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Pharmacy Leaders Podcast: Inspiring Pharmacy Leadership Interviews

Feb 19, 2018

Lauren Park is from Los Angeles, CA. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 2014. She joined the inaugural class of Doctor of Pharmacy students at California Health Sciences University in fall 2014 and will graduate in May 2018. She is a Student Ambassador at CHSU, has participated in many College leadership activities and conferences, but has been most active with the Phi Delta Chi Fraternity. Her hobbies include aikido, reading, and playing video games.

Full Transcript:

welcome to the pharmacy leaders podcast
with your host Tony Guerra the pharmacy
leaders podcast is a member of the
pharmacy podcast network with interviews
and advice on building your professional
network brand and a purposeful second
income from students residents and
innovative professionals
welcome to the pharmacy leaders podcast
today we are visiting with California
and Lauren Park is from Los Angeles
California she graduated from the
University of Southern California in
2014 and she joined the inaugural class
of the doctor of pharmacy students at
California Health Sciences University in
the fall of 2014
she'll graduate this may in 2018 just a
couple months away she is a student
ambassador at CHS u has participated in
many college leadership activities and
conferences and has been most active
with the Phi Delta Chi fraternity her
hobbies include Aikido reading and
whenever she has time maybe playing
video games so welcome to the pharmacy
leaders podcast Lauren thanks for having
me okay well we want to first get a
little bit of background on you
everyone's leadership road is a little
bit different can you tell me a little
bit about where your leadership Road
started and how you got to where you are
well I've always been involved in
leadership ever since high school and
even middle school but here at CHS you I
would say that my leadership experience
started with well with both PDC and with
our Student Government Association and
you can you can expound on let's let's
start with the student government a
little bit about it and and I've talked
to people at neo med at University
Maryland Eastern Shore and they've been
in inaugural classes too so please give
us the details on what it's like to
create things obviously with provider
status we are going to be creating a lot
of new paths so it's so important that
we talk to the students that are paving
the way and have created things so let
us know a little bit about student
government first so student government I
was actually the second vice president
so I wasn't part of the first student
government but I helped to kind of
continue the work that they started
building by law
establishing the presence on campus and
it was actually I mean starting anything
new a new school a new government a new
organization it's always difficult but I
feel like people here students and
faculty and administration have always
been very open-minded about being
embracing the change okay and then what
about PDC you've you've started a
chapter there or you were part of an
inaugural class there can you tell me a
little bit about what it's like to start
a fraternity and why maybe you reached
out to the fraternity to bring them in
so starting the fraternity I actually I
feel like not many of us really knew
what we were getting ourselves into I
never anticipated that I would have
become so heavily involved they we
actually had a few people come to our
campus and gauge interests and when we
started it was actually just a really
like lovely surprised to see how how
everyone kind of jumped into leadership
roles promoting professional events and
you know I'll be honest I wasn't part of
the first group to heavily promote it
but as I got more and more into it
I mean I feel like I you know I I'm just
really glad to have been a part of that
start I was our first I guess now we're
called candidate trainers um so that was
a really enriching experience okay so
when I contacted CHS U and they said
this is the person you should talk to so
many of your classmates probably look to
you and say nothing ever goes wrong for
Lauren everything in her life is always
perfect let's start with maybe some
challenge where things didn't go
perfectly and that things were very
difficult and how you overcame that
challenge well the first thing that
always comes to mind when people ask me
about the challenges in pharmacy school
is during that first year with Phi Delta
Chi start on a new chapter from the
ground up was not easy there were a lot
of challenges we had to learn to
communicate with the robot there are a
little over 30 of us starting this
chapter so it was a lot of people to
kind of coordinate
and the best way that I found to kind of
do my own part in helping to guide us
towards a more positive outcome was by
just talking people open communication
both with the collegiate members and
with alumni asking for advice just
trying to be open-minded and as just as
flexible as possible okay I also came
from a small campus although the
mothership for Maryland is about 40,000
students down in College Park I was on a
