importantly solutions they brought to address those complex health care issues.

What was your first job or position in managed care? I worked at Rxperts Managed Care Consulting as a summer intern under Debi Reissman and Debbie Stern. I learned about the role of managed care pharmacists in health plans, PBMs and pharmaceutical companies. My second experience was via AMCP/Pfizer Summer Internship at Blue Shield of California.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? Every day is unique and different and that is the beauty of my job. My responsibilities include leading the clinical pharmacy team, formulary management, pharmacy contract negotiations with pharmaceutical manufacturers, group purchasing organizations, pharmacy wholesalers, utilization management programs, trend analysis and continuous quality improvement initiatives. Our pharmacies have APPE rotations in Indiana and Oklahoma allowing me to enjoy investing time in pharmacy students as well.

Words of advice? Be pre-qualified for your future dream job: (1) While you are in school, collect current managed care pharmacist job descriptions that you would like to apply in the future; (2) Identify required qualifications and experiences for the position; (3) Strategize ways to obtain those qualifications and experiences during school, your current employment, volunteering, and find additional informal or formal training as needed; and (4) When your future dream job opens up you are now already “pre-qualified” for the position and one step closer to getting your dream job!


April 2017:
Bibek Sandhu, PharmD - University of Wisconsin - Madison School of Pharmacy


BibekSandhu_UWII currently serve as an AMCP Diplomat for the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Pharmacy and it is also where I received my PharmD. After graduating, I completed a managed care residency at Navitus Health Solutions, where I now work as a Clinical Account Executive.

How did you become involved in AMCP? My initial involvement in AMCP began during my third year in pharmacy school. When I started pharmacy school, I planned to be a clinical pharmacist in a hospital, but I took the advice of my older classmates to keep an open mind to experience as much of the pharmacy world as possible. I took a serious look at managed care in my third year, after working in various areas of pharmacy. During that same year, I attended AMCP Nexus and received some great insight into the different areas where a pharmacist can make an impact. Since then, I have remained involved in AMCP and now serve as a Diplomat.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? A number of factors got me hooked on managed care. For instance, the decisions we make, as pharmacists, affect an entire population rather than just one person. At the same time, these decisions have an associated cost that require consideration because someone is paying for these medications at the end of the day. In addition, I love the fact that we have the opportunity to work with new medications as they enter the market. These factors, and many more, keep my interest on a daily basis and keep me motivated.

What was your first job or position in managed care? My first job in managed care is the position that I currently hold as a Clinical Account Executive. In this role, I work directly with clients to help them better manage their pharmacy benefit.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? I would say there is nothing typical in my role as each day brings its own unique opportunities. Helping clients manage their pharmacy benefit is challenging because the marketplace has become quite complex. My week can include managing day-to-day clinical issues to help improve the quality of care for client members, providing guidance and consultation, and implementing and evaluating appropriate clinical programs and services specific to a client’s population. I also analyze my clients’ financial and utilization data to identify opportunities for controlling drug and overall health care costs.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student pharmacist chapter? I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience working with my AMCP chapter and the students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy. I have presented for the AMCP chapter, sat on various discussion panels, and had the opportunity to be a P&T judge for our first P&T competition at the school.

Words of advice? I would advise students to enjoy the journey –going through pharmacy school, rotations, applying for and completing residency, and then beginning a career. Life is short and there will always be stressful things that come up; it is up to you to make it enjoyable!


March 2017:
David Campbell, PharmD - University of Rhode Island


DavidCampbell_UofRIDr. David Campbell attended pharmacy school at the University of Rhode Island and chose to study pharmacy as a way to balance his interests in medicine and business. Dr. Campbell viewed an education in pharmacy as a way to pursue a career where he could apply himself to health challenges at the population level. 

How did you become involved in AMCP? I first learned about AMCP during my early years of pharmacy school while taking a class on the US healthcare system taught by Dr. Stephen Kogut. I was interested in learning more about how the decisions of health plans were made and informed and was reviewing professional organizations and he mentioned AMCP. Although, at the time there was not an active chapter at my school I became a member and began getting involved in the organization.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? The ability to influence the healthcare of many patients through engaging in population health issues led me to pursue a fellowship. I am very happy in my current role but so sometimes miss the patient interaction I had working at a community pharmacy and hospital throughout pharmacy education.

What was your first job or position in managed care? My first job in managed care was as a Managed Markets and Health Outcomes fellow with Xcenda, which is the consulting arm of AmerisourceBergen. Since completing the fellowship, I have remained with Xcenda as a Manger in Global Health Economics.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? As a consultant, I work with a variety of clients, across a range of therapeutic areas and work-types so my days vary quite a bit. Broadly speaking about half my projects are related to economic and epidemiologic modeling, and the other half projects are related to global market access. I spend about 80% of my day supporting these engagements and the other 20% of my time is goes to publishing research, precepting pharmacy students, and supporting Xcenda’s fellowship program.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student pharmacist chapter? Unfortunately, while I am located in Tampa FL most of my interactions with my AMCP student pharmacist chapter have taken place electronically and at AMCP conferences. I plan to move back to Rhode Island soon, and have many more opportunities to support my chapter in person.Unfortunately, while I am located in Tampa FL most of my interactions with my AMCP student pharmacist chapter have taken place electronically and at AMCP conferences. I plan to move back to Rhode Island soon, and have many more opportunities to support my chapter in person.

