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Future Pharmacy Leaders Making a Difference Today

Nov 12, 2015
Bryan C. McCarthy, Jr., Pharm.D., M.S., BCPS

Bryan C. McCarthy, Jr., Pharm.D., M.S., BCPS

WHEN BRYAN C. McCARTHY, JR., Pharm.D., M.S., BCPS, and David P. Reardon, Pharm.D., BCPS, first met at the Minnesota Pharmacy Residency Research Forum in 2010, they realized that they had the same enthusiasm for pharmacy and the same desire to change the profession for the better.

What they didn’t know was that over the next three years, they would dive into the world of publications management and dedicate thousands of hours to an effort that would give pharmacy residents a powerful way to share their research: The Journal of Health-System Pharmacy Residents (JHPR), now AJHP Residents Edition.

A Winding Road to a Different Future

Dr. McCarthy, now interim director of ambulatory care pharmacy services at the University of Chicago Medicine and program director of the newly established PGY1-2 pharmacy administration residency, graduated from the University of Rhode Island (URI) College of Pharmacy. He then landed in Minneapolis as Hennepin County Medical Center’s first PGY1/PGY2 pharmacy administration resident. However, Dr. McCarthy almost didn’t have a residency to go to in the first step of his career path. That’s because he had interned in two settings, CVS and South County Hospital in Narragansett, R.I., which would have sent him down another career path entirely.

“The URI College of Pharmacy program is largely a community pharmacy-driven curriculum, attributable in part to the CVS brand influence in the college and area,” said Dr. McCarthy. “It’s also near the ocean without many large academic medical centers or hospitals nearby, so internship opportunities tended toward community practice or long-term care.”

Though the experiences with CVS and South County were valuable, Dr. McCarthy sought more, and his preceptors encouraged him in his quest. One arranged a meeting between Dr. McCarthy and AstraZeneca Regional Clinical Science Manager Raymond Mastriani, Pharm.D., M.B.A. Dr. Mastriani assumed a mentoring role and suggested that a residency would serve Dr. McCarthy well. However, by that point, residency applications were already due.

When he later found himself unmatched, Dr. McCarthy sent emails to the 150 hospitals with open residency positions. Three responded, including Hennepin, which had filled the position he was inquiring about but had just received funding for its pharmacy administration residency.

“They were impressed that I had exposure to profit-and-loss statements and medication utilization evaluations, and I wouldn’t have had that exposure if my rotation preceptors hadn’t been so flexible with my interests,” Dr. McCarthy said. “I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and my landing at Hennepin is a testament to that.”

David P. Reardon, Pharm.D., BCPS

David P. Reardon, Pharm.D., BCPS

Dr. Reardon, now a solid organ transplant clinical pharmacist at Yale-New Haven Hospital, arrived in Minneapolis with slightly more breathing room, as he had been matched with Mayo Clinic Health System at Mankato for a PGY1 pharmacy practice residency. But even that was a bit of a surprise.

Not only had Dr. Reardon decided to apply for matching “at the 11th hour,” but he was also already on the path to retail pharmacy, having worked as a pharmacy technician for a Keaveny Drug store and interned at two Wal-Mart pharmacies.

“I didn’t have a lot of hospital experience, and suddenly I was at one of the top hospitals in the world,” Dr. Reardon said. “It shows what can happen when you take yourself out of your comfort zone.”

Diving into the World of Clinical Publishing

While completing his residency, Dr. McCarthy also pursued a master of science in social and administrative sciences. The residency put him in a position to notice an unmet need in pharmacy, and his work on his master’s put him in a position to find a solution.

“As part of the accreditation process for pharmacy residents, you have to write a manuscript, but I quickly found that many of the high-profile pharmacy journals aren’t publishing a lot of resident research,” Dr. McCarthy said. “Since there are more than 1,000 residents in hundreds of residency programs in the U.S., I wondered where all of their manuscripts were going.”

Dr. McCarthy said that academic publishing models came up often in casual conversations with fellow students and professors in his master’s program, and one night everything came together in a eureka moment.

“I was sitting at my desk one night doing homework, and it hit me that we could have a magazine for pharmacy residents perhaps called Resident Rx, and later expand that to Resident MD, Resident RN, and so on,” said Dr. McCarthy. “Then the name—Journal of Health-System Pharmacy Residents—came into my head and that was it.”

