Determination doesn’t sleep, and neither does Lisa Chang, BS, MBA, and soon to be Doctor of Pharmacy from the North American-Trained PharmD program (NTPD).
Unlike traditional PharmD programs, where training is in-person, the NTPD program at CU Pharmacy is built for individuals already licensed to practice pharmacy but who want the added benefits of a doctoral degree.For Chang, who graduated with her BS in Pharmacy from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 1993, it was because she is the current Director of Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization in the Poole College of Management at NC State – and she wanted to be on the cutting edge of pharmacy technology.
“I assist the university in looking at what is just cool science, and what actually could be the foundation for a start-up, or a valuable license to a larger, existing entity,” Chang explained.
She also is a university lecturer in graduate programs, supports the technology transfer office, serves as Director of Diligence for the NC State Wolfpack Investor Network, and she moonlights as an overnight clinical pharmacist, picking up shifts in pharmacies across North Carolina to both give the regular pharmacists a break and to remind her why she became a pharmacist in the first place.
Chang started her career in industry, and she intentionally seeks out opportunities to know what patients want, need, and how healthcare can be improved.
“There are new innovations that help us keep the world around us healthy, both preventative, and also looking at applied healthcare once people do become ill,” she said. “It was really important for me to go back to school to get perspective on those things. Part of what I do is look for relative merit of innovations that are being researched. If you don’t get new perspective on developing technologies, it can be very difficult to make good decisions on how the university should invest.”
Lisa Chang lectures at NC State University, where she works as Director of Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization in the Poole College of Management.
Chang loved learning about pharmacogenomics, research that studies how a person's genes affect how he or she responds to medications.
“That was not a field when I graduated in 1993,” she chuckled.
The new field plays to her strengths in innovation, where she regularly analyzes data, but she points out that “just because you can get data on something, doesn’t mean you can impact change.”
“The most valuable part about getting a PharmD, certainly understanding new classes of medication and mechanisms of actions helps me to evaluate the new technologies I’m looking at for relative merit, but also the new fields, that has been really exciting,” she said. “I personally care that the innovations that we are rolling out are making real impact for real people. I always think 'who is the beneficiary?' It's a person. Whether I know them or not, it doesn’t matter. I want to make sure I am helping make our world a better place by enabling brilliant researchers and inventors to bring real solutions to people who need them.”