The UT College of Pharmacy is proud of its exceptional graduates who contribute to the profession and to public health wellness in a variety of different practice settings. We are excited to feature some of our alumni on this page to show how our very own Longhorn pharmacists are changing the world. If you are interested in being profiled on this page or would like to recommend someone to be profiled, please contact us.
Phuoc Anne Nguyen, Pharm.D.
Class of 2013
1) What is your current position?
Currently I am completing my second year as a PGY-1/PGY-2/MS Health-Systems Pharmacy Administration (HSPA) Resident through the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and the University of Houston College of Pharmacy.
2) What attracted you to the pharmacy profession?
Born and raised in Viet Nam for the first 9 years of my life, my experiences with malaria and poverty defined my perspective on health and poverty. I witnessed how my mom had to walk four hours to the nearest city to retrieve an anti-malarial drug to save my life. I witnessed how the lack of health care accessibility and affordability had left many families suffering for losing their loved ones to the widespread communicable diseases in our village. My past experiences with malaria and poverty stirred my interests in public health and pharmacy because I believe that these two fields can intersect and synergize to improve patients’ quality of health and strengthen our healthcare system. When I was a freshman at UT Austin, I had opportunities to shadow pharmacy professors, Drs. Brown and Lawson, and frontline pharmacists in hospital and community clinics. During these experiences, I felt empowered and called upon to serve in this profession, serving the sick and poor. It is a challenging yet a very rewarding profession!
3) What is your fondest and/or most vivid memory of being a pharmacy student?
The people. Before graduating, I always looked forward to the graduation day but it was that day that I realized how much I would miss the College and the wonderful people that I’ve had the opportunities to get to know. I truly miss interacting with my classmates, professors, administrators, and just the whole staff at the College. I could not have gotten to where I am today without the support of these individuals.
I still remember how easy it was to walk into our professor's room and just strike a conversation with them. When I had a long break between classes, I would go to into different professor's room to talk with them about life in general. These discussions were the ones that changed the course of my life and shaped my journey after graduation. I also had really strong mentoring at UT with Arlyn, Dr. Lawson and Dr. Brown.
One fondest moment would be hosting Arlyn's surprise retirement party and listening to his inspirational speech. I still remembered a lot of what was said. It was definitely a unique experience. The College is like another family to me!
4) What are some of the biggest challenges in the pharmacy field today?
It all depends on perspectives. One may view these issues as challenges but I believe these are more opportunities for our pharmacy profession. We need leaders and active members more than ever before as well as unity among different specialty fields. This is the opportune time for pharmacists to rise up and show the world what we can do as a whole profession. We don't have to fight or be territorial among ourselves. We must unite as one force to show the true potential of what pharmacists are capable of and can do for our patients. Obtaining provider status is one step in this whole sequence. When many pharmacists among different fields (community, hospital, long term care, industry, etc.) can successfully answer these 2 questions* and respond with actions, our profession is in good hands with a common voice.
[*What can we do to deliver best care to our patients and how can we promote our profession?]
Moreover, We need pharmacists as the pharmacy leaders and active members.
Along the same line, we need to find mechanisms to continuously promote organizational/professional involvement among our students. They are the future of our professions and we need them to be involved after graduation. Having mentors and good leadership experiences in school may help them to realize the value of paying forward and being involved.
5) What are your plans or goals for the future?
I have strong interests in public health, ambulatory care, transition of care initiatives, internal medicine, academia and management. I desire to become a skilled clinician and an effective manager. I plan to integrate public health, pharmacy, and management to optimize patient care and enhance the profession of pharmacy. Upon graduation from residency, I hope to obtain a clinical position, a clinical manager, or any other opportunities to grow and learn. I plan to pursue a clinical pharmacy manager position or clinical pharmacist position to expand the roles of pharmacists and give back to our profession. My long-term goal is to work in academia and become an administrator in pharmacy and hospital health system.
7) Anything else you'd like for us to know?
My mentor once told me, "Pharmacy is a very small world." From my early career thus far, I believe this is a very true statement. It's all about who you know and who know you well. Therefore, start networking early on, especially in pharmacy school. For students, a great starting point would be getting to know your professors and visiting lecturers. They are just a great group of leaders to start building relationships. When you go to conferences, network as much as possible. Start conversations with people in elevators and on planes. You will be amazed at who you meet and what that connection could bring.
In addition, finding the right mentor to help you navigate through your professional journey is also very important. Overall, networking and having great mentors are very important!
If you think you want to be a manager "one day" or want to advance as pharmacy leader within health system, consider a health-system pharmacy administration residency. This residency helps to prepare leaders and provide you the skill sets you need to advance into management role or even in academia. The advanced training opens more doors and provides career flexibility. There are multiple articles published on the shortage of pharmacy administrators. If we do not fill those positions, other people will take the positions. We need to lead our profession.
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Katherine Perez, Pharm.D., Class of 2010, has been named recipient of the 2013 Literature Award for Innovation in Pharmacy Practice.