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Archive for October, 2015

5 Costumes I’m Considering for Halloween This Year

Saturday, October 31st, 2015


2. A Catholic Priest.

3. Head coach of a professional men’s sports team.

4. CEO of a top 10 US bank.

5. Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court.

Here’s my problem:

No woman has ever held ANY of these jobs…so I don’t know what to wear.

You can’t be what you can’t see.

Happy Halloween 2015!

6 Steps to Plot an Awesome 2016

Sunday, October 25th, 2015
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Meet the new 2016 Moleskine on the left, and my maxed out 2015 Moleskine on the right

This year, I had to back up my plotting of goals/objectives/outcomes for the new year early.  A quarter early.  Why? Mainly because my Moleskine is full.

Yes, I drag an old school Moleskine around with me (I’ve waxed poetic here about it before).  But, I’ve had such a crazy 2015 that my current notebook is completely full.  Maxed out. Early!

The reason this affects my goals is because I post my goals at the back of my Moleskine, so I can look at them every time I’m waiting for a meeting to start, or just have a minute or two to spare.  It keeps my eye on the prize!

Anyway, now that the old notebook is capped out, I thought instead of reprinting the 2015 goals, that I instead start thinking about 2016 now.  Here’s what I’m mentally trying to work through in order to plot my 2016 goals, and I thought I’d share with the fab 13, just in case anyone might find this scheme useful.  Here we go!

How to Plot an Awesome 2016:

1. What do you value?  Honesty, working on the frontiers of knowledge, change, variety and autonomy are all still my top 5 values and they haven’t changed.  So, before you do anything else, spot check on your values, because that should drive everything else you do, including your goals.  Google “Values Card Sort” to get a card deck to sort if you don’t know your values, and make sure you DO know them.

2. Where do you want to go?  Yeah, I know all you mindfulness pros out there – the only place we can live is the present.  I get it.  However, we have to keep one eye on the future in order to grow ourselves over time.  So, where is it that you want to head in the future?  If you’re completely happy where you are in the present, fine, but you should have some type of stretch goals for yourself.  Maybe that means going back to school, taking an online class, or just starting up a mastermind group.  Whatever form that looks like – make sure you’re challenging yourself to ask where you’d like to be next.  Which leads me to my next idea…

3. What are you going to try that’s new to you?  This year (2015), that was starting a book series – something I never did before – with #STEMPrincess.  Next year–I already have my new idea (something I’ve never tried before) ready to rock.  It does, however, blend some of my current skill set with new things I want to try.  What is it?  I can’t really share just yet for several reasons, because a. there’s more than one item here and b. it relies on others to get it done, which I haven’t finalized just yet.  I know, I’m vague blogging.  But this isn’t about me and my goals, it’s about you helping with your own goals for 2016!

4. Who do you want to hang with and around?  Jim Rohn time – again. (I know those of you who read this are tired of me writing this, but it’s worth stating again): you are like the 5 people you hang around the most.  So, who’s that now, and who do you want that to be in 2016?  Get clear on that, and then you can design how you’re going to get around this crowd and make that change happen, if you aspire for change.  Groups, classes, meet ups, masterminds, book clubs – whatever vehicle you choose is great, but first think about the who, then the how.

5. What’s your crazy goal?  I’m always a fan of the big, hairy, audacious goal or two on the list.  I rarely make my own, but I love to write them down and try.  Besides, it’s creepy how, once you commit to any goal on paper, the universe tries to make it happen for you.  It’s always good to end with a little crazy, and there’s nothing better than dreaming big!  I may have something ID’d for this column in 2016, but I’m still pondering it.  Regardless, go big or go home!

6. Are you writing and sharing?  OK, once you’ve got that list of goals you’d like to make happen, two major things you need to do: 1. write them down, and 2. share them.  Writing them tells the universe.  Sharing them makes you accountable.  Now, you don’t need to shout all your goals from the rooftops, but you do need to find some safe people to share them and hold you accountable to make them happen.

That’s it.  You can of course pick different categories of stuff you want to work on – family, friends, job/career, school, investing, health, etc.   But at the end of the day, ANY work here in plotting a great 2016 is better than nothing.

Cheers to a wacky, busy and awesome 2016!

Who’s at the Helm in Healthcare?

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

First, this post is going to be long. Sorry.

