Dr. Ila M. Saunders

Hematology/Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplant

Saunder's picture
Ila M. Saunders, Pharm.D., BCOP

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

(858) 822-6839
Research Summary

Dr. Saunders is a Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist working in the Blood & Marrow Transplant clinics 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

Education: 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) and re-certified (2016).

Awards and Honors: Received SSPPS Excellence in Teaching Award, (2021); Selected as Chair, HOPA BCOP Preparatory Course Task Force, (2020-2021); Received Society of Palliative Care Pharmacists: Renee Holder Literature Award, (2020); Received inaugural HOPA Volunteer Award, (2019)Selected as Vice-Chair, HOPA BCOP Preparatory Course Task Force, (2019-2020); Selected as Chair, HOPA BCOP Oversight Committee, (2019-2020); Selected as Vice-Chair, HOPA BCOP Oversight Committee, (2017-2018); Appointed to NCCN Guidelines Anti-Emesis Committee, (2018- present); Appointed to NCCN Chemotherapy Order Set Committee, 2018-present. 

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), 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 (2016-2017), Chair of the BCOP Conference Program Planning Committee as Chair (2017-2018), Vice-chair of the BCOP Oversight committee (2018-2019), Chair of the BCOP Oversight committee (2019-2020), Vice-chair of the BCOP Preparatory and Recertification course (2019-2020), member of the Nominations Subcommittee (2019-2020), and currently serves as Chair of the BCOP Preparatory and Recertification course .  Dr. Saunders is also a member of the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) Pharmacy Special Interest Group and has served on the Advocacy & Policy Working Committee as the chair (2015-2016). She also is an active member of the SWOG (Southwestern Oncology Group) Pharmaceutical Sciences Committee and Drug Information Subcommittee. Dr. Saunders also is a member of the NCCN Chemotherapy Order Templates and Anti-emesis committees.  Most recently, Dr. Saunders, along with nine other pharmacists from across the country, started PharmGradWishList, a mutual aid movement to support minoritized students as they matriculate into the profession. 

At SSPPS, Dr. Saunders has served on several committees, including the Committee on Educational Policy and the Co-curricular Task Force.  She currently is a member of the Pfizer/UCSD Pharmacology/Oncology Fellowship, Mirati Therapeutics/UCSD SSPPS Medical Affairs Fellowship, Faculty Wellness, and Admissions committees. She was the first oncology clinical pharmacist in the outpatient clinics at MCC in 2014 and has collaborated with cancer center and pharmacy leadership to expand oncology clinical pharmacy services at MCC. She also served the member of the Institutional Review Board- Oncology from 2014-2019 and is a guest member of the Oncology Pharmacy & Therapeutics subcommittee at MCC.

  • Co-Chair Therapeutics (SPPS 212C)
  • Co-Chair Introduction to Oncology elective (SPPS 288)
Key Contributions
  • Collaborated with MCC nursing colleagues to develop and implement a chemotherapy class for cancer patients at MCC.
  • Working closely with cancer center and pharmacy leadership to expand oncology clinical pharmacy services at MCC.
Selected Publications

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Potential Collaborative Programs
  • 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.