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Archive for December, 2017

Library Stack

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Tonight, I’m floating through my stack of library books, as many of them will be due soon. I’m reading Amanda Palmer’s book, The Art of Asking, and Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits.

Notes to self:

1. If I do happen to get a significant other again some day, try Neil’s trick on page 39 in Amanda’s book.

2. From High Performance Habits, name your 3 best words in a day to describe you in your best state:

1. Creative
2. Autonomous or Independent (tie)
3. Free.


2017 – Other Cool Stuff & People to Thank

Monday, December 11th, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-12-11 at 6.45.11 AMBeyond the blog posts, long posts, and Medium, there’s a lot of other really cool opportunities that came my way this year. In this post, I’d like to celebrate all the amazing people and companies below who invited me to collaborate, talk about my work and/or share knowledge this year:


The S(He) Says Guide to Mentoring (2017) with Dr. David Borst

-Single Women Entrepreneurs: 5 Years Later and #STEMPrincess4 in 2018 – God willing!

Pharmacy Times/Careers Columns:

Medical Affairs: A Growing Career Path

Midyear Managed

Continuing Your Formal Education After Your PharmD

The Future of Pharmacy: Working from Home

Top Certifications & Designations to Enhance Your Pharmacy Career


SXSW – mentoring in 2017 – thanks for this bucket list opportunity!

Wharton Reimagine Education Awards – judge – thank you for the chance to see what’s coming in education.

Book Interviews:

Zorich, G. Entrepreneurs in Pharmacy and Other Leaders. Outskirts Press, 2017.

Kratz, J. One: How Male Allies Support Women for Gender Equality. Niche Pressworks, 2017. 

Book Reviews:

Voci, E. Resilience Art: A Grief Coloring Book Using Ritual and Music to Help You Grow, Mascot Books, 2017. In Press.


Social Media Stupidity - Abdul Hakim-Shabazz - Indy Politics

HIMSS: Intrepid Healthcare Podcast – Joe Lavelle

Get Social Health – Janet Kennedy

Your Working Life – Caroline Dowd Higgins

Pharmacy Podcasts in 2017 - and wow. So many great guests to thank!


IBJ Woman of Influence 2017

The Corner of the Court

On the Dot Woman

Drug Topics: Dealing with Stress in the Pharmacy

Confronting Gender Parity

Do What You Desire

Inside Indiana Business – Segment on Health with Barbara Lewis – HBA

Original Event Content:

Inaugural Pharmacy Law & Ethics Educators’ Benchmarking Survey Results – ASPL (Journal write up coming soon in 2018)

Ethical Use of Big Data – IndyBigData and ASPL – with Valita Fredland

Manbassadors – HBA IN

#HealthCarDev – HBA IN

#PurpleSocks Awards – HBA IN

Op Eds:

The Somewhere Between 4-40 Hr Work Week – Inside Indiana Business

Hitting the Half Year Reset Button in 5 Steps – Inside Indiana Business

6 Practical & Positive Post Conference Practices – Inside Indiana Business

8 Great Places to Connect in Indiana Healthcare, HIT and STEM – IIB/Biocrossroads Life Sciences Quarterly

Free Tools that (Almost) Get You in Two Places at Once – Inside Indiana Business

Thank you one and all for an amazing year, riddled with a ton of really amazing opportunities – I am grateful!

Top 5 Posts of 2017 –

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-12-10 at 7.41.58 AMApparently, I have a few more than 13 fans. Or, just 13 fans all over the world hitting the site more than once.

According to Google Analytics of this site (which has changed significantly, and which I’m not really digging on the changes, but that’s a post for another day), I had visitors in 2017 to this tiny blog from all 50 states, and a few places OUS.

Awesome. Thanks!

And, I love the film High Fidelity, and I grew up on stuff like Billboard and David Letterman, so a solid top 5/10 list I. Dig. I did one over at LinkedIn on my long posts there for 2017 (some of which overlap here, some of which do not.) And, pharmacy podcast network was kind enough to put out their top 10 list of 2017, of which many of my co-hosted episodes took prizes in the top 10.  (Thanks there to Dr. Soliman of ACMA, Dr. Safran of InfoSAGE, Jacob Morgan, and the option of interviewing myself on the episodes that made it into the top spots.) I always knew I had a face for radio! And, I ran the #best9 on my instagram channel: photo is here. There are several people to thank around projects and the photos that garnered many likes. I am thankful for you all!