Second, I don’t typically write about pharmacy and healthcare stuff a lot here.  Furthermore, I don’t like bashing my first profession of pharmacy.  However, I got into a written battle over at LinkedIn this week on a post where I asked in a group, “Where are all the women leaders in pharmacy?”  I kept getting told (by men) that there were plenty of women in healthcare leadership, and many of them were managed by women.

One item pharmacy as a profession in particular LOVES to tout (particularly being in STEM) is that it has a lot of women within the profession.  We average 60% women graduating pretty much across the board in pharmacy schools every year vs. 40% men.  And, it’s been that way ever since 1985, according to an article published in AJPE.  Considering the STEM crisis with women right now, you’d think at first glance these stats were awesome, and that pharmacy was way ahead of other STEM professions when it comes to gender equity, particularly in leadership roles.

Yay! Right?

Not so fast.

When you go up to the C suite to look at the leaders of pharmacy or healthcare, however, it is striking.  So, I conducted a super unscientific search of healthcare and pharmacy heads utilizing…Google.  (And for the record, some sites did a far better job of revealing their heads than others…it was next to impossible to find some of these!)

Who is at the helm of healthcare? An Unscientific Study of Gender and Leadership in the C-Suite of Healthcare Companies from Erin L. Albert, MBA, PharmD, JD

Literally, after looking at the demographics, if aliens landed on the planet and only talked to the heads of pharmacy and healthcare organizations, they’d swear that women were rare anomalies on the planet.  (Hint: we’re 53% of the population.)  And, this is so bad, that I kept going across types of organizations involved in pharmacy to try and find some good news!  Sadly, I don’t have much.

Ready to see how striking this is? (I’m about to color stereotype with pink and blue for a moment, forgive me, but you have to see how striking this really is.) Here are the top 15 community practice pharmacy chains in 2014, and who is heading them, followed by the percentage in the category of women:

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 6.44.08 PM
Not good.  OK, what about Specialty Pharmacy in 2014?

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Let’s try again.  How about 2014 Top Pharmacy Wholesalers?

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Next up, the 2015 Top 10 largest For Profit Health Systems in the US?

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Still seeing a LOT o’ blue.  Next up, let’s try Largest health systems, but NOT for profit:

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 6.45.12 PM

Blue. Blue. Blue.  (Granted, I don’t have Chief of Pharmacy listed in either of these, but finding the CEO was hard enough!  ASHP is working on this problem, which is good.)

OK, let’s shift gears and try top 10 largest Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs):

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 6.45.24 PM

Jeez!  What about the top 15 Pharmaceutical Companies in 2014?

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 6.45.54 PM

Is anyone else seeing a pattern here, and why the aliens would be totally confused if they spoke with the heads of healthcare coming in from a different planet?  I sure do!  What about Contract Clinical Research Organizations (CROs)?

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 6.46.34 PM

We’ve got to turn this ship around!  How about large, national pharmacy associations?

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What about Deans at schools of pharmacy in 2013?

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And State Pharmacy Associations heads?

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Let’s bring in the consultants here for a minute – largest healthcare consulting firms?

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The pink lettering above didn’t show up very well, but Bain has a Chairwoman of their board, which I normally didn’t include, but I figured at this point, we’d take all the women we could get.  (And, I will reserve my comments about women from Mitt’s binders here, I’m proud that he’s got a Chairwoman!)

And then, let’s get tecky – what about the big electronic medical record (EMR) software companies?

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 6.46.46 PM

And, my unscientific study would be remiss without a “Misc.” category in healthcare:

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 6.47.10 PM

OK, the best we can do in categories, ladies, is 38% of women at heads of state pharmacy associations.  Great! (Yay, ladies!), But unfortunately it is still nowhere near the ratio of 60/40 for women graduating from pharmacy schools. Ladies and gents, I’m not going off the deep end here, yet.  We’ve still got a LONG way to go to achieve anything toward 50/50, let alone 60/40 like graduation ratios have been and currently are in schools of pharmacy.

