Erin Merico, a rising third-year College of Pharmacy student, tells the Pulse about NEOMED’s newest pharmacy student organization — the student chapter of the Industry Pharmacy Organization chapter — which she serves as president.
Is IPhO a new student organization? What inspired you to introduce the chapter to NEOMED?
EM: Yes, it is! Dr. Jackie Boyle approached me and asked if I would be interested in bringing a chapter to NEOMED. It is a national organization and this is the first time NEOMED has had a chapter. She approached me because she knows I have interest in working in industry and research.
Tell us more about IPhO.
EM: IPhO is an organization for students and pharmacists who want to work, or currently work in the pharmaceutical industry. The organization offers ways for individuals to connect and build their network. IPhO also helps match students to fellowships at companies.
Pharmacy fellowships are similar to pharmacy residencies. They help students further their training, but fellowships offer a unique experience by teaching students about research, drug development, drug marketing, drug safety and so much more that often happens when bringing a drug to market or monitoring a current drug. Fellowships last one to two years and often help students build networks to land a career in the pharmaceutical industry upon completion of the program.
Who can become involved with IPhO?
EM: Anyone can join IPhO! Our chapter is geared towards students wanting to learn more about the research and development of medications, drug information, drug marketing, drug safety and regulations.
Why do you encourage students to join IPhO?
EM: I encourage students to join to see more about the unique roles of pharmacists. Not all pharmacists work in community or hospital settings. Our organization will show students the various roles pharmacists can have in drug development companies. Pharmacists have a unique knowledge set that can be applied in multiple settings and IPhO is designed to help students look at alternative roles.
What are your goals for IPhO this upcoming year?
EM: My career goals are to work in research and drug information, particularly with clinical trials. Currently, I am an intern in Investigational Drug Services at University Hospitals and my job has the perfect mix of research and clinical application. I work with drug companies monitoring and running clinical trials as well as with doctors serving as principal investigators to help get patients drugs currently being studied. My hope is to have someone from IDS talk with the group because not many people know about this unique role.
I also would love to have someone from the FBI or CDC discuss their roles. There are so many opportunities for pharmacists in research and we need to continue to encourage our peers who have a drive to never stop learning.
Who serves on IPhO’s board?
- Erin Merico, president
- Prince Danso, vice president/engagement
- Kyle Duale, marketing
- Mairim Avila, treasurer
- Miljan Terzic, programming
- Ashlyn Barnhart, communications
- Shadrack Osei Baah, student involvement
- Angela Armocida, underclassmen representative