Last but not least, I wanted to check and see what posts resonated with you, my fab 13, at this tiny blog during 2017. Below are the best, again according to Google.

5. How to be a Podcast Guest Superstar – Glad some found this helpful. If you really want to be a rock star guest on podcasts, make it EASY for the host to schedule and work with you. I can definitely see a difference between the professionals who understand and ‘get’ how podcasting really works as guests, and those who are novices. Hopefully this post helped with a few podcasting guest virgins out there!

4. HIMSS 2017: You’re Doing it Right – I really tried hard to bring along the fab 13 with me this year to all the meetings I attended. And, being a HIMSS virgin, I wanted to share this absolutely OVERWHELMING convention with the masses. I really enjoyed learning from the HIT crew, meeting some rock stars for the first time f2f (like @Mandibpro and @Nickisnpdx). I think organizers of HIMSS did a phenomenal job with their social media ambassador crew – all event conference and meeting planners should take a cue from them to maximize their impact online! With the #STEMPrincess saga continuing in 2018, I’m super glad I know more homies in informatics/big data too – I’ll be back!

3. What color is your side hustle? 2018 Edition – This was a post over at LI too. I’m glad you’re all reading up on this, as I continue to study it. Forty percent of us are going to be working for ourselves in just 2 short years from now, according to all the stats, so are we preparing for this coming radical change? YOU are, because you’re smart like that. And, in 2018, SWE3 is coming – and several of the gals in this book are still side-hustling it!

2. SXSW recap - 2017 was the year I FINALLY got to SXSW to speak. This was epic, because this event was a bucket list must do item before I die kind of thing. I’m so appreciative to the organizers in Austin for this opportunity. And, I wanted to share what I learned at the meeting – so I podcasted about it. I’m glad you all went on this journey with me! Best bit: I’ve been invited to return to SXSW 18 – so I’ll be back!

1. Hitting the Half Year Reset Button – This one did really well over at LinkedIn too, since they picked it up and broadcasted it wider. As I read it, I realize that it’s great to try twice a year, quarterly, or even monthly if you’re super ambitious. I already subconsciously did it on one item for the new year that has been bubbling in the back of my brain for years now, and the more I think about the idea, the more I like it, so I’m taking the next step on it.

As always, I am totally floored and amazed when people say that they read this tiny blog. It’s kind of cool, however, because it’s like they dig into my brain and reach some of the better stuff. THANK YOU for stopping by in 2017 or in years past, and let’s all make it a point to completely OWN 2018 with our own voices, ideas, and posts/blogs/books. Cheers!

Pharmacy Schools: It’s Time for an Extreme Makeover. But How?

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

pharmacyFriends, Romans, Pharmacykind: Lend me your ears. For I am about to get on my soapbox and pontificate about…pharmacy schools. (That, and I’m avoiding editing galley 1 of my next book tonight. Writing for me always trumps editing.)

So…pharmacy schools these days. A lot of conversations about them and what they teach of late, I have had (not to get too Yoda). And now that I’m on the outside of them and only educating as a preceptor, I think it’s time to drop what I think we should consider for schools of pharmacy. The following are my opinions and mine alone, but I don’t think I’m alone in a lot of what I’m about to say; it’s just that others in pharmacy may not be as opinionated as I am, or as overt about it. But, I’m going out on my own with these ideas. Here we go.

I think it’s time for an extreme makeover of pharmacy schools.

What do I mean by this? Well, I’ll outline below 5 areas that I think need attention IMMEDIATELY in US schools of pharmacy.

1. Department re-orgs — Today, as it has been for I don’t know how many decades, most schools of pharmacy have only two departments: 1. pharmacy (clinical) practice and 2. pharmaceutical sciences. That’s it. (Okay, some may have a social and administrative sciences department too, but very few.)

This is not only an overly simplistic view of pharmacy as a profession, but it’s borderline malpractice in pharmacy, because pharmacists do so much morethese days than these 2 slivers of pharmacy. And while I’ve personally had a variety of pharmacy gigs over my career thus far, I never refluxed ANYTHING after organic chemistry, and I personally don’t work daily with patients one on one in clinical pharmacy any more.

