Meet Our Alumni

See what some of our alumni have been doing since graduating from Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Class of 2006
Joe Ennesser

Joe Ennesser

Hometown?

Portland, OR

Favorite television show?

Wonders of the Universe (a BBC series), every time I watch it I get inspired.

Dream vacation destination?

Iceland – desolate, serene, beautiful. At summer solstice would be ideal!

Food you can’t live without?

Technically, water. Personally, pizza!

Hobbies?

 Ha ha, I have too many!  Running, cycling, exploring, and landscape photography. You can see some of my photos on my website www.breakinglightphoto.com

Current position/title and location?

Sr. Healthcare Market Leader with Target. Based in Portland, OR

What do you do? What is your role and responsibilities?

I oversee healthcare operations for 200 Target pharmacies across 11 states. I am responsible for long term goal planning, new program rollouts, maintaining federal/state compliance, ensuring accountability, and talent planning and meeting company financial/operational goals.

Did you do a residency? If so, which one(s)?

No

Why did you choose a career in Pharmacy?

Originally it was to help people to be healthy and have an impact on their lives along with a career that offers flexibility to live just about anywhere in the country. Now what motivates me is inspiring other pharmacists achieve their best and helping them to learn and grow as leaders.

How has SSPPS prepared you for your career?

Aside from a top notch education, it definitely taught us to be resilient. Being part of the first class meant being part of the learning and growing that comes with a new program. We also had some of the most passionate and personally invested faculty/teachers I’ve ever met. They truly inspired me to be my best and still do to this day. I’m very thankful to have been part of this school.

What is your fondest memory of your time in school?

Being spread across all of the UCSD campus to get to all of our classes before the pharmacy building was built. Whether it was the super computer center or a mobile trailer, it was fun exploring campus and even finding some of the tunnels under it!

Words of Wisdom?

Whatever you choose to do, be engaged and passionate. Build energy and momentum around yourself. Whatever your dream is, find a way to make it happen. Most important, have fun!

Class of 2007

Lawrence AlejandroLawrence Alejandro

Hometown?

San Diego, California

How do you spend your free time?

I usually spend my free time taking my daughter to different fun and exciting places such as parks, museums, zoo etc… I also like to binge-watch exciting shows on Netflix with my wife, and usually you can find me doing Crossfit the rest of the time.

What is your favorite movie or television show?

So my top show of all time would have to be “Breaking Bad”, but currently I love watching “Fixer Upper” with my wife, always thinking about projects that we can do for our home.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

I would love to go back to Paris with my family and spend a year there to be immersed in their food, arts and culture.

If you won the lottery, what would you do?

Live in different places around the world.

Current position and location:

Clinical Pediatric Pharmacist at Rady Children’s Hospital; Solid Organ Transplant Pharmacist and Beacon Oncology Pharmacist

Did you do a residency? If so, which one(s)?

Yes at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego

Why did you choose a career in Pharmacy?

I love the different career paths that are available for a pharmacist to pursue.

How has SSPPS prepared you for your career?

SSPPS gave me the knowledge and training to handle patient’s complex medication regimens, while coming up with innovative pharmacotherapy solutions to challenging clinical presentations. Also when I was a student there was only a handful of clinical transplant pharmacist from SPPS, I believe that the school inspired and encourage me to embrace and excel in what was a relatively “new” area for pharmacist.

What is your fondest memory of your time in school?

The times that I spent with my friends in and out of the classroom.

Words of Wisdom?

Find an area in pharmacy you love, so that it never feels like a job.

Class of 2008

Amy NguyenAmy Nguyen

Hometown?

Moore, Oklahoma

Favorite movies?

Pulp Fiction, The Princess Bride

Dream vacation destination?

Maldives (one day, I'll make it)

Food you can’t live without?

Vietnamese soups... there are about 12 different ones including phở that I could eat on constant rotation every day of my life for the rest of my life.

Hobbies?

International travel (one new country per year is my goal!), playing tennis, cooking, eating, eating, and eating.