campus of about 5,000 only health
professionals which i think is what CHS
who's going to end up being eventually
is a large multidisciplinary campus tell
me a little bit about what it was like
getting on campus that first day and
what it was like coming into a new
pharmacy school with everybody and you
were all the first ones there at first
it was a little a little scary we most
of us had not done TBL which is the
team-based learning that our school
employees so immediately we were thrown
into groups of five or six so there's
five or six of us just staring at each
other around a table and you know with
that that first group that we were in I
feel like I grew very close to them so
this scariness and the nervousness
dissipated pretty quickly but yeah I
mean it it was definitely a little
because we were the only ones on campus
there were no other students so everyone
grew very close very quickly some might
say even a little too close no I know
that feeling you know you're in a class
of a hundred and I came from College
Park a bigger campus and then University
of Florida another bigger school and
then when I got to pharmacy school it
was maybe it was the third or fourth
week that I kind of talked to the guy
who sits next to me ended up being my
best man at the wedding and I was like I
think it's just I think it's just us
like we we see each other every time
like it's like oh look who's in class
today you know and then I think it
really hit home that next semester we're
like oh look it's the same people again
so tell me a little bit about what it
was like when that second class came in
and that you know you had other people
and then maybe people to work with
people to mentor
it was it was awesome I loved the I
guess now I'll refer to their graduation
here the class of 2019 they are I love
them I mean it was kind of nice having a
new group of people to socialize with to
get to know it was getting a little a
little small on campus everyone was
really looking forward to meeting the
new class and I I actually feel really
bad because I feel like there was a
little pressure for them to kind of live
up to our expectations of hey we're so
excited to see you we hope that you're
as excited to see us to know I know and
it's it's it's actually I don't know
what when I was at Maryland I remember
that we were like come on good class
good class good class and you would feel
like it would be like every third year
might be like a class you're like okay
great you know well there's always 2020
you know and something like that so but
it sounds like you guys are really
building something and when was it that
you started actually building the
group's so did you build the groups that
first year or did you wait for that
second class come in or maybe the third
class how did those groups build because
it sounds like you've built a lot of
organizations and you've had a lot of
choice in which organizations to build
with I would say right off the bat we
had a solid handful of organizations
that started on campus right on top of
my head if I can remember there's SBA
there is California pharmacist
Association American pharmacist
Association I don't remember if the
Health System pharmacists was on campus
that year or the year after but yes I
feel like I don't know if it's we got
very lucky or it just happens that when
you start a school people with strong
leadership skills gravitate towards at
school but people were just jumping into
organizations and you know taking
responsibility delegating just throwing
things together from nothing and it was
actually looking back I have no idea
where we got all that energy well I I
keep hearing over and over again and
maybe I made this word up in my head or
something like that but the new schools
tend to be innovator incubators where
people that are like gonna take that
chance they're like no I
want to be part of putting it together I
don't want to have to you know deal with
this tradition I want to set the
tradition I want to make things happen
tell me a little bit about were you
involved in that Shark Tank competition
I think I saw something like that or
were there any kind of competitions that
challenged entrepreneurship at the
school I believe there were I I don't I
wasn't involved in them but I mean I'm
sure like if I asked around like I
people would raise their hands
immediately saying oh yeah sounds part
of that but there was so much going on
that it was impossible to keep track of
everything okay all right all right so
we'll go to something a little bit
different then tell me a little bit
about what it's like to be a student
ambassador so you've got your college
you're proud of your college if I came
to college looking to come to CHS you
tell me a little bit about what I would
learn and what you would kind of he'll
take me through the day what that day
would be like so a day I see Hsu yeah
yeah Dave see it know a day at CHS you
as a pre-pharmacy student thinking about
going there so I'm at a community
college so I'm really on the supply side
50% of the country's college students
are actually in community college and so
my job and why I started the podcast in
the first place was to give a little bit
