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Dr. Ila M. Saunders

Hematology/Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplant

Ila M. Saunders

Ila M. Saunders, Pharm.D., BCOP

Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


(858) 822-6839

Research Summary: Hematology/Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplant

Dr. Saunders is a Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist working in Thoracic/Head & Neck medical oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplant at Moores Cancer Center (MCC). Prior to joining the faculty at SSPPS in August 2014, Dr. Saunders was a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) and practiced in the department of Stem Cell Transplant and Cellular Therapy (SCTCT) for 6 years.

Academic Achievements


B.S. in Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles (2001); Pharm.D., University of California, San Francisco (2006); PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency, University of California, San Francisco (2006-2007); PGY2 Oncology Pharmacy Practice Residency, MD Anderson Cancer Center (2007- 2008); Board Certified in Oncology Pharmacy (2009). 

Awards and Honors:

Phi Lambda Sigma Leadership Society, Beta Beta chapter. 

Leadership Experience:

Dr. Saunders is an active member of the Hematology Oncology Pharmacists Association (HOPA) and has served as a member of the Session Proposal Task Force (2011-2014), Research Abstract Review Work Group (2014-2015), and currently serves on the BCOP Conference Program Planning Committee as Chair. She also serves as the Vice-chair of the Entry-level Competencies in Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Practice for Graduates of the Doctor of Pharmacy Degree and Post-Graduate Year 1 Pharmacy Practice Residency Task Force for HOPA. Dr. Saunders is also a member of the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) Pharmacy Special Interest Group and serves on the Advocacy & Policy Working Committee as the current immediate-past chair (2017-present). She also is an active member of the SWOG (Southwestern Oncology Group) Pharmaceutical Sciences Committee and the Drug Information Subcommittee.

At SSPPS, Dr. Saunders serves on several committees, including the Committee on Educational Policy, the Co-curricular task force, and the Pfizer/UCSD Pharmacology/Oncology Fellowship committee. She is the first oncology clinical pharmacist in the outpatient clinics at MCC and has collaborated with cancer center and pharmacy leadership to expand oncology clinical pharmacy services at MCC. She also serves as a member of the Institutional Review Board- Oncology and is a member of the Oncology Pharmacy & Therapeutics subcommittee at MCC.


  • Co-Chair Therapeutics (SPPS 212C)
  • Co-Chair Introduction to Oncology elective (SPPS 288)

Key Contributions to Clinical Pharmacy

  • Collaborated with MCC nursing colleagues to develop and implement a chemotherapy class for cancer patients at MCC.
  • Collaborated with anoncology pharmacy colleague, to develop a succinct toxicity checklist that utilizes the EPIC EMR to help providers effectively and efficiently assess a patient receiving immunotherapy for immune-mediated toxicities over the course of treatment.
  • Working closely with cancer center and pharmacy leadership to expand oncology clinical pharmacy services at MCC.

Selected Recent Publications (view more)

Potential Collaborative Programs with the Pharmaceutical Industry

  • Developing service interventions that will improve clinical outcomes for patients with cancer.
  • Developing clinical practices that will improve appropriate medication prescribing and medication adherence for patients with cancer.