Professor. Researcher. Fulbright awardee. Cindy O’Bryant, PharmD, can now add Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs to her impressive CV.
Stepping into her role in 2022, Dr. O’Bryant brings a faculty lens to an administrative position, while also maintaining her Professor position and continuing to practice at the University of Colorado Cancer Center (UCCC), Anschutz Outpatient Cancer Pavilion, the only National Cancer Institute designated comprehensive cancer center in the Rocky Mountain Region. Oh, and she recently returned from Nigeria on a Fulbright trip to bring oncology pharmacy practice to a country taking its first steps in the field.
Dr. Cindy O' Bryant works with patients at the CU Cancer Center.
Does she sleep? A little, she says. She is also up for the challenge to transition from faculty to administration, and has 20 years of roots within CU to keep her grounded.
“It is nice to have a career path,” Dr. O’Bryant explained. “As an academic you are always learning new things, making new discoveries, and changing the guidelines in the areas where you are working. Your interests change. I have been able to explore my interest in shared governance, so learning how the school fits within the campus, and then how the campus fits within the university.”
Dr. O’Bryant has a list of items to address, but she is very clear that first, she needs to step into this new role and absorb as much as she can.
“As our students evolve, as healthcare evolves, and curriculum evolves, we have to take a step back and say, are we doing the best? How can we improve?” she explains. “It will be good to look at things with a critical eye and ask, are these things that we still need to be doing? Do they need to be revamped? Do we need to take this in a different direction? How do we make this more efficient? Right now, everyone is stretched to the hilt, and some policies and procedures need to be revamped to reflect the current place where we are.”
Close to the top of her list is to bridge diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) gaps, with the help of larger university initiatives.
“As our students evolve, as healthcare evolves, and curriculum evolves, we have to take a step back and say, are we doing the best? How can we improve?”
“Really, we are looking at ways in which we can diversify our faculty, bring on new views and perspectives. We want to incorporate new DEI thinking and viewpoints into the curriculum,” she said. “We have a very diverse student population, so it would be really great to match that in our faculty, so students can see themselves in our faculty.”
It is not lost on O’Bryant that her faculty lens will be a benefit in this role.
“I want to look at faculty mentoring, not only new faculty but senior faculty. As things change, interests change. Just because you have been here 20 years does not mean you want to stay where you are,” she says, citing herself as an example. “I am excited to pull in that faculty piece,” Dr. O’Bryant continued. “I love the people I work with and I am excited to be able to support them in this role. I have lived their life, I know what they go through, and how can I help them in this new role. I want to shout out and really honor people for what they are doing."
Still, her goal is to be able to stay in oncology pharmacy in some way.
“We are always training the next generation,” she said. “They might be taking care of me someday, so it is important for me to be able to continue that work.”
Another of her goals? To make sure pharmacy is seen on the campus level, and to reinforce how important pharmacists are in integrated healthcare.
“I want to use my connections and past experience with shared governance to elevate the school,” Dr. O’Bryant said. “Pharmacy should be a part of these bigger healthcare discussions and partnerships, not only across campus but in practice.”
She has a lot of goals. She also has the right attitude, experience, and enthusiasm for the work to get them done – and then some.
“I am ready to create my own path,” she said, “Leave my own legacy.”