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Archive for September, 2015

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword…Especially for Girls

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 9.40.05 AMWhenever the conversation comes around to STEM and the STEMPrincess project, the first question people usually ask me is,

“Do you have kids?”

I reply that I don’t, and my guess why they ask me is related to unearthing the motivation for starting and developing a children’s book series on STEM in the first place.  But even if I did have kids, that really wouldn’t be the reason why I edit, invest my time, money and energy to produce a children’s book series on STEM for girls.

The reason why I do it is nailed in this New York Times Op Ed piece entitled, “What’s So Scary About Smart Girls?”  The biggest threat to ISIS or Al Qaeda isn’t really our drones or military.  It instead is educated girls.  That’s why in countries like Yemen where Al Qaeda hides out, the radical militants attack schools.

The benefits of educating girls in particular, in this article, include:

  • Preventing youth bulges in a population, which in turn decreases the risk of civil war in a country.
  • Educated girls have smaller families, so we can curb population bulges and messy issues like those surrounding Planned Parenthood right now.*
  • Educated girls double the labor force in a country, which in turn boosts the economy and GDP of that country.
  • With governments that allow girls and boys to be educated, countries become more stable.

So, instead of investing in high tech bombs and drones, maybe instead we should be investing in education and libraries for girls and boys in countries that pretty much detest the United States.

Education to a girl or a boy is freedom.  It’s helping to make the world a better place through more peace.  It’s also empowering children to grow up and become financially independent.  Independence, too, leads to even more freedom.

Let freedom ring!

This is why I’m doing what I’m doing, and will continue onward.

*Planned Parenthood provides a lot of preventative and primary care to women in the US…so I’m not going to get in the fight about the controversy surrounding them of late, other than to state I think they should keep their doors open.  Besides, abortion was already settled as a right for women in a case called Roe v. Wade….


Black Ops

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 8.15.09 PMIn my usual Sunday morning perusal of magazines and the news, I stumbled on this article from Entrepreneur, of which I wanted to comment on one of the points…particularly, #1.

It is this: I believe we have a finite amount of decision-making ability each day.  It’s like a glass that starts full at the beginning of the day, then through decision after decision, we deplete our decision-making abilities.  By the end of the day, we’re drained.  The glass is empty.  What’s troubling is, the glass drains even faster for those of us creating and making new stuff – trying on new ideas, creating new ways of doing stuff and starting.

So, of late, when I’ve been making a ton of decisions (between the day jobs and/or with #STEMPrincess2X, and better yet, my NEXT book(s), which I haven’t really and officially decided on just yet), I’m wearing a lot of…black.  I just put it on in the morning, and forget about it.  It’s the costume for the creative.  The LAST thing I want to drain my decision-making glass on each morning (especially not being a morning person) is what I’m going to wear to work.  In the past, I’ve stood in my closet and contemplated for minutes what to wear.  Now, I don’t even think about it.

I’m not the only one who believes in the theory of having a finite amount of decision-making ability each day.  Said Barack Obama to Vanity Fair, the following quote, which is also cited here:

  • “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” [Obama] said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” - President Obama

While I don’t agree with President Obama on much, this point we do share in agreement.  There is a finite amount of decision-making ability each of us possesses – it’s like a superpower.  But, we have a finite amount of it.  So, we must pay attention and focus our finite abilities on making decisions that matter, rather than wasting them on things that really don’t.

The next time you see me, and I’m in all black: I’m probably writing something important, or making a huge transition in my life.  Or both.  It’s my black ops suit.  I’d challenge you to think about yours, and better yet, how you can focus your decision-making abilities on what really matters…to you.

PIA Pamela

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 1.12.43 AMI just finished Brene Brown’s* new book, Rising Strong.  It was good, and important for those of us who are doing big scary things in the middle of the arena, with blood, sweat and dirt on our faces. Totally get it and agree with it (even though, I’m not as nice or forgiving as Dr. Brown is…I’m working on it; I’m definitely not there.)

But, I want to discuss the cheap seats in the back of the arena. You know, the seats where the critics and haters sit. The seats where the Pamelas of the world sit.

If you haven’t yet read the book, I don’t want to ruin all of it for you, but I do want to discuss Pamela. She’s a PIA that appears in one of Brene’s stories and shoves her way up to her at an event to right hook her without any jabs (that’s a @Garyvee-ism) with an ask on something, super obnoxious-style, when Brene’s trying to be in her zone for speaking, and like me, is hyper-introverted to begin with–a combo that is hard on one’s stomach.

