Professional Development

Member's Journey!
Leah Palmer, PharmD: A Member’s Journey

Leah PalmerCompany: Recently Retired Executive Director, Regulatory Promotion and Material Compliance, Amgen
Current Role: Consultant
Alma Mater: Purdue University

As pharmacists, we have skills that qualify us for many different roles – reading the other IPhO member journeys on this website shows the many diverse areas where PharmDs are leading successful careers. You have many options – the key is figuring out what you like to do best. Don’t be afraid to make big changes or sacrifices in the short term to get you where you want to go long term.

In my career journey, I made some big changes to figure out my career options and passion. After working a number of years as a hospital pharmacist gaining clinical experience, I came to a point in my life where I wanted to explore other career options.

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Fellows Feature
IPhO Fellows Feature: Sara Angione, PharmD

Angione Headshot_1

Featured Fellow: Sara Angione, PharmD

Fellowship Sponsor Company: GlaskoSmithKline (GSK) and UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy (UNC)

Function/Discipline: Global Regulatory Affairs

Fellowship Years: 2017 – 2019

Alma Mater: Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), Class of 2017

My strong interest in regulatory affairs originated from my cooperative education placements, and my employment within the Federal Government. I witnessed the dynamics between policy and science and developed an understanding of regulatory affairs and drug development through various employment experiences. My positions within Health Canada, community pharmacies internationally, and industry settings at Novartis and Becton Dickinson helped me become familiar with pre-market regulatory review and post-market surveillance.

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Paths to Industry
Paths to Industry: Diane Ammerman, PharmD

Ammerman Headshot

Diane Ammerman, PharmD

Company and Department: Genentech, Field Medical

Current Role: Senior Medical Science Liaison

Alma Mater: University of Pittsburgh, Class of 1998

I first learned about postions for pharmacists in industry while observing my faculty mentors move into Medical Science Liaison (MSL) roles. They were strong leaders and outstanding clinicians at the University of Pittsburgh, so their transition caught my attention. My residency was clinically-based in ambulatory care and managed care at the University of Maryland. I then moved into a clinical pharmacy position in managed care, where I had significant exposure to and involvement in new drug presentations from MSLs and Industry Account Managers, many of whom were recruiting me to work in the Pharmaceutical Industry. My clinical experience in managing psychiatric patients in insurance initiatives gave me insight that was helpful as I learned about open positions in industry. I decided to make the switch and interview for my first industry MSL position in neuroscience, and I was offered the job.

What's the bottom line?
Your clinical knowledge and experience gained during rotations and/or residency are valuable assets to industry employers. Utilize those skills as you network to help you break into industry in a nontraditional way.

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Paths to Industry
Paths to Industry: Francesca Bastone, PharmD

francesca bastoneFrancesca Bastone, PharmD

Company and Department: Prometic, Field Medical

Current Role: Medical Science Liaison

Alma Mater: Fairleigh Dickinson University, Class of 2017

I have always wanted to impact patient lives and health care on a global scale, and I ultimately discovered that the best way for me to do that was through the pharmaceutical industry, although the road to getting there was not a straightforward one.

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Fellows Feature
IPhO FELLOWS FEATURE: Lanny Nguyen, PharmD

Featured Fellow: Lanny Nguyen, PharmDKristina Vishnevetskaya

Fellowship Sponsor Company: DDB Health (Omnicom Health Group)

Function/Discipline: Pharmaceutical Advertising and Marketing

Fellowship Years: 2017-2019

Alma Mater: Rutgers University, Class of 2017

I never imagined that one day I would use my pharmaceutical background to assist with virtual reality experiences, video shoots, and podcasts. I knew early on in pharmacy school that I was interested in a somewhat non-traditional path. Before applying to pharmacy school, I was only aware of community and hospital pharmacy. After taking a class about the pharmaceutical industry at Rutgers, I learned that pharmacists have the potential to impact patients and healthcare on a national or even global level. I decided to explore that path further and took an Pharmaceutical Advertising and Marketing elective course. I was intrigued by the fact that this career path would allow me to use my scientific knowledge while incorporating creative elements. I was fortunate to intern at two pharmaceutical advertising agencies, RevHealth and Harrison and Star, which solidified my interest in this career path.

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Fellows Feature
IPhO FELLOWS FEATURE: Kristina Vishnevetskaya, PharmD, RPh

Featured Fellow: Kristina Vishnevetskaya, PharmD, RPhKristina Vishnevetskaya

Fellowship Sponsor Company: GlaxoSmithKline (UNC)

Function/Discipline: Global Regulatory Affairs

Fellowship Years: 2017-2019

Alma Mater: Rutgers University, Class of 2017

Industry is full of new and exciting innovations that drew me in from early in my pharmacy school career. I knew from my involvement in the Rutgers student chapter of DIA and my experiences within industry that I wanted to be a part of this dynamic environment and continue to grow as a life-long learner. I have always been passionate about wanting to help patients on a macro scale, and the pharmaceutical industry provides an ideal outlet for these ambitions.