Words of advice? For students interested in a career in managed care, seek networking events and attend conferences to learn about the wide range of opportunities available. Also, consider applying for residencies or fellowships to accelerate your professional development after graduation.


January 2017:
Fredrick Manasseh, MBA, PharmD, RPh - University of Missouri-Kansas City


FredrickManasseh_UofMKCDr. Fredrick Manasseh grew up in Kenya and moved to the United States with a one-way ticket and enough funds for one semester to pursue college. He worked 3 jobs while going to school full-time so that he could complete his schooling and support his family in Kenya. Completing his undergraduate degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and Mathematics at Wichita State University and then continuing on to receive his Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, as well as receiving Executive MBA, Health Informatics, and Strategic Management Certificates to complement his clinical background.

How did you become involved in AMCP? I had a mentor who sponsored my first trip to the annual conference during my second year in pharmacy school. Once I attended the conference, I discovered an unconventional world of pharmacy that got my interest since this was not something that most students are exposed to in pharmacy school. This also motivated me to start a chapter at the university in effort to raise awareness- I believed that there must be other students who would also gain an interest once they learned about managed care. 

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? The opportunity to be part of a healthcare decision making team in influencing population health by using both my clinical and business background. It gives me an opportunity to clearly understand healthcare landscape, and think of innovative ways to develop meaningful solutions.

What was your first job or position in managed care? My first position in Managed Care was with Express Script, as a Clinical Program Manager/Clinical Account Executive. 

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? As a healthcare executive, my role varies from day to day. Some of the critical functions include monitoring the healthcare landscape and becoming familiar with current trends and regulations in effort to developing strategies to manage cost, remain compliant and enhancing patient care by using evidence based principles to produce positive outcomes. I am fortunate to work with interdisciplinary teams to successfully implement, monitor and enhance these clinical programs and solutions. I also serve in various advisory boards providing insight on go-to market strategies and best practices on drug development.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student pharmacist chapter? I was the founding member of the chapter at University of Missouri-Kansas City and continued to serve as the Diplomat. I support the chapter in their recruitment activities and founded a scholarship that support students in their final professional years who are interested in pursuing a career in managed care. I am also affiliated with the University of Northern Texas Health Science Center as an adjunct professor teaching Pharmacoeconomics, Public Health and Pharmaceutical Policy- all which involve managed care concepts.

Words of advice? Learn to network and build meaningful professional relationships. This has been the cornerstone of advancement and success in my career. Remember to stay positive, maintain the right attitude, work hard, worry less, and remember to have fun!

Two of my favorites quotes are:
- “The two things in life you are in total control over are your attitude and effort”- Billy Cox and
- “It takes just as much energy to worry as it does to believe and have faith” – anonymous. Most things in life tend to work out just fine in the end.


April 2016:
Bridget Flavin, PharmD - Regis University


BridgetFlavin_RegisUnivThe AMCP Student Pharmacist Committee aims to provide student pharmacists with insights into the background of working managed care pharmacists as well as their Diplomat interaction. This month’s profile features Bridget Flavin, PharmD, who serves as an AMCP Diplomat for Regis University in Denver, Colo. Flavin earned her degree from the University of Missouri—Kansas City, and currently works for Anthem, Inc. as a Pharmacist Program Manager.

How did you become involved in AMCP? I first became involved in AMCP through my managed care residency. I was very lucky to start out in a place where there was a lot of support for AMCP and many of my colleagues were involved as well.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student chapter? My interactions with my chapter have primarily been educational; they are a small chapter with little formal exposure to managed care so they aren’t aware of how many opportunities are available to them. Last year, I attended a roundtable event along with other local managed care pharmacists where the students were able to ask questions about what we do and how we got where we are. I’ve also attended chapter meetings to discuss residencies, the Summer Internship Program, etc.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? I loved the idea of being a part of trying to lower health care costs and I’m very passionate about a pharmacist’s role in achieving this. When I worked in retail, I could reach maybe a few members at a time and now I’m able to reach thousands.

What was your first job or position in managed care? My first job in managed care was as a resident with RegenceRx (now OmedaRx) in Portland, OR where I stayed on as a pharmacist following completion of my program. I primarily did formulary and utilization management and got to work with some exceptional managed care pharmacists; I couldn’t have asked for a better place to begin my career and learn the industry.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? I’m sure many managed care pharmacists say this, but there is no typical day (or week) and that is one of the things I love about my role. I spend a lot of time working with our sales and account management teams, and attending client meetings; with specialty pharmacy driving so much of the health care trend there is a great deal of need for education and clinical support around its management. I also spend significant time working with our cost of care teams trying to understand both our local and Enterprise trends and what’s driving them.

