APhA-APRS Postgraduate Spotlight- Anthony Olsen, MEd, PharmD, APhA-APRS Postgraduate Officer for 2017-2019
PhD Student in Social Administrative Pharmacy, University of Minnesota – College of Pharmacy, APhA member since 2011
I first became interested in pursuing a PhD… during my third year as a student pharmacist. Although I enjoyed applying what was already known in the field of pharmacy, I was most energized by the thought of discovering new knowledge and working to improve the understanding of social behavioral determinants in patient-centered care. My interest in this research space can be greatly attributed to my grandfather, who owned and operated the independent pharmacy where I worked in high school. He was a valuable member of his community that made a meaningful difference in the lives of his patients by treating each of them as an individual with unique needs, goals, and backgrounds.
I joined APhA because … it provided the opportunity as a student pharmacist to develop and gain more practice using patient care skills that I learned about in the PharmD classroom through initiatives like Operation Heart, Generation Rx, and more. I’ve remained a member as a new practitioner and graduate student because I’ve realized that being a professional is more than having a degree from an accredited institution, passing exams, and a paycheck for services rendered. Being a professional is about serving our communities to the best of our abilities. For me, this is by improving our understanding, innovation, and application of patient health services.
The advice I give to student pharmacists considering graduate school is … to take advantage of your time and resources in pharmacy school by exploring the wide variety of pharmacy-related careers. If you’re anything like me, it is unlikely you entered pharmacy school with a good understanding of them all. Finding your optimal career takes hard work that involves planning, calculated risks, and reflection, but is a worthwhile investment in your future. Set up meetings with professors and graduate students to discuss their experiences, seek out opportunities to take part in research, and take the APhA Career Pathway Evaluation Program for Pharmacy Professionals on pharmacist.com. Your future self will thank you.
If I weren’t a pharmacist or researcher, l’d be a … high school Special Education teacher. As someone with dyslexia who thrived because of excellent instructors and supportive infrastructure, this area is very near and dear to my heart. I also feel this field has some useful applications for patient-centered care.
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The National Governors Association recently released The Expanding Role of Pharmacists in a Transformed Health Care System. This report highlights how states can better integrate pharmacists into the health care system and is one more confirmation of the profession’s role in addressing the health care needs of patients.