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Fellows Feature
IPhO FELLOWS FEATURE: Jateh Major, PharmD

Featured Fellow: Jateh Major, PharmDJateh Major

Fellowship Sponsor Company: Merck (Rutgers)

Function/Discipline: Global Regulatory Affairs

Fellowship Years: 2017-2019

Alma Mater: Howard University, Class of 2017

Throughout pharmacy school, I gained work experience in both the retail and hospital settings, and I knew that the “traditional roles” of pharmacy practice were not the best fit for me. I wanted to position myself to do more. During my second year in pharmacy school, I was given the opportunity to work with a team of colleagues to develop a multidisciplinary initiative that targeted the homeless population of Washington, DC. As I worked on the project, I recognized how much I enjoyed working with individuals with unique areas of expertise in order to create something innovative that provided a major positive impact to underserved communities. This experience inspired me to pursue post-doctoral opportunities that would allow me to work in a similar environment. Soon after the initiative, a Howard University alumnus and Rutgers Fellow came to speak to us regarding the various roles for pharmacists within the pharmaceutical industry. As he discussed the details of the various positions within several functional areas, I was reminded of the role I played in the homeless outreach initiative. After his presentation, I decided that I was going to pursue a position in the pharmaceutical industry.

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Member's Journey!
Eric Wager, PharmD: A Member's Journey

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Company: Halozyme Therapeutics
Current Role: CMC Specialist, Regulatory Affairs
Alma Mater: Touro University, California, Class of 2016

In 2011, my 12-year career as a microbiologist for the largest brewing company in the Pacific Northwest unknowingly came to an abrupt end. Changes in the small company I joined in 1999 that had a top 10 national ranking in 2016, manifested in layoffs. As the layoffs gathered momentum, it was my signal to leave and begin a year long process looking at alternative career options where I could leverage my 12-years of service in aseptic manufacturing. I had spent my career focused in the life sciences after graduating from the University of California Santa Cruz. I was 42 years old and married for 8 years to a PhD scientist who had been employed as a MSL in the pharmaceutical industry since 2003. My sister-in-law, a PhD clinician, was also employed as a MSL. After numerous discussions with family members, I began to explore the application process to pharmacy school in the fall of 2011 and fully consider the prospect of earning a PharmD degree. Ultimately, I considered a doctoral degree in pharmacy as the best opportunity to leverage my 20-years of experience in healthcare and aseptic manufacturing. I believed the best fit for my unconventional background was the School of Pharmacy at Touro University California.

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Fellows Feature
IPhO FELLOWS FEATURE: Kathleen Montgomery, PharmD, MS

headshot (2)Featured Fellow: Kathleen Montgomery, PharmD, MS

Fellowship Sponsor Company: Takeda Oncology (MCPHS)

Function/Discipline: Global Medical Affairs, Medical Science Liaison

Fellowship Years: 2017-2018

Alma Mater: Fairleigh Dickinson University, Class of 2017

I am eager to learn, develop, and implement healthcare strategies and educational tools to improve peoples’ health and their quality of life. Prior to pharmacy school I earned a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science from Southern Utah University. Upon graduation, I had the opportunity to teach low-income families and individuals the basics of food budgeting, safety and preparation. Later, I worked as a pharmaceutical compounder, using my food science skills to develop individualized medicine. In both of these roles, I greatly enjoyed being able to make a difference in peoples’ lives. I decided that I wanted to be part of a team that truly makes a difference in the lives of patients’ and their families on a global level. I returned to school to obtain a PharmD degree and pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry.

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Fellows Feature
IPhO FELLOWS FEATURE: Lance B. Kruger, PharmD, RPh

Headshot-2Featured Fellow: Lance B. Kruger, PharmD, RPh

Fellowship Sponsor Company: Takeda Pharmaceuticals (Purdue)

Function/Discipline: Global Regulatory Affairs – Strategy

Fellowship Years: 2016-2018

Alma Mater: Purdue University, Class of 2016

I had every intention of becoming a community pharmacist in my small hometown of Francesville, Indiana. However, after spending 4 years in the retail setting, I realized I did not feel as challenged or fulfilled as I hoped. Thus, I began to look at other opportunities outside of traditional hospital and community pharmacy. My curiosity led me to many presentations and discussions at Purdue with pharmacists and leaders in the pharmaceutical industry. It was here I learned that an industry pharmacist can be highly involved in developing and promoting access to new medications for patients all over the world. This was the challenging career that I was looking for.

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