Anyway, Pamela writes Brene a follow up note and corrects her pronunciation of another person Brene spoke of at the event. Brene was pissed. I don’t blame her. I would be too. And, I probably would have done exactly what Dr. B did in the book as well, with the exception of perhaps sending reply all…(I’ll admit it, I’m not as highly evolved as Brene is, especially when it comes to criticism from the cheap seats in the back.) In fact, I probably would have asked Pamela how many keynotes she’s given and books she’s written in reply too.

My point: We all have Pamelas in our lives. The haters, the annoying, the always-corrective-perfect people who hand over their opinions freely without being asked for it are always going to be there if you’re doing anything remotely new/creative/different or interesting. I’m not going to sugar coat this either – it’s flat out annoying. The petty person in me always wants to invite the critic sitting in the cheap seats in the back to come up on stage and show the rest of us how it is done. But then, before I go and do that, I pause and remember–it’s always easier to criticize than create. Always. And, the more success you have, the more Pamelas you get.  It’s like the universe wants you to be awesome–but not TOO awesome. So, the universe’s method for checking you is handing you more Pamelas. It’s a test of your awesomeness–and ONLY a test.

What do I do with Pamelas? Welp, as I’ve shared here before, I nod my head and listen while they are critiquing my original work (again, unsolicited), then, I let it go out the other ear. Doing NOTHING with their unsolicited criticism is the BEST thing to do. And, as Dr. Brown says, make sure you stop it from leaving your other ear canal if the critic matters to you–if they are an important part of your life–if you value their opinions. The close people to me in my life that matter I can count on one hand, and I don’t even need all my fingers to do it.

After all, ultimately, Pamela’s criticism of you is not about you. It’s about Pamela. And even though she may be clean in the arena, and her face isn’t in the dirt–she will never rise strong while she’s keeping you down. Pamelas never get to Act III or even Act II; they are too busy in Act I shredding everyone else to get dirty by daring to create, and willing to get their own dupas kicked.


*I can’t get the accent to appear above the last e in Brene’s name in wordpress. Sorry, Dr. Brown, if you’re reading this!


Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Last night, I watched the debate.  I geek out on that kind of stuff.  (Not to mention, it’s kind of our obligation as decent citizens to get informed on who we should vote for as the best candidate as leader of the free world.)

Anyway, Carly really wiped the floor with most of the male candidates last night–and she stunningly did it with eloquence.  Good for her.  But, as I was tweeting my own commentary on the evening, I was noticing that other women were commenting that Carly should be “smiling” more.  Furthermore, I never saw one tweet saying that any of the men on stage needed to smile more.

Can you say “double standard”?

Look friends, with $19T in debt in the country, an epic, broken immigration system, ISIS beheading innocent people, healthcare eating nearly 20% of our GDP and Social Security dwindling by the second, does Carly (or do any of the candidates, for that matter) really have anything to smile about?  I want the next leader of the free world to care less about her or his fake smile and care more about solving these defcon-1 level problems our country is facing. Pronto.

So, my message here is to all of us – to make sure to check our double standards.  Women in politics have always been double-scruitinized (and yes, I know this to be a fact after training at Women’s Campaign School at Yale, and candidly one of the many reasons why I have not yet stepped up to run myself…yet).  Let’s be extra careful not to put a lower bar on the male candidates and a nit-picky super-sacchrine high bar on the ladies. This goes for Hillary too.  (Although smiling vs. potentially breaking laws are completely different items…which I won’t go into here.)

Face Plant, In the Arena…

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 9.36.35 PMFor some reason, the universe keeps giving me the following message.  Most recently, tonight on this post about never, ever reading blog post comments as a writer.  (Hence, why I shut off comments to this blog. That, and spam killing the site.)  Earlier today, by listening to a new podcast to me, Entrepreneur on Fire, where the guest basically said you, as a speaker, can either be a critic or a creator, but not both.