more life to what it is to be a pharmacy
student what it is to graduate from
pharmacy school so that they've got more
than just okay I take organic and then I
take harder classes in chemistry or
something like that so tell me a little
bit about what it would be like if I was
a pre pharmacy student coming to a
visitation day where you're a student
ambassador so as soon as you walk
through the doors of the main building
you're greeted by anywhere from two to
four ambassadors I've been at a couple
of events there does a good rotation of
us who try to attend these events we
greet you we ask your name ask where
you're from gather a little information
about you and then triage you to the
classroom where most of the information
is going to be presented to you students
have the opportunity to mingle with
other visitors and with some of the
faculty and some of the administrators
during this time the students will get
information on financial aid what to
prerequisites the the general schedule
of four years here at CHS U and then we
take them on a tour of the campus it's a
small campus it takes no longer than 30
minutes I would say
and after that students have the
opportunity to ask questions parents can
ask questions if they want we've even
had visitors local pharmacists just come
and kind of see what the school is about
those who are interested in becoming
preceptors and you know that we just
kind of call it a day after you tell me
a little bit about what it was like
going on your appiy rotations so
obviously the experiential office had to
work very hard to you know get things up
and running but tell me a little bit
about the experiences you've had and
then how they prepare you for your
residency interviews I have done all of
my rotations here in Fresno and I'm
currently on my second-to-last rotation
I would say that going in it was very it
was actually comfortable for me because
I was going back to a site I had done my
I could be e at so it was it was not
quite as scary it actually these
rotations actually really helped me to
find what I wanted to do with the rest
of my life I was kind of late to the
residency game to the oh my god am I
gonna do with my life it's a lot but
there were a couple of rotations that
really impacted me the top three I would
say were of course my ambulatory care
rotation what my my two electives which
were transitions of care and home
infusion and actually my inpatient
rotation I would say helped me decide I
didn't want to do you know it's yeah I
understand that you know there are the
required rotations and they're required
by a sh or by the accrediting body and I
think there's an expectation that you
know somebody's gonna go into something
and say alright well this is for me then
this is for me then this is for me but a
lot of times you know it's a way to find
out that okay well maybe this isn't
something for me but tell me a little
bit about the ambulatory care that
sounds like what you're going to be
doing when you go after that we talked
about in the pre-interview first tell me
a little bit about what ambulatory care
is some some pre-pharmacy students
really struggle with
difference between community pharmacists
and ambulatory care pharmacists can you
first articulate what the difference
might be so retail pharmacy I would say
to a pre pharmacy student is when you go
to one of those large chains like CVS
Walgreens Rite Aid Costco any of those
pharmacies where you know it's a large
it's not even necessary a large chain it
could be an independent pharmacy versus
ambulatory care which I did my rotation
at a clinic so patients quote-unquote
ambulate or walk in and out of the
clinic usually for management of chronic
diseases like we were managing
hypertension for underserved communities
so tell me a little bit about that
because I keep hearing over and over
about I don't want to say your
generation because I actually don't even
know how old you are but I keep hearing
from this generation of pharmacy
students let me give you an example of
that PCP Philadelphia College of
Pharmacy Kristine de maua Langan she
went over summer as part of a it was a
religious kind of mission trip but
within the city where they found
underserved patients they measured
hypertension diabetes kind of people
that were under the radar not getting
served by the healthcare system because
no one really introduced them to that
one they were sick and that too that
there were certain things that were
available to them can you tell me a
little bit about what it's like to serve
the underserved well so the clinic that
I rotated at it's called clinic Aesir
Vista it's a federally qualified health
center it offers these services to
patients who usually we look through
existing records for patients who go to
physicians at that clinic and are are
not controlled for their chronic
conditions and most of these patients we
are Central Valley's most of them are
spanish-speaking and a lot of them maybe
never had the time or the opportunity to
really get educated about why they're
taking these medications
why how other disease works and how that
impacts their life especially for
hypertension which most of them they
can't feel it because it's not usually
