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.
Collin N. Verheyden, Pharm.D.
Class of 2012
1) What is your current position?
I am the PGY2 in Infectious Diseases at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas. I spend time rounding with the ID consult service, participating in antimicrobial stewardship activities and initiatives, and teaching students and residents.
2) What attracted you to the pharmacy profession?
I initially found the profession in college as a technician. I was surprised by the relationships you could form with patients and their families, and the gratitude they displayed when they received great service. There was one lady in particular that captured my heart; she was in her eighties at the time and couldn't get around as well as she used to. But her eyes were still bright as she would peek into the pharmacy several mornings each week, looking for "her boyfriend." It was the bond I formed with her that ultimately led to my decision to become a pharmacist.
3) What is your fondest and/or most vivid memory of being a pharmacy student?
I am sure that I am not alone in recalling the impact that the faculty has had on my student career. I can think of several instances where my life was impacted positively by the College, but perhaps none more than when Dean Susan Brown called me to her office one day to show me an old UT yearbook with my Grandfather's picture in it. He graduated from the University of Texas College of Pharmacy in 1939, and they still had his senior photo in an album. He passed away 2 years before I was accepted into the program, but I know that he would be proud that I followed in his footsteps some 73 years after he did.
4) What are some of the biggest challenges in the pharmacy field today?
Pharmacists are positioned well for the coming changes to the American healthcare landscape. While there may not be the shortage of pharmacists there was several years ago, many jobs are being created in different fields than were previously available. The difficulty lies in finding what you love to do, and matching that with what the profession needs. To give an example, I believe the field of infectious diseases is at the beginning of a significant period of growth. Bacteria are becoming more resistant to available agents and few agents are being developed by drug companies. Combine that with falling rates of vaccinations across the country and the healthcare world is primed for a significant need to be filled by those who truly understand how to effectively manage drug therapy in these disease states. Enter the residency-trained pharmacist with the ability to manage an antimicrobial stewardship program in a hospital or clinic setting. These pharmacists can shape policy on how antibiotics, antifungals, and antivirals are used and potentially extend the life of the antimicrobial agents we have today. The challenges are real, but the College of Pharmacy has prepared me to face these challenges, and continues to invest in the future of our profession so that UT graduates will always be available to answer the call.
5) What are your plans or goals for the future?
As I am in the process of completing my residency, I am hoping to find a position at a teaching hospital which will allow me to participate in the training of pharmacy students and residents. Ideally, I would be able to have an appointment at a College of Pharmacy as well, enabling me to teach the occasional lecture on my favorite infectious diseases topics. Research has become an important aspect of clinical pharmacy in the past two years, so I see myself participating in that as my career continues. Ultimately, I would love to be a residency program director at a teaching hospital and have the opportunity to train future generations of clinical pharmacists.
6) Anything else you'd like for us to know?
To the students that read this, remember you are here now because of those that have invested in you over the years; teachers, parents, family, and friends. You could not have accomplished all you have without the support of others. I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for my family, friends, and most of all my sweet wife, Jen. She supported me through pharmacy school, encouraged me through residency, and is the best friend I could ever hope for. I am thrilled to be hunting for a long term job with her. I am also thankful for our sweet Newfoundland, Murphy. He keeps both of grounded and reminds us of what's really important in life (mostly food and love).
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