Current position/title and location?

Full time: Profil Institute for Clinical Research: Clinical Pharmacist, Pharmaceutical Services Supervisor
Per Diem: UCSD Moores Cancer Center: Oncology Pharmacist

What do you do? What is your role and responsibilities?

Profil Institute: I am a clinical pharmacist and supervisor of our Pharmaceutical Services team at Profil Institute for Clinical Research. My company specializes in clinical trials for diabetes and obesity. Some of my roles include overseeing active clinical trials and ensuring that the protocol and study design remains intact. Myself and the head of Pharmaceutical Services manage our team of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to ensure that work flow is optimal and conducive to patient safety, data integrity, and efficiency. My responsibilities also include attending site investigator meetings, and reading over new protocols, and study designs for upcoming studies in our pipeline. I attend many meetings in regard to pipeline studies to ensure that the study designs transcend into real-life clinical settings. In addition, I write SOP guidelines for our group as well as hold meetings to train multi-functional groups within the company on the pharmacology of our study drugs.

UCSD Moores: I work part-time at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center as an oncology pharmacist. I specialized in oncology for 4 years in Manhattan hospitals/clinics after the completion of my residency program in 2009, so oncology has been my career passion. I am thankful that even though I switched full-time to diabetes and obesity research, I am still able to work in direct patient care in the therapeutic area of oncology at Moores. It is a treat for me to come in and work with such a great group of pharmacists in a very motivating environment. Plus, have you been to Moores? It's such a beautiful clinic.

Did you do a residency? If so, which one(s)?

After graduating in 2008 from Skaggs, I moved across the country to New York City for my PGY-1 residency, specializing in Ambulatory Care at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center- Manhattan Campus. I ended up living in Manhattan for 5 years before recently moving back to San Diego September 2013. I can't believe nearly a year has passed since I've moved back here!

Why did you choose a career in Pharmacy?

I spent the last semester of undergrad studying at the University of Sydney; then I backpacked through Australia, SE Asia, and Western Europe by myself for nearly a year after the semester ended. When I returned home to Oklahoma, with tan skin and very long hair...my mother snapped me back into reality and said, "You've had a lot of fun for a year...what are you going to do with your life?" I panicked when I didn't have an answer for her, so I moved from Oklahoma to San Diego 3 months later. From there, I waited tables in downtown La Jolla and did a lot of deep thinking on whether I wanted to commit additional years to my education. After speaking to my sister and brother, who were already pharmacists at the time, I decided that it would be the best field for me to invest my career plans into. They both were working in entirely different settings and both very happy professionally. It was enticing to me that they both had the same degrees (PharmD), yet they were working in very diverse environments. My parents were thrilled when I informed them of my decision. They were pretty worried that I would turn into a wandering nomad.

How has SSPPS prepared you for your career?

SSPPS prepared me for my career by emphasizing the importance of clinical knowledge and professionalism. Our reputation of work ethic and clinical knowledge really transcends across the country. And I speak from experience!

What is your fondest memory of your time in school?

One of my many fond memories of SSPPS was the continual and consistent feeling of comradery and intimacy felt between classmates and faculty due to our small class size of 30. Having a small class size enabled us to get to know the personalities of each of our classmates and develop lasting friendships with them. I went to the University of Oklahoma for my bachelor's degree, and every course I took had at least 150 students in the classroom. SSPPS was the first academic environment that I had ever experienced where we had such personal attention/constant availability from our faculty. I really appreciate this unique experience and how each of us were genuinely cared for by our faculty/mentors. Even now, 6 years after graduation, I still feel looked after by everyone at SSPPS!

Words of Wisdom?

There's no right or wrong professional decision, as pharmacy is such a dynamic field with endless opportunities! Make decisions that feel right or that is best for you at the moment, and it will undoubtedly lead you into new paths, beneficial challenges, and optimal growth. It sounds cheesy, but it's so true. I'm serious :)

Class of 2010

Rachel SperlingRachel Sperling

Hometown?