symptomatic so they don't really
understand why we're so gung-ho about
making sure that their blood pressures
and there there are often a lot of
barriers to overcome not just a language
barrier but like health literacy just
actually even making sure the patients
come in to clinic but it's an it's an
awesome experience because you see them
as they as they are engaging with the
healthcare providers they become more
more and more invested in their own
health which i think is just really
great to see in any population but
especially in this population where we
offer these services to them for for no
cost of the patient so it's very low
lower risk for them to just come in and
make sure that their health is getting
okay well tell me a little bit about the
elective what made you choose the
elective and what made you so excited
about it
so the electives although there were two
electives one was the home infusion
elective and one was transitions of care
home infusion I just thought sounded
really cool I had we don't really work
with a lot of IV like hands on IV stuff
at school so I thought it was a good
opportunity to get exposed to that and
with the TLC or transitions of care
honestly I saw it and I thought it seems
like a nice middle ground between
inpatient and outpatient and I thought
well you know it's I'm not really sure
which one I wanted to do at the time so
this seems like a good way to knock to
get two beds that way one stone and then
you're going to be asked I guarantee on
your residency interview something to
the effect of well tell us what was your
least favorite happy rotation and that's
always a bomb just waiting to blow up
and and they just really want to see you
know how you do it and that you don't
slam the rotation slam the person and
all of that stuff but tell me something
that you got out of that inpatient
rotation what it did was maybe it pushed
you towards a preference saying yeah you
know maybe I like the ambulatory aspect
more than I like the inpatient aspect
and then there's people that did the
exact opposite like no I like the
inpatient more than the ambulatory so
there's certainly room for both but tell
me a little bit about what you did get
out of that inpatient rotation so
actually I really enjoyed my impatient
rotation it was just that that's when I
realized that that was not the kind of
work I want to do you know to pursue for
my life or even that I want to see in
the near future but I learned a lot
about all the different gears and the
huge hospital machine that makes
everything work I had the opportunity to
shadow all the different members of the
pharmacy team which was really
educational even if sometimes it was I
mean I was watching the buyers and I'm
like you are him you guys are handling
such large budgets I can't I can't
believe like you guys are able to do
this but I just realized that I wanted
more patient interaction which there was
there was something patient interaction
but it was very minimal and I just was
creating more of that so one of the big
concerns is that a student's going to go
to a new school and they're not going to
be able to get residency interviews and
you have a couple of interviews coming
up what were the things that you think
you did or that you think you put into
the residency application that made your
residency stand out now I know every
pharmacy student is super uncomfortable
talking about how good they are so I'm
not trying to put you in a spot what I'm
trying to do is I'm just trying to help
those that are applying right now and
maybe some of them are sitting there
with no interviews what and they're
saying what did I do wrong and what they
really just want to know is you know
what are the what is the way that you
articulated the leadership activities
that you did into your application how
did you put that all together so I wrote
a separate letter of intent for every
program that I applied to which I know
you're supposed to do but I try to
really learn the program see how my
experiences would help me grow into the
kind of resident that they would want in
their program for example for USC I
about how I was doing rotation at a
federally qualified health center which
was modeled actually after the protocols
that they have in place at their
institution so I mean I thought that was
actually really kind of lucky for me but
just trying to focus on things that were
relevant not adding fluff I prefer to
write in a more concise manner than you
know writing for the sake of writing and
I actually so I actually have a degree
in English from USC which is I think
what really helps push my
of intent to a to this that's awesome I
have an undergrad English too so that is
I think the humanities and and science
tend to be it tends to be understated
that that yeah you can be an English
major and still take organic like it
doesn't it doesn't preclude you from
taking science courses so your letter of
intent individualizing your letter of
intent and then how did you make your
decision I went to a sh p and i saw
thousands of people going to all these
residency sites I saw Excel spreadsheets
flying you know all over the place what
was your method of deciding yeah this is