Ergo, I believe we need more than these 2 departments in schools of pharmacy. We need departments in:

1. big data/analytics/informatics/statistics,

2. managed care, law, policy, ethics and advocacy,

3. entrepreneurship, business, and leadership and

4. gene therapies and genetic counseling.

The faculty to lead these departments may or may not be pharmacists as well.

If you think I’m wrong, go look at a few pharmacist job descriptions over at Glassdoor or here at LinkedIn. What do you see? You’ll see that employers need pharmacists that can play with big data sets and pull out meaningful data. They need pharmacists who don’t break the law (i.e. pharmacists that know and understand the law). They need pharmacists who are creative, innovative and lead. They need pharmacists who can lead teams and collaborate. I can’t remember the last time I saw a job posting for a pharmacist that asked them to be able to draw a chemical structure of a drug. Wait, that’s been…never. I seriously doubt Jeff Bezos wants pharmacists who can recite the gold guidelines either. He needs dreamers, thinkers and doers.

Also, with this re-org I would also say that I think smart schools of pharmacy have co-deans of the program. One co-dean could focus on the internal college issues (like new programs, the vision for the college internally, working across colleges), and one co-dean could focus on external college issues (fundraising, working with external stakeholders, community building off campus and extending it, etc.). A good sole dean would never be home, because she would be on campus during the day, and off campus at the same time integrating the school into the community. There is no way one person can manage everything a dean has to do. And even though there should be an associate dean — that associate dean should be focused on academic issues within the college, not setting up new programs, or attending a bunch of cross college campus meetings — that’s the co-deans’ jobs.

2. If the departments change, so must the curriculum — Therapeutics and pharmacology consume most of the classroom time in schools of pharmacy. Courses like pharmacy law are crammed in a 1–3 credit hour class one semester, and treated like a red-headed stepchild of the curricula in schools of pharmacy. However, pharmacy law should be a very large chunk of the curriculum, because NO ONE WILL CARE HOW MUCH YOU KNOW ABOUT PHARMACY if you don’t have a pharmacist license and are in jail, because you violated the law. Let alone the new MPJE being a really tough test. (I know, because I took it recently.) TAs and Pharmacists alone should not be teaching pharmacy law, in my opinion. The law has become far too complex. Also, advocacy and policy are barely touched upon in pharmacy schools. And yet, they are absolutely critical to the profession surviving and thriving in years to come. Regulation and laws are made by LAWYERS, not pharmacists or healthcare professionals. If you can’t talk to your lawmakers about what you do in pharmacy, you’re going to be at their mercy.

Similarly, the therapeutics and pharmacology should be cut back and more emphasis should be placed on data and digging through it. Look at hospital EMRs as just one example. Or, big data sets for public and population health. A pharmacist counseling one patient may have an impact, but a pharmacist spotting a trend through a large data set can positively impact an entire community. Very few pharmacy schools are teaching how to look at big data, by learning SQL or R, for example. Also, big data analysts will be future leaders, because they can better study population trends, understand the data, and make meaning and impact again.

Same deal with the other categories/departments above. We used to be entirely entrepreneurial as a profession, and we’ve gotten away from that. It’s time to bring that back! There are new gene therapies coming out each and every day that may cure diseases. However, they are expensive. Also, in the era of genetic mapping, we are just on the cusp of understanding what someone’s personal genotyping means. Do and can pharmacists share appropriate therapies with patients? Absolutely! IF they are trained.

3. Apprenticeships — While some may argue that we have residencies and fellowships to cover this, along with APPE and IPPE, I’m not so sure we’ve got that right in pharmacy schools, either. Since there aren’t enough residencies and fellowships, maybe it is time to consider a first or second year pharmacist out of school under an apprenticeship instead? IPPE is a bit of a waste, because students are too green, but is APPE long enough? I don’t know the answer to this. What I do know is that this is a profession in which you learn by doing, not just studying textbooks in a classroom. I do know that on APPE we also focus way too much on pharmacy instead of the BUSINESS of pharmacy.