San Diego

Favorite movie or television show?

My favorite movies are Spaceballs and The Princess Bride.

Dream vacation destination?

I went to New Zealand earlier this year, and I'm vacationed out for a while! I do want to see the aurora borealis (or australis) someday, though.

Food you can’t live without?

Chocolate!

Hobbies?

Reading, hiking, spending time with friends and family

Current position/title and location?

MTM Pharmacist with the Sharp Community Medical Group

What do you do? What is your role and responsibilities?

We conduct complete medication reviews for patients with complicated medication regimens and make recommendations to their physicians. We also help to cover the Coumadin clinic.

Did you do a residency? If so, which one(s)?

PGY1 Community Residency at USC

Why did you choose a career in Pharmacy?

When I looked into pharmacy as a career, it just clicked for me! I've always been interested in biology and chemistry, and I like working with people. I took a year off after undergrad and worked as a pharmacy clerk, and I knew very quickly that it was the right choice for me.

How has SSPPS prepared you for your career?

By giving me a solid knowledge base, a framework for learning, and a wonderful network of friends and mentors.

What is your fondest memory of your time in school?

I have to pick just one??

Words of Wisdom?

Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone - you may find where you are meant to be!

Class of 2011

Kayvan MoussaviKayvan Moussavi

Hometown?

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Favorite movie or television show?

Movie- Hot Fuzz. Show- True Detective

Dream vacation destination?

Whistler Blackcomb, BC, Canada

Food you can’t live without?

Cereal

Hobbies?

Soccer, snowboarding, traveling

Current position/title and location?

Clinical Pharmacy Specialist- Emergency Department

Loma Linda University Medical Center

What do you do?

Emergency Department Pharmacist

What is your role and responsibilities?

Approve all medication orders for adult and pediatric patients in our Emergency Department (ED), answer drug information questions for physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, social workers, and any other ED staff, provide medication-related recommendations to physicians to help ensure optimum care of patients, design and complete quality improvement projects for the ED and medical center, and precept pharmacy students and residents. 

Did you do a residency? If so, which one(s)?

PGY1- Acute Care Residency at UCSD Health System

PGY2- Critical Care Residency at Loma Linda University Medical Center

Why did you choose a career in Pharmacy?

I always had an interest in medicine and healthcare. My research into what healthcare-related careers would be best for me showed that pharmacy would allow me to focus on one of the most interesting aspects of medicine (i.e. pharmaceutical care) and provide an essential skillset and knowledge base to the healthcare system while still having time for family, friends, and social activities.

How has SSPPS prepared you for your career?

My time at SSPPS was a challenging but extremely rewarding experience. The curriculum was excellent and I had many opportunities to develop my leadership skills. This prepared me for residency and life as a clinical practitioner.

What is your fondest memory of your time in school?

Too many fond memories to list. What I miss most is being able to see my pharmacy school friends on a regular basis like I did while I was a student.

Words of Wisdom?

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

 


Tim BassellTim Bassell

Hometown?

West Nyack, NY

Favorite movie or television show?

The Princess Bride

Dream vacation destination?

New Zealand

Food you can’t live without?

Cereal

Hobbies?

Running

Current position/title and location?

Staff pharmacist, UCSD Medical Center, Hillcrest

What do you do?

Staff pharmacist, overnight shift

Did you do a residency? If so, which one(s)?

PGY1 UCSF

Why did you choose a career in Pharmacy?

Because it's the coolest!

How has SSPPS prepared you for your career?

By building a solid foundation in health sciences that has allowed me to continue my own education in a variety of sometimes unexpected circumstances.

What is your fondest memory of your time in school?

Learning the Thriller dance

Words of Wisdom?

Do your best!

Class of 2012

Andrew WahlertAndrew Wahlert

Hometown?

Laguna Niguel, California

Favorite television show?

24

Dream vacation destination?

Italy

Food you can’t live without?

Mexican

Hobbies?

Traveling the world, avid golfer and basketball player, beach and water sports

Current position/title and location?