really where I would like to go this is
a good fit
well once I knew I want I wanted to
focus on ambulatory care I started
searching for programs that had strong
and military care programs our focus
which is how I ended up with looking at
the VA looking at Kaiser at USC those
kinds of programs and then I went to a
SHP this past December and actually I'll
be honest my number one or one of my top
ones was the VA and it was actually not
even on my radar because we don't rotate
at the VA but when I got to a SHP and I
visited their booth they were so
enthusiastic about their programs that I
couldn't help but think wow this must be
a really great place to learn if the
residents can convey this enthusiasm
just in 10 to 20 no and I hear that all
the time where as as much as I don't
know if this is just a pharmacy student
thing where they just love checklists
and you know that they visit all the
spots and I feel like they get like a
sticker at the end or something but I
think that sometimes when you see and so
you were there so you saw like the you
know the Cleveland Clinic has like its
own state you know and then you know UNC
has these huge banners you know you kind
of go down I'm surprised they don't have
like a trumpet announcing at all not so
some of these other ones you know that's
just a couple of really great people
having great experiences and it sounds
like it sounds like you discovered them
what was your technique or what was your
method of being open or finding these
other sites that maybe you wouldn't have
immediately thought of just because it
was maybe a smaller I don't know a
smaller booth or something like that
well I passed by a bunch of the VA has
you know there are a bunch of different
programs so there you know many booths
that I walk by with the VA you know on
their banner and as I kept walking
around and asked asking other programs I
thought you know what
I better check this place out and
actually there was a resident a resident
representative residency representative
not one of the students from Kaiser who
asked me hey have you checked out the VA
if you're interested in ambulatory care
that's a great place to go and so I
thought everything seems to be pushing
me to just at least ask this program
what they're about you know I have time
it's yeah sure I'm there that's what I'm
there for
yeah and ended up being a really really
great experience well is there anything
I haven't asked you that you would like
to talk about your experience or what
you're thinking about after graduation
right now I would think you've pretty
much covered all the bases that was you
know you you covered pretty much
everything I mean everything from where
I started to where I'll be ending up so
I think I'm okay well I usually have
three questions at the end here just to
help the listeners these tend to be the
questions that we hear most often what's
the best career advice you've ever given
or received whether it's from a
professor or someone out in the
workforce what's the best career advice
ever given or received ooh
to me the best career I'll say that I've
received is to pursue the career that
you can see yourself actually wanting to
do I see a lot of students pursuing
things that they are not actually really
enthusiastic about just because they
feel peer pressure or family pressure or
even just there's the whole idea that
people who go out and start working
immediately without doing residency
without doing a fellowship there's I
wouldn't call it a stigma but it's not
seen as prestigious and I think that's
that's completely the wrong way to
approach it I think if you are happy in
a community setting or in whatever
setting you like then
pursue it don't worry about what people
think about you whether you're living up
to your expectations or not because it's
really if you are fulfilled in your work
then that'll have a positive impact on
your patience versus if you're miserable
then your patience are not going to end
it's grating and then what do you do on
a daily basis to keep your work on track
people are our students are always
looking to have enough time to do things
to put in their CV to show to the
residency's or to their employers but
how do you keep it all together are you
a list person or what do you do to make
sure that you get everything done I'm
definitely a list person and I prefer to
have a physical paper planner and
calendar rather than doing it all on my
phone or through my to my laptop because
I feel that way I can really see
everything laid out it's a lot easy to
keep track of things and I was able to
go back when I was making my CV which
I'll admit I made my CV a little late
but having those planners just all
written out everything color matched and
just perfectly organized oh not
perfectly but as organized as I could
get it really helps me um keep awesome
and then the last question what inspires
you what inspires me is seeing people
who do good work that really inspires me
to want to do better no matter wonder
stand hari well thanks so much for being
on the pharmacy leaders podcast well
thank you so much for having me support
for this episode comes from good night
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