Third, last night in a conversation with students about failure…something students and professionals in healthcare DETEST discussing.  But, I’m trying to get them open to it, because it’s important for innovation and progress–two things healthcare in this country desperately needs! Last, by continuing to read Brene Brown’s new book, Rising Strong.  In it, she quotes Theodore Roosevelt from the 1910 “Man in the Arena” speech:

  • “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Later on in the book, she says to carefully pay attention to criticism by the RIGHT people.  Best line ever regarding this by Brown:

“For me, if you’re not in the arena getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”


I’m leaving this post, because 4 times is a charm.  But I’m also leaving this post as a reminder to all of us (OK MYSELF) of the following:

1. We need to be in the arena. Faceplanting.  That’s the only way we get brave and do really creative, interesting stuff.
2. We need to not sit in the cheap seats in the back, criticizing those in the middle of the arena getting their asses kicked.  Instead, we should be supporting them.  Cheering them on, and getting them to get back up and try again.

THAT’s the stuff that real character is made of…not being the little person who picks apart everything else new and interesting that others are trying to attempt. The better and bigger person is the one who has been there, done that, and can cheer others on.

Sounds kind of preachy.  But, even my instagram feed this morning said that the bad news was that not everyone is going to fit in, but the good news is that no one awesome ever did.  And, if the universe is sending me a message through different channels, I usually need to make note of it, so I’m doing just that in this post…

…no need for comments.


The Why Behind My Books, and Study Great Careers – for Free

Sunday, September 13th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 10.18.47 AMI frequently get asked about my career moves.  While I’m flattered, I’ve already explored a lot of them through my books.  I’ll lay down which aspect of my career in my books I explored below, so others can check out which particular aspect they’re interested in, and I can forward this post to those who ask in general.

The Medical Science Liaison: An A to Z Guide – still the first book out there on the Medical Science Liaison, which MDs, PhDs, and PharmDs can go for – it’s still one of the best jobs I ever had.  If you like drug information and autonomy, but a little business thrown in there too, this is a fantastic job.

The Life Science Lawyer – For all those MDs, PhDs and PharmD science geeks who think they want to go to law school, this is a good one for you.  Law School: A Few Short and Plain Statements walks you through what law school does to one’s brain, through a series of blog posts into an ebook.

Indianapolis: A Young Professional’s Guide, first and second editions – this is for the young professionals moving into Indy post college.  And, it will help with all the ancillary stuff in a good life – like philanthropy training, leadership training, and connecting to our fair city in meaningful ways.

Single. Women. Entrepreneurs. – I’m a single woman entrepreneur, and being a single woman is the only category of marital status where women start more businesses than men.  Why?  That’s what I wanted to unearth in this book.

Plan C: The Full-Time Employee and Part-Time Entrepreneur – this is for those of us who want to start a business, but also realize that we went to school for a looooong time, and also want to work within a profession.  It doesn’t have to be all one way or the other. It can be both.  This book explores the spectrum.

The New Pharmacist: 46 Doses of Advice – helps to kick off a pharmacy career the right way – the guide I wish I had when I first started out in pharmacy a few…eh hem…decades ago.  It also discusses grad school.

Multipationals – whether or not we think it is a good thing or not, many of us have multiple jobs and gigs these days. This book explores why those of us with multiple jobs juggle this, and better yet – what the benefits are of having multiple gigs.

STEM Princess 1 & 2 (presale) - Just want to give girls a handshake to STEM careers at an early age.  I can’t teach them everything they need to know about bioinformatics, neuroscience or computer programming, but I can get them introduced.

And with the 5+ books that students have written at Butler University, along with the BU Well project:

(2 in 2016)
The Gifts of Indiana – bicentennial
Max Greene and the Vaccine Team
He Huffed and He Puffed But…A Tale of a Wolf With Asthma
Pharmacy and Me
Prescription to My Younger Self: What I Learned After Pharmacy School

All I want to do is give students a shot at learning how to lead through writing.  That’s it.

That’s the “why” behind all of my writing projects, or mentoring of writing projects.

Now, instead of spending your hard earned money on reading all this stuff after purchasing it – do me and yourself a favor. REQUEST THESE BOOKS TO BE PURCHASED FROM YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY! Seriously, I do it all the time myself with books I want to read–I hit the bookstore, take my smartphone, take photos of the new books I want to read, then request the library buy them.  Figure out how you can request your library to purchase books, and get them to foot the payment instead of you.  That way, the ideas are available to a wider audience, and your wallet doesn’t take the hit!

Hope this helps.

55 Cool Jobs for Pharmacists

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

MPI don’t know why I didn’t write this post earlier, but better late than never.  After seeing this post today over at Pharmacy Times, I thought it was time.