Associate Manager, Medical Information at Avanir Pharmaceuticals located in Aliso Viejo, CA.

What do you do? What is your role and responsibilities?

In the Medical Affairs Department, I am responsible for creating, maintaining and communicating fair and balanced medical information to the medical community in accordance with the regulatory (FDA) guidelines. In addition, I am fortunate to precept and teach 4th year pharmacy students during their Industry Elective APPE rotation.

Did you do a residency or fellowship? If so, which one(s)?

Following my graduation from UCSD SSPPS, I completed a one-year USC-Allergan Post-doctoral Pharmaceutical Industry Fellowship in Clinical Development. I participated in clinical trial design and strategy for Phase II/III trials in the retina therapeutic area.

How has SSPPS prepared you for your career?

The resources that are available at UCSD SSPPS are truly remarkable. In addition to the wonderful pharmacy education I received, there were many other ways to compliment my didactic education including health fairs and research. While earning my PharmD, I was awarded a NIH/NIDA Research Training Grant in Neuroscience Related to Drug Abuse. I worked with top researchers in Alzheimer’s disease and Pain under this training grant; the research resulted in a first-authored peer-reviewed publication in a scientific journal. The educational blend of clinical pharmacy, community service and research has definitely prepared me for my current and future job positions.

What is your fondest memory of your time in school?

The fondest memory from school is interacting with my classmates and future professional peers.

Words of Wisdom?

UCSD SSPPS is an exceptional place to foster and develop the foundation of your pharmacy career. The school is forward-thinking, flexible and supportive of any direction you want to take your pharmacy career; take advantage of all the resources at UCSD SSPPS.


Traci Hennessy

Hometown? Clovis, California (mostly). My dad was in the military so we moved around a lot when I was younger. 

How do you spend your free time? What's free time? Just kidding, but with 2 young kids, it can be hard to come by! Pre-COVID, I would meet up with friends for dinner/drinks or get a massage/pedicure. Chicago has SO many great restaurants and bars - you could eat out at a different restaurant every night (assuming you have unlimited funds) for probably 3 years in a row. 

What is your favorite movie or television show? My favorite movie is Tommy Boy. This was the question asked for the essay portion of SSPPS's interview and I wrote about why Tommy Boy is one of the greatest movies of all time. For television shows, I have lots of favorites, including: The Office, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, and After Life.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why? I would like to travel to Ireland and Western Germany to specific regions where my 23andMe Ancestry Profile shows I'm from. 

If you won the lottery, what would you do? To be honest, I have no idea - I'd contact a financial planner right away. I would donate a portion of the winnings to charity using a site like GiveWell.org to guide me as to where the money would have the most impact. 

Current position and location: Clinical Coordinator of the Meds2Beds program at the University of Chicago Medicine (UCM). 

What do you do? What is your role and responsibilities? I coordinate the daily activities of the hospital's discharge medication delivery service. Along with the other pharmacists on my team, we perform discharge medication reconciliations to make sure the patient goes home on the right medication with the right dose/route/frequency/timing. We review the inpatient notes and labs, screen for any potential drug-drug/drug-disease state interactions, make therapeutic interchanges based on the patient's pharmacy insurance, work with social work and case management to address medication affordability, and counsel patients on the medications we deliver to bedside. 

Did you do a residency? Yes, I completed my PGY1 at UCM. It was an acute care focused residency with the opportunity to experience 24-hour in-house on-call shifts. 

Why did you choose a career in Pharmacy? A career in Pharmacy was a secondary goal for me. I loved organic and biochemistry in college (I majored in Pharmacology at UCSB) and was fascinated by the fact that a molecule could be ingested and change what was happening in someone's body. My primary goal was seeking out an education where I could become an expert in how these molecules affect our bodies and all the minute details involved in that process. What I discovered in pharmacy school was that I also loved learning about what our body does to the molecule and the downstream effects of that process as well. 