Words of advice? Try to take advantage of opportunities. I think many young pharmacists might let some opportunities slip by them because they think they don’t have the skills or experience, but some of my most rewarding experiences and greatest learnings have come out of opportunities that I thought were way over my head. Try to embrace change. I think most of us will always fear change at least a little, but it’s important to try to embrace it in spite of that. I still struggle with this one even though some of the best things that have happened to me both personally and professionally have been a result of a major change. Don’t love your work too much. Work can be extremely rewarding, but so can living your life outside of work. Always try to have balance.


February 2016:
Denise Martinez Jonathan - University of Houston College of Pharmacy


DeniseMartinezJonathan_UofHCPDenise Martinez Jonathan is an AMCP Diplomat at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy, where she obtained her degree. She currently serves as the Director of Pharmacy – Health Plan Services at the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. AMCP caught up recently with Dr. Martinez Jonathan to get her thoughts on being a Diplomat.

How did you become involved in AMCP? I joined AMCP during my residency year. Currently, I serve as an AMCP diplomat and have assisted the University of Houston College of Pharmacy in starting an AMCP student chapter.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? My first interest was developing programs that could impact an entire population at one time, instead of the one-on-one interactions in a clinical daily practice. This concept is what lead me to Managed Care. What ultimately drives me in Managed Care is the ability to create innovative strategies to improve quality, control pharmaceutical costs, and to improve medical outcomes using analytics and the electronic medical record.

What was your first job or position in managed care? My first job in managed care was as a PGY-1 Managed Care resident at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston, TX. After completing residency, I took an Administrator of Clinical Services positon at Kelsey-Seybold and managed pharmacist-led lipid, osteoporosis, diabetes clinics and initiated the centralized pharmacy anticoagulation services. In 2008, I was promoted to Director of Pharmacy – Health Plan Services and now manage the Medicare and commercial health plans offered by Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in the Houston area, Part D operations for the Medicare Program, Pharmacy Informatics, and Pharmacy Clinical Programs; which include the Medication Therapy Management, Hospital Discharge, Adherence, and RXQI Programs for the clinic.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? No day is really that typical. I spend a lot of time interacting with members of my pharmacy team, external vendors (i.e. PBM), or team members in different departments throughout my organization (i.e. member services, compliance, marketing, provider relations, health care finance, IT, business intelligence, UM, quality improvement, etc.). 

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student pharmacist chapter? I’ve been a speaker at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy chapter meetings, served as a managed care expert at their first annual AMCP round table event and have served multiple times as a local P&T competition judge.


Words of advice?
Success is defined by you. Have passion in promoting the profession of pharmacy, love what you do and have fun! Don’t sit back waiting for something to be handed to you. Make your own opportunities! Success will not come to you – You go get it! 


January 2016:
Rodney J. Gedey, PharmD, BCPS - California Northstate University College of Pharmacy


RodneyGedey_CANorthstateUCPDiplomat: California Northstate University College of Pharmacy
Current employer and position: Manager of Clinical Pharmacy Services at Health Net
Pharmacy school: The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy 

How did you become involved in AMCP? I became involved in AMCP as a third year pharmacy student by participating in the local AMCP P&T competition. We did not win that year, but it sparked my interest in managed care and provided insight into the roles and responsibilities of managed care pharmacists. My involvement increased after we established the managed care residency at Health Net and then I helped found the student chapter at the California Northstate University College of Pharmacy.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? What interested me the most about managed care was the ability to improve patient outcomes on a large scale and having the ability to measure the impact of the interventions. The data would give me feedback if the intervention was effective or if it needed to be improved. There are a couple of factors that keep me in managed care. The first is the variety of tasks that I perform on a daily and weekly basis so job is never monotonous. The different tasks ensure that I will be using all my skills and learning new ones. The second reason is that I am consistently reading journal articles and treatment guidelines so that my knowledge remains current.

What was your first job or position in managed care? My first position was a clinical coordinator at Pharmaceutical Care Network. This role is provided a good base of managed care principles such as prior authorization, formulary management, interacting with clients, analysis of claims, interacting with clients and Medicare. I took a roundabout way to managed care. I completed a post graduate year 1 pharmacy practice residency and not a managed care residency. Many of the skills from that residency were transferable, but not specific to managed care so it was like a crash course that prepared me for my current position.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? My typical week’s specific tasks are determined by which project tasks need to be completed for the week. My main responsibility is to ensure all the new drug reviews, clinical recommendations, class reviews and prior authorization criteria are on track to be presented at the next Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee Meeting. Part of the day could be spent conducting literature evaluation, writing the monograph and preparing the clinical recommendation to present to the P&T committee. Then I will attend a meeting to discuss the clinical guidance to support the business strategy to manage high cost drug classes such as the hepatitis C and the PCSK9s. After that then I might have to work on a project proposal to justify the new system to correctly display the prior authorization criteria so that members and physicians are able to access and read the documents. In between these tasks, I will meet with my Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience students on rotation, work with the resident on his or her residency project and coach my direct reports.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student pharmacist chapter? I interact with the student chapter regularly. I will speak to the incoming first year pharmacy students to help promote managed care and provide reasons to join AMCP. I will also give professional development talks to the AMCP chapter so members can develop those skills. I will provide guidance on how to effectively and efficiently run AMCP events such as round table sessions for managed care residencies and careers, the P&T competition and set up site visits. To promote managed care at the school, I have facilitated the classes that discuss the P&T committee and quality initiatives as well as help the faculty set up a P&T elective.