4. More project based learning — So much of pharmacy school is: memorize a bunch of stuff, then take a test. That’s again 20th century learning and mindset instead of preparing students for the 21st century. Now, employers want employees who can see problems, turn them into opportunities and create something from nothing into value-added service and/or products. This means hands on, project-based, problem-based learning. And not just one on one with patients. We need to think bigger. So, can we all ditch all these standardized tests and instead start giving students projects and problems that the real world and bosses try to manage every day? What can pharmacists do to solve environmental challenges? Emergencies? Public health issues? Education of the masses? More Shark Tank, less test-taking. More writing and speaking, less test taking. More assignments on finding better answers, rather than THE BEST answer…for the test.

Here’s just one example — getting students to write and publish books on public health topics in schools of pharmacy. We did that with students at the school of pharmacy in which I taught. I’ve been gone for well over a year now, but just yesterday, a contact in the city posted this live from her kids’ doctor’s office — a book that our students produced:

While I certainly cannot take credit for writing the book, my interprofessional colleagues and I did guide the students during this project. Keyword: PROJECT.

5. All faculty should be practicing — Not just pharmacy practice, or clinical practice. But all professors should be out in the real world practicing. If you’re in pharm sci, that means you’re in a lab making something at least part time. If you’re in pharm practice, you should be out in practice (and NOT just in clinical practice.) If you’re in any of my new departments above — you should be practicing in those areas too. While I’m sure there are some career academicians out there who think that full time faculty on campus should only be focused on teaching and publishing in some journal with a high impact factor, they need to be practicing in the real world too–otherwise, how can you see the issues coming, teach to the issues, and the change within the profession? I think many of the outdated dusty structures and curricula were also put in place by faculty who have taught in an institution for 30 years without working in the real world for decades. Also, I think tenure needs to die as well, because of this bullet — everyone needs to keep their hands in the practice and not in the ivory tower alone. No one should rest on her laurels just because she has tenure. We all must stay hungry and a bit foolish if we’re truly going to be innovative.

There. These again are my opinions and mine alone. But, I do not believe that pharmacy schools are adapting to changes fast enough. Change is coming, whether or not we choose to adapt to it. We must fix this, or we are doomed as a profession.

II. Okay — How?

Let’s say your in on change. Great! Next question: HOW do we start an extreme makeover? How might we begin a radical change in pharmacy practice to accommodate the future of practice and a better fit for pharmacists in the healthcare and wellness systems? How do we get started?

OK, game on. I can articulate how I’d go about it. There are many ways to do it, but here’s where I’d begin:

  1. Start with workforce/economic development departments in your state — If your state governor/legislature has brains in their heads, they already have a workforce and economic development office or two that is focused on these topics for your respective state. They probably also have an office that supports entrepreneurship. Go talk to them. Find out what the gaps and disconnects are between employers and employees. And DO NOT solely focus on healthcare. Ask about wider trends in your state. For example, is your state growing in retirees? Is it growing with Gen Y? Are people moving in or out? Are there odd or high rates of a certain type of disease in a state? Does the state struggle with opioid abuse, or tobacco, or obesity? Who are the top 50 employers in your state, and how or do they play in healthcare /wellness or any industries that support healthcare/wellness? Next…
  2. Connect with the largest employers in your state — Again, kick the pharmacy box to the curb and just go talk to the largest employers in the state. What are their problems? Challenges? What gaps do they have? Trust me, they’ll be really clear really quickly about what problems they are having in terms of their workforce (or lack thereof). If your state doesn’t have a lot of tangential healthcare and/or wellness orgs, join economic clubs, chambers of commerce, social organizations and any types of B2B entrepreneurial orgs in town and begin connecting. Have more conversations. You’ll quickly begin to hear trends, challenges, and how healthcare and/or wellness fits into your local scene. If you’re lucky to have your college or program on a border — talk to BOTH state leaders.
  3. Ask your largest employers about their top or hardest jobs to fill — What skills do they want, and what skills are rare? Ask them. They know. And there’s a camp of academicians out there who believe that employers don’t know what they need. I emphatically disagree with this — employers DO know what they need. What’s usually missing are the qualified candidates with the skills. Go beyond pharmacy too. The farther, the better. (And why it’s important to go further: because we all need to be healthy and have healthcare and wellness. It affects all of us — so there is the GOOD NEWS when it comes to healthcare for pharmacy = lots of opportunity!)
  4. Connect with your entrepreneurs — Just like the states, there are a lot of organizations out there where entrepreneurs hang out together. Orgs like NAWBO for women business owners, chambers, etc. These are the places to go to find entrepreneurs. Even look at co-working spaces — they’re everywhere now, and full to the brim with entrepreneurs who’d welcome help with their small businesses and bright eager talent.
  5. Start small on campus — Once you ID your entrepreneurs, pharmacists doing odd jobs (odd = good here), and employers with huge gaps and needs, start bringing them on campus. Guest lectures are a great way to start. Project based learning needs? Give the students an assignment of interviewing these employers instead, and they can find and unearth their OWN opportunities through assignments. Get students OFF campus. Bring someone in for a CE program. Start an optional seminar series, or even an optional IPPE or APPE rotation. You don’t have to reinvent the curriculum overnight — you can make tiny changes with low stakes to bring out your best and brightest. They will come. They will attend and participate.
  6. Talk to your alumni development office — I’ve never understood why most alumni development offices lock up their alumni database and throw away the key, but leaders in colleges should make a concerted effort to stay engaged with alumni of their pharmacy programs over the long haul. What are THEY doing uniquely with their careers? Any entrepreneurs out there? If so, bring them back to campus — many would love the opportunity to discuss their careers. They’re a captive audience!
  7. Own something — There are 150 schools of pharmacy now. Please — own SOMETHING. Rutgers seems to have the corner on pharmacists going into industry or a fellowship after graduation. Keck purports to be connected to bioscience. (I don’t know the program that well, this is just perception I see in the marketplace.) The point is: each school should OWN some aspect of pharmacy. Be the school that creates pharmacists who are into informatics. Or big data analysis. Or genomics. Or systems thinking. Or leadership. Or entrepreneurship. Be the Babson of pharmacy! Just PICK SOMETHING. It’s not enough to just be a good pharmacy program anymore with high pass rates. Own something and stand out from the herd! Again, this doesn’t require a radical overhaul of the entire curriculum. Start a summer institute for pharmacy student leaders or high school students in _____(insert area of expertise that you want to own here)____. Get started. Create a niche. Ask your faculty about their passions and create something from their passions.