How has SSPPS prepared you for your career? SSPPS has prepared me by focusing their curriculum in hard science (pharmacology/pharmacokinetics/therapeutics), teaching me critical thinking skills, and challenging me to think beyond the status quo and outside-of-the box. SSPPS also taught me that diversity matters - when you have a bunch of people from different backgrounds and cultures coming together to solve problems, the solutions end up being more creative and inclusive.  

What is your fondest memory of your time in school? There are too many. Winning the CSHP Clinical Skills competition and getting to go to Midyear in New Orleans for free, performing the 'Thriller' dance on stage at an event with other Kappa Psi brothers, going downtown to different restaurants/bars with students from the School of Medicine (we'd usually have to rent a party bus), running my first 5K during the PhunRun, competing with the other classes during the end-of-the-year competition at La Jolla Shores, dressing up for Halloween with my roommates, etc. I could go on forever. 

What have you been doing since graduation? I stayed at UCM after completing my PGY1 and since then I've worked in inpatient pharmacy operations (central dose, IV room, chemo, and OR's), ambulatory care clinic seeing patients (warfarin management under protocol), and most recently, helped start our Meds2Beds program in 2017. 

Any words of wisdom for a new graduate or a current student? Almost all drug information questions you are asked in the future can be fully or partially answered by understanding the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of the drug and relating that information to the patient in question. You don't have to know everything, but you do have to know where to go to look something up and how to apply that information to a real patient case. In addition, you can make the world's best medication recommendation, but it won't mean anything unless the patient actually takes the drug - always address any potential barriers to medication adherence (affordability, tolerability, understanding of therapy, complex medication regimens, pill burden, patient-specific beliefs, etc.). 

 

Class of 2013

Samuel MendozaSamuel Mendoza

Hometown?

Tucson, AZ

How do you spend your free time?

Photography, yoga, fixing my motorcycle, exercising, and watching the History Channel.

What is your favorite movie or television show?

Movie: The Professional TV: Downton Abbey

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

Israel, it is a focal point for 3 major religions, it has vast amounts of history and culture.

If you won the lottery, what would you do?

Get my family situated so they would not have to worry about money, ie education for the kids; I then would devote the remainder of the money to sustainable projects that support education, health programs, and performing arts for underprivileged.

Current position and location:

US Naval Officer Pharmacist

What do you do? What is your role and responsibilities?

Staff Pharmacist and Division Officer for the Central Refill Facility and Naval Branch Health Clinics

Why did you choose a career in Pharmacy?

I wanted to use my interest in science and apply it to helping care for patients.

How has SSPPS prepared you for your career?

It provided me the tools, and background to help me accomplish my job.

What is your fondest memory of your time in school?

Meeting, learning, and having fun with my classmates.

Words of Wisdom?

Always keep learning.

Class of 2014

Denise HaranoDenise Harano

Hometown?

San Jose, CA

How do you spend your free time?

Yoga, cooking, eating, traveling, and cheering on the Green Bay Packers

What is your favorite movie or television show?

Current favorite is Game of Thrones

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

Italy for the art and food

If you won the lottery, what would you do?

Buy a house

Current position and location:

Inpatient pharmacist at VA Palo Alto

What do you do? What is your role and responsibilities?

Verify inpatient medication orders, discharge counseling, PK dosing and monitoring.

Did you do a residency? If so, which one(s)?

PGY-1 at Jesse Brown VA in Chicago

Why did you choose a career in Pharmacy?

I really liked chemistry and knew I wanted to be involved with healthcare in some way. Once I found out how diverse pharmacy was I decided to go to pharmacy school.

How has SSPPS prepared you for your career?

It provided a strong foundation to build on during residency and work.

What is your fondest memory of your time in school?

All of the end of the year activities and graduation.

Words of Wisdom?

Explore as many areas of pharmacy as you can while you're a student, you never know what area you will like or dislike until you try it.

Class of 2015

Crystal Zhou

Hometown?

San Francisco, CA 

How do you spend your free time?

Going on hikes and exploring the different state and national parks 

What is your favorite movie or television show?