Words of advice? Learn as much as you can about managed care and the roles and responsibilities of a managed care pharmacists in different environments. This will help you to determine if managed care is a good fit for the way you work, your strengths and preferred work environment. Then after you graduate pharmacy school, become a self-directed lifelong learner. Even if you know everything today, the health care landscape changes quickly in terms of laws, regulations, treatment guidelines and member needs so what is true today, may not be true tomorrow.


November 2015:
Ronnie DePue, PharmD, CGP, FASCP - Virginia Commonwealth University


RonnieDePue_VACommonwealthURonnie DePue, PharmD, CGP, FASCP, serves an AMCP Diplomat for Virginia Commonwealth University. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University and his PharmD from Shenandoah University. He currently is Director of Health Economics and Outcomes Research at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. AMCP caught up with DePue recently to get his thoughts on the importance of serving as a Diplomat.  

How did you become involved in AMCP? While working for Coventry Health Care, I became aware of AMCP. The head of our pharmacy department, Rusty Hailey, had several leadership positions within the Academy. He was an advocate for membership and the Academy’s mission.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? Regardless of your practice setting, all health care professionals will have exposure to managed care in some way, shape or form. I was interested in learning more about the decision-making process and what factors were used to make population-based decisions. I was excited about the opportunity to participate in the P&T process and make decisions that could positively impact the lives of millions.

What was your first job or position in managed care? My first managed care position was clinical pharmacist at First Health Services, now Magellan Rx Management. I worked in the clinical call center processing prior authorization requests. That role expanded into clinical criteria development, client presentations and staff management. It was a great learning experience for me and created a foundation of knowledge that I still rely on today.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? In my current role, I meet with managed care and population-based decision makers to discuss disease areas of interest, potential research collaboration and respond to economic, outcomes, and value-based questions as it relates to our CNS products. I travel about 50% of the time across the eastern half of the United States. When I am not traveling, I am working on internal projects, tool and resource development and serve as a resource for our headquarters’ based staff.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student pharmacist chapter? I have lectured at Virginia Commonwealth University’s school of pharmacy on selected managed care topics for almost a decade now, but it has not been until recently that there has been enough interest to form a student chapter. I have met with faculty, the dean and numerous students to discuss the importance of managed care in the curriculum and the value a student chapter can bring to the university.

Words of advice? If you are interested in a career in managed care pharmacy, get involved with your student chapter and ask for managed care pharmacy to be part of your school’s curriculum. We need good clinical and retail pharmacists, but we also need good managed care pharmacists. There are so many opportunities in managed care pharmacy, but this area is often overlooked in many pharmacy schools. Take advantage of the tools and resources AMCP provides and attend as many of the live meetings as possible to maximize networking opportunities. I would encourage students to pursue a rotation and/or residency in managed care to further develop your managed care acumen and increase your odds of receiving job offers in a managed care setting. If you are offered employment, even if it is an entry level position, do not hesitate to take it. It will give you a foot in the door and once inside there are many career advancement opportunities.


October 2015:
Michelle Jay - University of Maryland Eastern Shore


MichelleJay_UMESMichelle Jay, an AMCP Diplomat with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, currently works for CVS Health on the Pharmacy Benefit Management side as a Clinical Advisor supporting Health Plans. She earned her pharmacy degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Pharmacy.

How did you become involved in AMCP? I first joined AMCP as a resident at CVS Health and attended my first AMCP meeting during the fall. I had the pleasure of meeting other residents and learning what AMCP’s vision and purpose was. This sparked my interest to become more involved in AMCP and the student chapters, in which I now serve as a co-diplomat of UMES.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? I first gained interest prior to pharmacy school when I was working at a specialty pharmacy at Pharmacare. The high member level touch points initially piqued my interest as we were focused on the entire member experience and clinical care. Then in school I leaned toward the business aspect by obtaining an MBA while in the pharmacy program and knew that I wanted to pursue a career that would influence a larger population yet still remain clinically focused. A residency in managed care has paved the path to my career today. The ever-changing landscape of health care affects my role every day and keeps me on my toes. There’s never a dull moment!

What was your first job or position in managed care? I did a PGY-1 residency in managed care at CVS Health. Post residency, I started my first job as a Clinical Operations pharmacist and then moved onto my current role as a Clinical Advisor.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? I can’t say there is a “typical” day or week in my role, which makes my job more interesting and challenging. To name a few duties, my role entails me to stay up to date on new drug launches, changes in guidelines, manage benefit set-ups, prepare for P&T meetings, manage formularies, understand CMS regulations and guidelines for Medicare, stay current on Medicaid rules and be strategic with my client to manage their drug spend and trend.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student pharmacist chapter? The University of Maryland Eastern Shore Pharmacy School is only a few years old and currently does not have a student chapter. As their Diplomat, I would like to increase awareness of managed care, educate about careers in managed care, and eventually help them start their first student chapter.

