Clinical Professor and Director of Undergraduate Programs
Clinical Pharmacist, Integrated Teaching Unit: Brigham and Women's Hospital
Where did you grow up?
Hudson Falls, NY (i.e. the middle of nowhere in the Adirondack mountains)
What is your educational background?
I was in the last B.S. in Pharmacy class at Albany College of Pharmacy, and tracked into my Pharm.D. there. I was a Biology lab assistant with Jenny van Amburgh (whom I have known for almost 20 years now) all through school, and I then moved to Boston to complete my PGY 1 residency at Boston Medical Center.
When and why did you choose to come to Northeastern?
I was able to precept 2 students during my residency and something clicked in my head that made me want to teach. I had been told in the past by some of my professors that I would be a good teacher, but I remember thinking they were crazy, and yet, here I am. I remember interviewing at Northeastern and just getting this feeling that I fit in here, with the people and with the institution.
What did you do before you decided to conduct academic research?
It took me a while to figure out what research/scholarship was and how to actuate a project, and it took me a while longer to learn about the science of teaching, which then developed into the scholarship of education and the scholarship of application/integration.
What is your field of study at the School of Pharmacy?
Two themes of my scholarship in the area of clinical application/integration include: Hyperlipidemia/Metabolic Syndrome/Obesity as the target of a number of survey based projects and clinical presentations; and improvements to the medication utilization process, with a recent focus on medication related issues during patient transitions of care and the medication reconciliation process.
The scholarship of teaching and learning has developed into a passion for me in my time in academia. My primary area of focus in the scholarship of teaching and learning has been curriculum and course design and innovation.
What do you enjoy about being at Northeastern?
The people. It is always about the people. The people you work with, the people you teach, the collaborations that you are able to cultivate and the relationships developed. I also just really love teaching, being in the classroom or the clinical site, and seeing the light bulbs go off in a student’s mind!
What is the most interesting aspect of the research that you are compiling right now?
Scholarship of Application/Integration:
It is estimated that adverse drug events occur in 6.7% of hospitalized patients and have an annual cost of approximately $3.5 billion. A recent review found that a median of 46.5% of adverse drug events were preventable and considered to be caused by medication errors. With an estimated 6% of hospitalized patients having at least one medication error, this is one of the most preventable causes of adverse drug events in hospitals. One of the main risk factors for medication errors are inaccuracies in patients’ medication lists, with up to 67% of patients with one or more medication discrepancy upon hospital admission. I am currently investigated the clinical impact of pharmacist led medication reconciliation on patient outcomes such as re-admissions to the hospital and mortality.
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning:
If a student is not engaged in the learning process, can learning really occur? This is a question that intrigues me, as I continue to assess the impact of student engagement in teaching and learning. I am also working on a paper currently involving the concept of personalized education, and the potential to play to a learner’s strengths and learning styles to allow for a more flexible and personalized approach to learning with the goal of a deeper understanding of material and concepts for more efficient skill development.
What is your next academic pursuit?
I am a student again currently. I have enrolled in the Master’s in Education program at Northeastern, and I hope to have my degree in a year and a half!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Teaching Hyperlipidemia through the use of Homer Simpson to a new generation that probably has never heard of him.
How frequently do you get to speak or meet with other Northeastern alumni or students living in the area?
I have the pleasure of seeing many alumni every year at national pharmacy meetings, which is one of the highlights of these meetings to me. I also am in contact with quite a few through e-mail or on LinkedIn and Facebook.
What would you say to a student who is considering attending the School of Pharmacy?
Do it! We are here to make sure you succeed. The road is tough, but we would not have it any other way, and we will support you through it all. Because when you graduate, we are setting you up to be a successful pharmacist in any setting that you choose, and we hope that you will become a lifelong learner.
What are some personal accomplishments of yours?
I was fortunate enough to win a national volleyball title 2 years ago, which was amazing!
I was elected a Fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy last year which is a great honor.
I was also promoted recently to Clinical Professor, which I am extremely happy about.
I bought a new house 6 months ago that is a true fixer upper and I am trying to do almost all of the work myself. If I do not kill myself in the next few months, I’ll invite people over.
What is the most unforgettable thing a student has ever said to you?
“When I first met you I thought you were crazy, now after I have gotten to know, I have realized that you are crazy.”
What is your fondest memory from your time here?
So many to choose from!
Getting to know other faculty better during trips to professional meetings.
Our scavenger hunt that Judy Barr made us go on around campus when there were 10 new faculty hired in 2000.
What is your favorite hang-out spot or place to grab food on campus?
Chicken Lou’s is always good, but it is hard to get an option that is fat free there.
What has changed the most at Northeastern since you have been here?
The campus has changed dramatically since I came in 2000. It is a real campus that is beautiful to be around. The School of Pharmacy has made a wonderful transformation as well. It has grown and become a much richer tapestry of faculty and students, which really allows us to learn from each other.
A Few Words of Advice:
Try to take some time to realize what you have. We all seem to be rushing to get to the next place, and we rarely stop to see where we are now, and how great this place might be.
Northeastern has prepared you in many ways to be a leader in our profession. Don’t be afraid to take on the challenges that we face. Know that we are always here, and we’ve got your back!