Collaborate. Network. Go out and experience whatever you can experience, and if someone gives you an opportunity, the answer should always be ‘yes.’

After mulling it over for a month, Dr. McCarthy set about making arrangements. “It was really like a full-time job,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Reardon’s friendship had grown from simply networking to recreational get-togethers such as ice-fishing and nights out in Minneapolis. In July 2011, Dr. Reardon moved to Boston to complete a PGY2 critical care residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, but the two met up again at the ASHP Leaders Conference in October 2011, where they decided to work together on the journal.

“I knew I needed David’s help. I just didn’t know exactly how yet, so we started off by tag-teaming it from the Leaders Conference,” Dr. McCarthy said.

“Bryan identified the niche for the journal, and as he told me about it, the wheels started spinning,” Dr. Reardon said. “How big could it be? What would be the scope? Who will be involved? How do you get it going? What is the ultimate goal? We wanted residents to have a place to publish their work, but also a place where everyone, not just residents, could read what is being done at the resident level.”

From there, it was a matter of Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Reardon rolling up their sleeves and digging in. The journal’s website went live in December 2011, with options for submissions, subscriptions, and requests for volunteers to be on the editorial board. The duo reached out to residency program directors and deans of colleges of pharmacies in a massive, targeted campaign to raise awareness.

The journal took off. It received 200 submissions in the first year alone, and more than 200 in the first half of the second year. But by the end of the second volume, the demands of publishing began to outstrip the time and resources Dr. McCarthy, Dr. Reardon, and the editorial board had to devote to it.

“We started to wonder how much more of this we could actually do ourselves,” Dr. Reardon said.

By the second half of 2014, they had their answer. With their careers blossoming, it was time to turn to an organization with the resources to meet the demands of publishing a quarterly peer-reviewed journal: ASHP.

Transitioning to a New Paradigm

Through a series of calls at the end of 2014, Dr. McCarthy, Dr. Reardon, and ASHP staff ironed out the details of the transition. In June, ASHP published the first issue of what is now the AJHP Residents Edition, published quarterly as an online supplement to AJHP.

Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Reardon now serve on AJHP’s editorial board, working with Daniel J. Cobaugh, Pharm.D., DABAT, FAACT, editor in chief. Papers that originally appeared in JHPR will be republished in AJHP Residents Edition to ensure that they remain in the published literature and are indexed in PubMed along with all new submissions.

“It’s a win-win situation,” said Carol Wolfe, ASHP’s vice president of publications and drug information systems. “Over the years, we’ve received many more resident papers at AJHP than we could accommodate. AJHP Residents Edition is the perfect showcase for this great work, allowing residents to contribute to the academic literature while gaining the exposure and attention they need as they advance in their careers.

AJHP Residents Edition also aligns perfectly with ASHP’s longstanding leadership in advancing residency training and supporting residents, preceptors, and program directors.”

Wolfe had high praise for Drs. McCarthy and Reardon. “It’s quite impressive how quickly they launched a successful publication, all while completing their residencies and then embarking on their careers,” she noted. “They represent the leadership trajectory of many pharmacy residents, spanning clinical, administrative, acute, and ambulatory care roles.”

As he looks toward the future, Dr. Reardon wanted to share some hard-won advice with current pharmacy residents.

“Realize that this is your profession. If there is something you don’t like, change it. If there is a direction you think the profession needs to take, it’s your responsibility to make it happen,” he said. “Collaborate. Network. Go out and experience whatever you can experience, and if someone gives you an opportunity, the answer should always be ‘yes.’ ”

Dr. McCarthy couldn’t agree more. “There’s really no secret to this. If you want to accomplish something, you can. It’s a matter of the sacrifice you’re willing to make. Through AJHP Residents Edition, more people can learn of the things you do, so take advantage of the opportunities you have. You’re only a resident once.”

–By Terri D’Arrigo

Editor’s Note: Interested in publishing in AJHP Residents Edition? See the links below.

Author Guidelines: AJHP Residents Edition

Residency Research Tips – ASHP Foundation

AJHP Research Fundamentals Series

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