Words of advice? Become involved in school or organizations that you are passionate about and can proactively participate in. Develop relationships with mentors in your field as they can always help guide you along your career path and provide life advice. Lastly, don’t be afraid to take risks and challenge yourself – set smart goals both short term and long term and do status checks here and there to stay on track.


September 2015:
Kat Wolf Khachatourian - Washington State University / University of Washington (Supportive Diplomat)


KatWolf_WSU_UWWhere do you currently work and what is your position title? Prominence Healthplan Services, as the National Director of Medicare Pharmacy Services. 

Where did you go to pharmacy school? Mercer University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences in Atlanta, Ga.

How did you become involved in AMCP? As a student, I joined AMCP during my 2nd year of pharmacy school. I gained a local leadership position and participated in the AMCP P&T Competition, and continued to meet great friends at every conference who have become my professional colleagues after graduation. AMCP is like a little family of managed care professionals.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? Initially, the business aspect of managed care interested me in being able to evaluate information clinically and gauge the financial impact of decisions, while impacting an entire population at one time. I continue to be challenged every day with the same concepts that initially interested me, so I never have a dull moment!

What was your first job or position in managed care? My first job in managed care was as a PGY-1 Managed Care resident at Group Health Cooperative in Seattle. After completing residency, I briefly took a clinical role in Anticoagulation and Anemia Management at Group Health before being offered my position as a manager, and now National Director of Medicare Pharmacy Services within the Catholic Health Initiatives organization, working for Prominence Health Plan Services.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? No day is really that typical, as the best laid plans often go awry. I spend a lot of time interacting with members of my pharmacy team, external vendors, or leaders in different departments throughout my organization (i.e. marketing, provider relations, finance, IT, customer service, enrollment, quality improvement, etc.). Through these interactions, we develop, plan and operationalize initiatives, address any member or provider concerns that come up, have clinical discussions about authorization requests, and whatever unanticipated things come my way! 

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student pharmacist chapter? I’ve been a local P&T competition judge for UW several times, as well as a speaker at the UW chapter’s career roundtables. I generally meet with the UW students at AMCP. WSU does not currently have an AMCP chapter, which I’ve been working to get established.

Words of advice? The best words of advice I’ve received – your first job is your first job. You learn something from every experience you have, so even though your first job out of school is not necessarily going to be your dream job, don’t be afraid to take it and gain the experience that may relate to a future opportunity! Never consider a position beneath you.    


May 2015:
Dr. Matt Lennertz - University of Maryland


MattLennertz_UMDWhere do you currently work and what is your position title? I am a Clinical Account Manager with Magellan Rx Management responsible for the Maryland Medicaid account.  

Where did you go to pharmacy school? Temple University

How did you become involved in AMCP? Since Temple did not have a student chapter at the time, I first became aware of AMCP when I began researching residency programs. I then became involved through completing an AMCP accredited residency. 

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? The part of managed care that interested me the most was the aspects of population health involved in managed care. As a student, I learned the best way to treat one patient. However, in managed care positions, you have to apply that knowledge to a large population and efficiently allocate resources so the whole population receives the best care. 

What was your first job or position in managed care? My first position in managed care was as the managed care pharmacy resident with Walgreens Health Initiatives. During the residency, I rotated through the many different areas within a PBM. 

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? My typical day varies based on the time of the year. In the Spring and Fall the Maryland Medicaid Pharmacy Program has P&T meetings so in the months leading up to those meetings I am preparing clinical documents to present to the committee and evaluating the financial impact of the upcoming P&T recommendations. During the rest of the year, I review new drugs to the market for clinical criteria and provide clinical presentations to the state staff. 

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student pharmacist chapter? I have had a variety of interactions with the University of Maryland AMCP Chapter. I have given presentations, spoke at round table events, judged the local P&T competition, and worked with a small group of students on a research project we presented as a poster at the AMCP Nexus meeting. 

Words of advice? Get involved and do whatever you can to differentiate yourself from your pharmacy school peers. The amount of managed care pharmacy positions are limited and can be very competitive so make sure you stand out in order to get your first job out of school. A little bit of managed care experience can go a long way in opening subsequent opportunities. 

April 2015:
Dr. Tracy McDowd - Lipscomb University & University of Tennessee


TracyMcDowd_LipscombU_UTNWhere do you currently work and what is your position title? Hospital Corporation of America; Senior Pharmacist Billing Consultant, Regulatory Compliance

Where did you go to pharmacy school? University of Tennessee

How did you become involved in AMCP? I joined AMCP as I was starting my managed care residency with HCA/UT College of Pharmacy and attended my first AMCP meeting as a resident. I had the opportunity to meet diplomats for the local colleges of pharmacy during my residency and in my first position in managed care, and they inspired me to learn more about the variety of opportunities to become involved with AMCP. I now serve as a co-diplomat and chair of the Schools of Pharmacy Relations committee for the 2014-15 year.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? My interest in managed care pharmacy began with my first APPE rotation in managed care.  I enjoyed the project-based work throughout the month and loved applying both clinical skills and economic principles.  I enjoyed analyzing data to help guide decisions.