Breaking Bad, and the prequel, Better Call Saul 

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

I would travel to see the remaining new wonders of the world: India, Brazil, Rome, and Jordan. I have visited the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, and Chichen Itza. 

If you won the lottery, what would you do?

If I won the lottery, I would pay to transform healthcare so that more care can happen in the community setting 

Current position and location:

Assistant Clinical Professor, UCSF School or Pharmacy, San Francisco, CA

Clinical Pharmacist, UCSF Division of Cardiology, San Francisco, CA 

What do you do? What is your role and responsibilities?

I teach an Applied Patient Care Skills Course at UCSF School of Pharmacy. The course focuses on hands-on clinical skills, patient counseling and communication, and problem-solving and critical thinking skills. I also work as a clinical ambulatory care pharmacist for the Division of Cardiology at UCSF. I see patients in the general cardiology clinic as well as the cardiac rehabilitation and wellness center. 

Did you do a residency? If so, which one(s)?

PGY1 Pharmacy, UCSF

PGY2 Ambulatory Care Specialty Residency, University of Washington 

Why did you choose a career in Pharmacy?

I chose a career in pharmacy because I knew pharmacists can do much more than "count pills behind the counter" and I wanted to be a part of the movement to help spread awareness and show the community, by example, what a pharmacist is capable of doing.  

How has SSPPS prepared you for your career?

SSPPS has provided me a very solid knowledge base that I have been building upon throughout my clinical training. I still refer to my pharmacy school notes, especially my white board notes from Chris and Steve (P2 year) whenever I have pathophysiology questions that I can't answer!

What is your fondest memory of your time in school?

Late night study sessions and calling the midnight cookie delivery guy! 

Words of Wisdom?

It is very normal to not know what you want to do in the future. Even when I'm at my current job now, I'm learning new things about the profession of pharmacy that I did not know before. And just because you start out in one job after you complete your training doesn't mean you're stuck at that job forever; the possibilities are really endless and I that's what I love about pharmacy.  

 

Class of 2016

Sarah Ross-WalkerSarah Ross-Walker

Hometown? Coachella, CA.

 How do you spend your free time?

I spend my free time playing with my Pomsky Beau, watching movies, and reading books. When I’m not at home with my furbaby you can find me at Disneyland with my husband, family, and friends.

What is your favorite movie or television show?

Grey’s Anatomy! It’s my guilty pleasure.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

This one is hard. I would travel to Paris, Tahiti, and New Zealand. Because each destination offers it’s own unique unforgettable experience and a picturesque location that is sure to dazzle all the senses.

If you won the lottery, what would you do?

Buy my friends and family everything they ever wanted, I’d continue to support non-profit organizations that are making a difference around the world, and I’d set up scholarships to support those following their dreams with limited means.

Current position and location:

Inpatient Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Kaiser Permanente Orange County

What do you do? What is your role and responsibilities?

I’m an inpatient pharmacist that covers all areas of the hospital. No day is typical and everyday brings something new and exciting. We cover rounding in areas like the ICU, NICU, Pediatrics, and Oncology; and attend all codes from code blue to stroke codes. We cover all orders and clinical duties for every patient in the hospital from the ICU to the ER, I also precept students and PGY1 residents.     

Did you do a residency? If so, which one(s)?

Yes, I did a PGY-1 Residency at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, CA.

Why did you choose a career in Pharmacy?

I choose a career in pharmacy because it was one of the fastest growing professions. It offered diverse opportunities to practice, and offered the opportunity for lifelong learning. I knew being a pharmacist would allow me the chance to make a difference in the lives of my patients and to bridge the gap between patients and practitioners.

How has SSPPS prepared you for your career?

SSPPS went above and beyond to prepare me for my future career. They focused on graduating students that would go on to become pharmacists operating at the top of their license throughout the specialties within the pharmacy profession. They pushed us to work hard because they knew the raw potential of each and every student. They exposed us to fierce and passionate mentors and professors that helped mold the way we would one day teach and mentor our students.