There. Seven ways to get started. And you don’t have to re-invent everything overnight. Tiny steps here can lead to big positive changes. Most of all, you’ll be exposing your best and brightest students to the tiny experiments that you can set up in low stakes, optional coursework. If something flops, so what? Move on and try something else. Keep talking to the employers and the leaders in your state and stay ahead of the trends. This is what deans SHOULD be doing in schools of pharmacy.

Last, if you’re a parent or a potential student of pharmacy — ask about what the school is doing with economic/workforce and entrepreneurial development when you’re visiting programs. See what they do with the community beyond the campus bubble. See if the leaders in a program know who the largest employers are in a state (and not just the largest PHARMACY employers either). If they don’t know — again, run. This is not the future-focused program for you.


A Clean 2018: 1 Tool to Create Your Best New Year

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

This past week, I spent time in New York City with one of my favorite entrepreneurial authors, Dorie Clark. We had a mastermind group for clarifying what we want to do in 2018. The timing of this mastermind was spot on, as I’m also thinking about how to maximize my 2018 right now.

Screen Shot 2017-12-02 at 8.56.19 AM

Also, in the past, I’ve sent out similar holiday cards to my network and friends to help inspire them to write and think about their own new year coming. While some people really trash New Year’s Resolutions and goals, I am in the opposite camp. If you can’t dream, visualize and articulate your best year beforehand, how will you ever arrive? As a coach, I’m a fan of getting people to write down and visualize their goals as well, because as I’ve shared before, the universe has a funny way of fetching what we want and need when we hang the intentions and desires out there on the hook of life.

While I only had a couple hundred physical postcards made up this year for my holiday card list, I really ideally wanted to share my holiday card with everyone in my network, which fortunately or unfortunately is too big now to send to all.

But, thanks to digital and the internet, here is part of my holiday card, which is a tool that I hope will help you think about your own new year, and in turn create a best case scene for you and your circles moving forward.

It’s down below visually for you, and I’ll also put it on Slideshare over here so you can download it too.

Screen Shot 2017-12-02 at 8.34.55 AM

I wish each and everyone reading this post a very merry holiday season, and happy new year. Let’s get out the cleaners, scrub up on our visions of what we love and want more of in our lives, help the universe clearly see what we want for the new year, and make our best 2018 squeaky clean!