What was your first job or position in managed care? My first position was Clinical Pharmacist with Cigna-HealthSpring in Nashville, TN.  In that position, I was able to learn about CMS, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D plans.  My responsibilities included reviewing coverage determinations, organizing P&T committee meetings, and working with formulary submissions.  

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? In my current role, I work with Medicare and state Medicaid programs on billing compliance issues for drugs, biologics, and clinical trials for Hospital Corporation of America, which includes hospitals, physician practices, and ambulatory surgery centers.  I track new FDA approvals, review CMS guidance and rules, research coverage questions, and work with providers in understanding the various parts of Medicare and how drugs are covered.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student pharmacist chapter?  I work closely with my co-Diplomats, Glenn Belemjian, Lipscomb University, and David Black, University of Tennessee.  Glenn and I work with the Chapter Advisors and leadership at Lipscomb for any resources and support needed for activities including the P&T Competition, Pharmfest, Health Care Exchange events, and CMS Certification training with Tennessee SHIP.  David and I present to students at University of Tennessee on managed care pharmacy including providing lectures, meeting with student leaders, and participating in career fairs.

Words of advice? Treat everything as an opportunity to learn – No matter which internship or rotation you have as a student, learn everything you can.  Managed care principles are present throughout the health care system, and looking at issues such as patient access, cost-effective care, and appropriate utilization of medications will serve you and your patients well, no matter the practice setting.  Also, continue to develop your professional network - you never know when you are meeting your future co-worker, manager, or even future employee.

March 2015:
Dr. Justine Meierhofer - University of Minnesota


JustineMeierhofer_UMNWhere do you currently work and what is your position title? I currently work for Prime Therapeutics, LLC, where I am a Clinical Program Manager. I focus on creating Health Insurance Marketplace drug strategies for all Prime clients within this market sector. 

Where did you go to pharmacy school? University of Minnesota 

How did you become involved in AMCP? I got involved in AMCP when the first chapter was just starting at the University of Minnesota.  I was approached by my classmate, Abby Stoddard, to join the University of Minnesota's first-ever Pharmacy and Therapeutics team to enter into the national competition. Although we didn't pull off the win, Abby and I both ended up getting hired at Prime to work with our Blue Cross, Blue Shield clients on the real deal. 

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student chapter (e.g. presentations, P&T competition, fundraisers, etc.)?  My co-diplomat, John Mbagwu, and I have been able to engage with our student chapters in both the Twin Cities and Duluth.  We attend a couple of the student meetings each semester to make sure students know they can use us as a resource.  In 2014, the University started a new self-study course where the students present to each other a new managed care topic each week for discussion.  John and I attend the class to offer real-world insights for discussion with the students.   For the first time this year, I served as a local judge for our P and T competition.  The University of Minnesota had six high-quality teams participate this year. Thanks to the support of Dean Randy Seifert, the participants receive elective course credit for completing the competition. 

Words of advice? I encourage students to make their own opportunities within managed care.  Even if your college doesn't offer managed care electives like the University of Minnesota, your AMCP diplomat can help to organize shadowing opportunities or serve as a mentor in the field. Don't underestimate the power of building your network in the field. 

February 2015:
Dr. Phil Wiegand - University of Maryland


PhilWiegand_UMDWhere do you currently work and what is your position title? Janssen Scientific Affairs; Sr. Health Economics and Outcomes Research Liaison

Where did you go to pharmacy school? Temple University School of Pharmacy

How did you become involved in AMCP? I became involved with AMCP while investigating post graduate opportunities dealing with population-level decision making and outcomes research. AMCP was the first organization I came across that addressed topics that really spoke to my interests as a student, and now, as a professional. After completing a post-doctoral fellowship in pharmaceutical economics and policy, I took my first role in an HEOR consultancy and aimed to continue my involvement with AMCP. Since I have always enjoyed working with students, I reached out to my local AMCP diplomat to determine whether we could co-support the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student chapter? In partnership with the AMCP student chapter, we've delivered student/faculty round tables, conducted and published joint research projects with students, participated at professional development round tables, delivered presentations to AMCP student chapter regarding my career path; and acted as a mentor to an AMCP student.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? Working as a retail pharmacy intern, it became clear very earlier on that much of the decision making that determines medication choice happens far above the corner pharmacy. As I started to peel back the onion around this topic, managed care pharmacy emerged as potential career path. Simultaneously, I had been involved with 4 internships in the pharmaceutical industry; starting in bench research and progressing to medical affairs. The latter position provided exposure to the world of health economics and outcomes research and the impact of this research of healthcare decision making. In partnership with my mentor, Albert Wertheimer, we conducted my first outcomes research project, which helped improve my candidacy as a post-doc outcomes research fellow. As an outcomes liaison in the pharmaceutical industry, it’s rewarding to partner with managed care colleagues through scientific exchange.