Friends, I really don’t care what profession you’re in, but considering women in this country make most of the purchasing decisions in the household, and that women usually end up managing a family’s healthcare, these numbers just aren’t adding up. We all should care about healthcare.  If you’re a parent, this is going to be pretty hard to explain to your daughters, if not downright embarrassing.  This is an epic problem.  And until we get it fixed, I fear that healthcare will continue to be the hot mess that it is…  Let’s fix this by:

  • Acknowledging that this is a problem.  Even being aware of it is the best way to start!  Here are my slides on this topic, download and use them to spread the word!
  • Hiring more women at the helm of these organizations!  
  • Let’s help women start their OWN healthcare companies by supporting and FUNDING them.
  • Please watch this video, and/or
  • take some unconscious bias training. Even being aware that there’s a problem here is a great first step.

Until we fix this huge problem, the aliens will remain confused…and so will I.

Shout Out to the Inventors

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Proofreading STEMP2 last night, I had to look up and fix “poly-para-phenylene terephthalamide” – I forgot the “terephthalamide” part.  It was actually invented by a woman.  I’ll let you figure out what it is and who invented it.  But it made me think about all the unsung heroes out there, the inventors.

We often hear from a handful of inventing rock stars (like at the big money companies, like Apple, Facebook, Google, etc.), but rarely hear about them all, and almost never hear about inventing women.  And while I’m not completely sure who invented what below, to those who did – thank you.

Here are some of my favorite inventions!

Some of My Fave Inventions:

  • The mute button on the TV remote – pure genius.
  • Icemakers – if you ever go to a country that does not believe in cold beverages, you’ll instantly get this one.
  • The Moleskine notebook – I’m waiting for a sale, because my 2015 Moleskine is almost full. Those who use the Evernote combo with their Moleskines love them too.
  • Cheese popcorn – yum. Especially after being stuck at O’Hare this weekend and hitting Garrett’s.
  • The Crock Pot – for all of us who don’t like cooking, thank you to the brilliance of this invention.
  • Airplanes – although I really dislike being smashed into them, I do appreciate that you can go somewhere thousands of miles away in only a few hours.
  • The sitting/standing adjustable desk – just got this one from IKEA retrofitted on my own writing desk. Sheer awesomeness. Demo at my Instagram.  And sitting is killing us, BTW!
  • Brownies – I’m certain this had to be a woman behind this amazingness.
  • Flipboard – thank you for putting news and my favorite publications in one place.
  • Periscope – this is the future, now. Thanks to the coders and inventors behind live stream video.
  • Clothing with hidden pockets – when traveling, you have to stick your passport on your person. Two smart examples: 1. SHOLDIT Clutch Wrap and 2. Anything at The Clever Travel Companion.

I really need to do my homework and investigate who invented all of these things…in the meantime, to those who did – THANKS!!!!

Building a Professional Posse of Healthcare Writing Rockstars

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Ah…I’m back from vacation.  Thanks for the reprieve, universe!

Second, as I shipped off edits for the first galley of STEMPrincess2 back to the publisher (shout out to Mascot Books), I wanted to take a little time out and just reflect on the very awesome culture of healthcare writing rockstars we’ve worked really, really hard to get up and running this year, and for the past several years at Butler U.

First, BU Well – we are still accepting outside articles, but tonight, the students working on the editorial board and the journal will be submitting their draft outlines for their own articles for publication consideration in volume 1 next May.  I’m really excited to see what they’ve been cranking on, since we had our topic selection night in September.  There’s also a great story of 2 of our students participating over at the BU Well Facebook site–which you should definitely check out (we are BU Well Journal over at the faceplace).

Second, P4 senior projects – our pharmacy majors are required to produce original projects of their own their own while they are in their final year of pharmacy school.  This year, I’m precepting 3 different team projects.  The students also have to present their preliminary work this week at Butler U’s poster day – which is always a fun affair.

The first project is 2 students from last year’s BU Well team who wanted to explore what OTHER pharmacy schools are offering in terms of writing and medical/technical writing in schools.  They’re also asking students if they’d want more class and opportunities on medical writing (if you’re going to Midyear in December, look for the poster session – hopefully there’s more on this project there).

Second and third, we’re doing it again – 2 interprofessional children’s book projects on public health topics.  Also involved are College of Ed students and College of Business students.  (And faculty preceptors in the other respective colleges – I’m NOT doing these alone as a faculty member):

Andi, Chase and the Mysterious Case - is about, of all things, antibiotic stewardship – which if you are outside of healthcare, is a HUGE problem.  (Just read their website on What’s the big deal?)

Ralphie the Giraffe and the Insulin Pump Adventure – is about, a giraffe with type I diabetes…and a dream.  They are running a Kickstarter program right now to presell, and their Weebly site is here.