What is your fondest memory of your time in school?

TOO MANY!! Probably all the late hour study sessions with my Pharmily.

Words of Wisdom?

Something my dad always used to tell me was to choose to do something you love for a living, and if you do you will never really work a day in your life. I would add to stay focused, strong, and persevere. All the struggles, tears, doubts, hardships, and breakdowns along the way will all be worth it when you get where you’re going.   

 

Class of 2019

Jordan AmatoJordan Amato

Hometown? Jamul, CA

How do you spend your free time? Scuba diving or playing board games

What is your favorite movie or television show? Game of Thrones (until the last season)

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why? Beach camping in San Felipe, Mexico.  My family and I have been traveling to this small fishing town on the coast of Baja California for years and there is really no place that can compare. 

If you won the lottery, what would you do? I would move to Bora Bora or New Zealand to scuba dive

Current position and location: PGY1 Pharmacy Resident at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla

What do you do? What is your role and responsibilities?

Did you do a residency? If so, which one(s)? PGY1 Acute Care Residency at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla

Why did you choose a career in Pharmacy? I chose pharmacy after witnessing the knowledge gap between patient's and their medications. I hope empower these patients to have a better understanding of pharmacy.

How has SSPPS prepared you for your career? SSPPS has provided me with the knowledge to critically assess medication therapy and determine if a regimen is safe and effective for that patient. Through our curriculum we learned to problem solve, work closely with an interdisciplinary team, and provide patient-centered care. 

What is your fondest memory of your time in school? Making life-long friendships with classmates and faculty. 

Words of Wisdom? Approach every situation with a positive outlook.

Class of 2020

Casey Tiefenthaler

Hometown? Las Vegas, NV

How do you spend your free time? Honestly, I really value when I have free time to binge watch TV series.

What is your favorite movie or television show? Tough call! Although I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones, I would have to go with my new favorite light-hearted TV show: Schitt’s Creek.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why? I would be thrilled to travel anywhere! Given that my class graduated during the COVID-19 crisis, traveling was sparse. However, I would love to go to Bora Bora and stay in one of those bungalows/huts in the ocean.

Current position and location: PGY1 Pharmacy Resident at Veteran Affairs of Southern Nevada (Las Vegas)

What do you do? What is your role and responsibilities? Currently, I am on a primary care clinic rotation, where I see 10-12 patients a day and help manage common disease states such as diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, asthma/COPD, etc.  My next rotation will be in mental health/psychiatry, which are areas I am particularly interested in pursuing through a PGY2 next year.

Did you do a residency? If so, which one(s)? PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at the VA in Las Vegas, which offers about a 50/50 split between acute and ambulatory care experiences.

Why did you choose a career in Pharmacy?  I have known for some time that pursuing a career in healthcare would be extremely rewarding for me. At the same time, I highly value spending time with family and friends. Therefore, one of the primary considerations for pursuing pharmacy was that this career tends to offer a great work-life balance – I have the opportunity to have a meaningful impact in patients’ lives, all the while having time to enjoy my own. Don’t get me wrong, pharmacy school and residency are huge time commitments, but will be worth it in the long run!

How has SSPPS prepared you for your career? I believe that one of the truly unique and amazing things about SSPPS curriculum is the pass/no pass grading system and the smaller class sizes. By eliminating some of the stress associated with achieving/maintaining a high GPA, I was more inclined to explore more extracurricular and leadership opportunities, all the while still receiving high-quality education. I held several positions, including President of psychiatric pharmacy organization, all of which enabled me to further develop skills that cannot necessarily be learned in the classroom, including leadership, teamwork, time management, networking, and much more. These soft and interpersonal skill acquired from my extracurricular activities, played an instrumental role in preparing me for a career in pharmacy!

What is your fondest memory of your time in school? Developing life-long friendships with my peers, alumni, and faculty!

Words of Wisdom? Don’t be afraid to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves because often times these give us a chance to grow personally and professionally.