What was your first job or position in managed care? My positions have always been tangential to managed care. My first role was as a Market Access Manager for Pharmerit North America. 

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? Our department supports the entire portfolio of Janssen pharmaceuticals. With 5+ therapeutic areas of focus, I find myself constantly studying and learning. Regarding travel, we are on the road 50-75% of our time in theory. In practice, that can feel like 0% or 100% depending on the needs of our customers. Beyond preparing for customer appointments, I sit on a number of clinical and quality oriented committees within Janssen Scientific Affairs. I feel constantly challenged and my growth is supported by a strong management team.

Words of advice? Look for opportunities to differentiate yourself at all times and be proactive in seeking out these opportunities. Try to be well rounded and personal; not, a pharmacy student robot. There are a million smart students, what makes you memorable? It's not who you know, but who knows you.


January 2015:
Dr. Billy West - Samford University


BillyWest_SamfordUWhere do you currently work and what is your position title? Amgen, Inc., National Account Director

Where did you go to pharmacy school? Samford University McWhorter School of Pharmacy

How did you become involved in AMCP? I attended a student chapter meeting during my first year of pharmacy school. From that point, I was elected into the student chapter leadership team and attended my first AMCP National Meeting.  During that time, our group was able to network with other AMCP student chapters and look for ways to strengthen ours. I have been a member ever since that time. 

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student chapter? I do my best to serve as the MSOP AMCP Student Chapter’s managed care advisor and mentor.  Because I also teach a managed care pharmacy course at the school, I have several chances to meet with the students and to work with them on developing their understanding of the managed care pharmacy landscape.  In addition to the course, I have served as a guest speaker at chapter events and hosted a leadership lunch where I spent time with the chapter leadership team and discussed career mapping and opportunities in managed care pharmacy after graduation. During the AMCP National Meeting, I set up time to meet with the MSOP student chapter to answer any questions they have and help them to navigate the conference.  I also spend time introducing them to the AMCP leadership team and active members who are willing to share time with them so they can learn more about what managed care pharmacists do in a typical day at work.    

Words of advice? My words of advice for AMCP student chapters and aspiring managed care pharmacists – Managed care pharmacy is going to be a part of your pharmacy career regardless of whether you choose to pursue a managed care position or any other pharmacist role. Understanding how insurance works within the health care system will help to make you a better pharmacist and to better serve your patients.  Get involved in your local AMCP student chapter and gain an appreciation of how managed care pharmacy can help to keep health care affordable for the foreseeable future. 


December 2014:
Dr. Stan Ferrell - University of North Carolina Chapel Hill


StanFerrell_UNCChapelHillWhere do you currently work and what is your position title? I work at Express Scripts as Senior Director Clinical Account Management

Where did you go to pharmacy school? University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

How did you become involved in AMCP? My original involvement with AMCP came when I was working in the Pharmaceutical Industry and Sharon Montgomery, one of my mentors, recommended and supported my membership.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? Managed Care pharmacy seemed like the inflection point where clinical pharmacy and economics met.  I appreciate the clinical science involved with prescription medications; however, I see the managed care aspects of pharmacy as the exciting area where key decisions occur on the changing landscape of pharmacy and healthcare.

What was your first job or position in managed care? I was a National Account Manager responsible for contracting and formulary access for a pharmaceutical company that provided products to the large Health Plans and PBMs in the United States.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? My day varies mainly due to the fact that I lead a team of pharmacists that manage a large health plan’s daily and future needs for five separate lines of business.  We have regularly weekly scheduled touchpoints with internal PBM partners and the client for benefit plans covering Medicare, Medicaid, Commercial, Health Exchanges and Workers' Compensation.  For the government related business, my team and I constantly are looking at weekly updates from CMS or the State Medicaid Agencies on the regulations surrounding pharmacy benefits.  I also spend time within ESI as part of various leadership workgroups looking at the products and services we provide now and in the future for our clients.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student pharmacist chapter? I have participated in the new member orientation meetings, attended the Chapter Leader Dinners to discuss goals for the upcoming year, and sponsored fund raising activities.  Additionally I have lectured to students on Career Opportunities in Managed Care.  I have also had the pleasure to mentor a few students, one of which luckily went on to successfully complete a Managed Care Residency in Managed Care and now works for a large Health Plan in Florida.  

Words of advice? Be able to answer the question: What is my value?  Always evaluate your individual work in terms of results or outcomes you deliver which is just like we should evaluate all things in healthcare! 


November 2014:
Dr. Carly Rodriguez - University of Washington


CarlyRodriguez_UWAWhere do you currently work and what is your position title? I work for OmedaRx (formerly known as RegenceRx), a national pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) located in the Northwest, where I am the Manager of Clinical Pharmacy Services. 