It would be fantastic if you could help them out.  But even if you can’t, just spreading the word is great.  Kids and big kids need more fresh ideas on paper to read and think about.  While readers are leaders, the writers have an even bigger opportunity to lead, by influencing and sharing new ideas via the written word–even better if it is in an “edutaining” way.  And honestly, as a professor, I really can’t think of a better way to teach.  Creativity is at the highest peak of Bloom’s Taxonomy (if you want go all pedagogical), but I don’t think we even need to go there.  It’s just teaching and learning around sharing ideas–clearly and passionately.  That’s what teaching writing is all about.

It’s been fun to be part of building this culture of writing rockstars at Butler University.  And maybe, just maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll get to help out and write even more about these projects in the future…here’s hoping the students let me!

Don’t Go Away Mad…Just Go On Vacation

Friday, October 9th, 2015

I’m going on vacation. Where? Well, you can follow me on Periscope (@ErinLAlbert) and find out later next week when I scope from there.

In the meantime, I didn’t want to leave my blog behind mad.  But I’m still pretty mad, as someone else other than Linda died of breast cancer this week.  For the record, I hate pink ribbons, I hate breast cancer, and any cancer for that matter that is metastatic and kills people.  We need cures, now.

Madness aside, I am happy to report that before I depart for my vacation, STEM Princess 2 is officially at the publisher’s desk…and off of mine.  I can leave with a clear conscience, and nothing but woodgrain on the desktop.  (BTW, the #STEMPrincess2X campaign still runs through 10/15–pre-order your copies at a discount, because once the book is available, the price is going up.)

Also had the Career Game Changers article published this week over at Pharmacy Times.  It was fun to write.  And, spoke at the law school on pharmacy law.  (The lawyers ask tough questions.)

I remarked on instagram tonight that if my life had a flavor right now, it would taste like hard ginger beer.  If you’ve not had it, I would imagine that Pledge would be a similar taste.  (Please don’t actually try to compare the two.  That would be dangerous.)

Suffice it to say that the flavor of my life right now is: weird.

To bed for a very early round of plane rides…keep it all fabulous out there for me while I’m gone, fab 13…!


Monday, October 5th, 2015

I’ve been avoiding my blog this past week and weekend, because I don’t like to go negative.  But, I don’t need to sugar coat it with you, my fab 13–I feel like we can keep it real here.  So, rather than avoid writing here for another couple of weeks in order to cool off, I’ll just go ahead and share:

I had a sh*tty weekend.

But my cousin Linda had it far sh*ttier than me.

This weekend, I attended her funeral.  She was my first cousin who I had the honor of growing up with…and she died of cancer at age 46.

I’m still in shock that she’s gone, frankly, because her time from diagnosis to her death was lightening fast.  Scary fast. Less than a year fast. Blink of an eye fast.  She’s also the first of my generation in my family near my age to die.

On one hand, I’m devastated for her family, and I’m depressed she’s gone.  Her two boys will now grow up without a mom.  Which leads me to my second feeling…being pissed off.  I’m pissed off at cancer, for robbing her of the privilege of growing old.  I’m pissed at cancer for taking her away from her family.  And candidly, I’m pissed at healthcare, to some extent, for not yet having a cure and saving her and all the other people out there who have suffered and/or died from cancer.  There’s nothing pretty or pink about cancer.  It just sucks, period.

People ask me why I’m hellbent on a STEM book series for girls.  This, unfortunately is just another example as to why.  We need cures for cancer, so kids can grow up with their moms.  We need someone to figure out how to keep the ocean clean and invent methods for potable water in dry climates, so people have safe drinking water.  We need women to walk on Mars and discover other planets we could inhabit, so we have options as a planet and explore our final frontier. But, we’re never going to get there unless we inspire the next generations of women and men to learn and love STEM enough to fight currently incurable illnesses and solve seemingly unsolvable problems.

I joked that I wrote the STEM Princess series so some girl could invent a teleporter in the future.  But I’m not laughing anymore.  Now, I’m just pissed off and would prefer to channel that energy into helping a girl in STEM find the cure to cancer.  I know it can’t bring Linda back, but let’s prevent more Lindas of the future having to die of this horrible condition way way way WAY before their time…shall we?

Rant. Over.