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is about “What can I do in pharmacy?” as a prof.  As someone who has had a lot of different gigs in pharmacy (or, should I say with a couple of pharmacy degrees), there’s a LOT more out there than community practice (retail) and hospital pharmacy. (NOT that there’s anything wrong with either!)  Below, I’m going to lay out jobs that I personally know pharmacists have done or are doing.


1. Wellness program director – employer
2. Wellness program writer
3. MTM counselor/consultant
4. LTC consultant pharmacist
5. Closed door pharmacy pharmacist
6. New drug namer
7. Run a pharmacy association – state or disease-specific
8. Run a pharmacy association – national or international
9. Run a state board of pharmacy
10. Health outcomes pharmacist
11. Drug information pharmacist – at a drug info portal (like Medispan or FDB)
12. Drug info internal at drug company
13. Field based MSL
14. DEA toxicologist
15. Regulatory affairs
16. Health outcomes liaison
17. Clinical Research Operations
18. Pharmacovigilance
19. Clinical Trial manager/designer
20. Publication planning at pharma co/biotech/device co
21. Manage clinical trial operational budgets and/or contracts
22. Clinical Trial Materials Manager
23. FDA – review new drugs
24. FDA – review generics
25. Pharma brand management
26. Government affairs for healthcare or pharmacy
27. Serve in public office
28. Academic pharmacy – teach
29. Academic pharmacy – administration
30. Consultant at big consulting firm
31. Auditing – PBMs
32. Inspecting – pharmacists – at Boards of pharmacy
33. Managing a drug formulary
34. Heading Medicaid or health and human services for a state
35. Working at CMS
36. Publishing drug information
37. Medical writer
38. Book publisher
39. Recon/info for hedge funds or Wall Street firms
40. Academia – administration at a University (not the same thing as a college of pharmacy)
41. M&M candy coater – quality assurance
42. Compounding pharmacist
43. Teacher of techs
44. Test question writer
45. Compliance manager (regulatory – drug companies)
46. Inventor (Dr. Pepper, flavors for liquid drugs, etc.)
47. Drug pricing specialist
48. Veterinarian Pharmacy
49. Wellness coach
50. Editor
51. Working at NIH
52. HIT pharmacist
53. Bioinformatics
54. Epidemiologist/public health
55. Transitions of care/home health pharmacist

There. I probably could come up with 50+ more, but what would be the fun of that?  Every pharmacist must find her own path. After all, that’s part of the fun!



BU Well at Butler University: An Update

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Once upon a time, when I went to law school (back in the dark ages, 5 years ago), I participated in Indiana Health Law Review.

It was fun!

So fun, in fact, that after the experience, I was haunted.

“Why doesn’t this opportunity exist for students in healthcare?” I asked myself.

Four years, a Butler University Innovation Grant, over 30 students, a website, hundreds of hours of work and meetings, and 1.1 class semesters later, here’s where we are with BU Well at Butler University.

Go dawgs!  (Video by Jeff S., BU Well member.)

To the Bold and Daring…

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Dear Network,

Lately I’ve noticed a lot of you (yes, you, the really cool, interesting people of my network, always doing fabulous things), are making some pretty radical changes in your life.  You are selling your houses.  You are quitting your jobs.  And, you’ve either decided to travel the world for a period of time until you settle again, ‘retiring’ early, or chucking the U.S. and moving to a remote tropical island, or a foreign country, or all of the above.

To you I say, awesome.  Really – good for you!  I admire that quality in you, as I’m not really in a place in the tenure of life right now to do that myself.  But, I will eagerly await your updates, and watch how it goes for you…maybe even live a little vicariously through you right now, if you don’t mind.

To the bold and daring…I salute you!


3 Updates for Pharmacy, Healthcare, Life Science and STEM Folk

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Despite another stream of technical difficulties today, here are three updated documents for the healthcare, STEM, Life Science and Pharmacy-kind—in order to share them with you, and to make me feel like I’ve accomplished something today!

1. Girls, Women and STEM – an update.  More data on STEM – are we getting better when it comes to women?  In some cases, yes, albeit very very slow.  In other cases, we’re actually moving backward:

Girls Women and STEM: An Update – September 2015 from Erin L. Albert, MBA, PharmD, JD
2. Pharmacy meetings in 2015/16 – I added a few per others’ suggestions.  It’s really helpful to have all the meetings in one place so I can figure out which to attend.
3. Pharmacist/Healthcare Professional Certifications – again, added some other certifications from others and/or randomly found. (And added Princess Piper, the pharmacist/physician STEM Princess – spreadsheets should be a little more fun!)