Where did you go to pharmacy school? University of Washington

How did you become involved in AMCP? Participating in the local and national AMCP P&T competitions really sparked my interest in managed care and in AMCP. From there, I became active in the University of Washington AMCP Chapter where I served as the President-Elect and subsequently the President. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the AMCP/Pfizer, Inc. Summer Internship Program after my second year of pharmacy school and completed my internship at RegenceRx. This experience really solidified that managed care pharmacy was the career path for me.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student chapter? I work with the University of Washington AMCP Chapter throughout each school year. I support the chapter by  giving an overview of the P&T competition, serving as a judge for the local P&T competition, lecturing in the Managed Care Elective, and participating in a round table event where I discuss my current role and the OmedaRx residency program. This coming year I hope to plan a social event like dinner or happy hour with the chapter leadership team.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? The things that interested me the most about managed care were the opportunity to do something new and different every day and the opportunity to really apply my clinical and analytical skills to research newly approved medications. Formulary management was the particular area of managed care pharmacy that I was drawn to, and participating in the P&T Competition and completing the AMCP Foundation/Pfizer Summer Internship Program really solidified my interest in pursuing a career in this field.

What was your first job or position in managed care? My first managed care position was as a Clinical Pharmacist Consultant with OmedaRx (formerly RegenceRx), the pharmacy benefit manager for the Regence Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans in the Northwest/Mountain region. My primary responsibilities included authoring medication monographs to present to our P&T Committee, developing medication policies for prior authorization, and supporting an external client who uses our clinical services.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role?  In my current role as the Manager of Clinical Pharmacy Services for OmedaRx every day and every week is different, which is one of the things I love most about my job! A typical day for me consists of working with our team of pharmacists to develop and manage our formulary and utilization management strategies, attending lots of planning and strategy meetings, and evaluating the newest developments in the hepatitis C marketplace. I also have the privilege of working closely with and mentoring our pharmacy residents, which is another one of my favorite parts of my job!

Words of advice? As a very wise pharmacist once told me, it’s not just about what you know – it’s about who you know and what they think about you. Pharmacy is a small world and managed care pharmacy is even smaller, so be friendly, stay positive, and always put your best foot forward!


October 2014:
Dr. Vinson Lee - University of California - San Francisco


VinsonLee_UCASFWhere do you currently work and what is your position title? Amgen, Inc, Sr. Regional Medical Liaison, Health Outcomes & Pharmacoeconomics 

Where did you go to pharmacy school? University of Southern California School of Pharmacy

How did you become involved in AMCP? I became involved with AMCP early on as a pharmacy student at USC, having been Vice-President, and participating in the P&T competition, representing USC twice on the national level. I was also a student member on the Schools of Pharmacy Relations Committee and continued my committee service after I graduated. I was the chairperson of the SOPR Committee and a member of the Membership Committee, Program Planning & Development Committee, Nominations Committee, Educational Affairs Committee, and previously served as a State Advocacy Coordinator.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student chapter? I typically help with any presentations that UCSF needs, whether it be for the P&T competition, roundtable events, or the annual banquet. I have judged the P&T competition for the last 6 years and continue to mentor many of the AMCP student pharmacists.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? My interest in managed care started early in pharmacy school through the USC School of Pharmacy AMCP Student Chapter, the P&T competition, and 2 summer internships in managed care. I was given an opportunity after pharmacy school to work in managed care consulting and now use my managed care experience in the pharmaceutical industry.

What was your first job or position in managed care? I worked at Rxperts Managed Care Consulting as a Clinical Consultant and Program Manager under Debi Reissman, PharmD and Debbie Stern, RPh.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? There is no typical day or week as a medical liaison. My week is usually filled with traveling to customer accounts, delivering presentations, training calls, and lots of email. My responsibilities include providing clinical, scientific, and pharmacoeconomic support to managed care customers, assisting in the development and communication of pharmacoeconomic analyses and health outcome studies, and building professional relationships with key managed care decision makers.

Words of advice? This is your time as student pharmacists to learn as much as you can about the pharmacy profession – ask questions, get involved, and network! 


September 2014:
Dr. Michael Pazirandeh - University of Southern California


MichaelPazirandeh_USCWhere do you currently work and what is your position title? I work for Blue Shield of California and my title is Senior Clinical Pharmacist   

Where did you go to pharmacy school? University of Southern California  

How did you become involved in AMCP? I was the Chapter President for USC's student pharmacist chapter.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? I am the type of individual that gets bored very easily. I love the fact that the managed care environment is constantly changing. Additionally, I love working on long term projects so I felt that managed care was a better personality fit for me.

What was your first job or position in managed care? My first job was with Blue Shield of California in their Outcomes and Analytics team. I build prospective and retrospective models for Blue Shield clients.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? As most people in managed care will say, there is no typical day. The only typical thing is that when I walk in the office each morning I get my cup of coffee and check emails. After that, it is filled with meetings, projects, and other activities that vary from day to day.

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student pharmacist chapter? I give managed care presentations throughout the year (e.g. Managed Care 101 and Formulary Design) and attend board meetings.

Words of advice? Only worry about the things in life where you have control.

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