What are you currently doing as a pharmacy professional and how did you progress to where you are today?
|Kelsey Schwander, PharmD '16
I am currently a Clinical Assistant Professor and Clinical Pharmacist at the University of Colorado. My practice site is the Marcus Institute for Brain Health, where I serve as the clinical pharmacist on a multidisciplinary team treating patients with traumatic brain injuries. I teach pharmacy students as well as cannabis courses in the certificate and graduate programs.
I have had a unique career path in pharmacy. I did a community-based residency with Colorado University after graduation and was hired on as a clinical coordinator for all the Good Day Pharmacies. In this position, I created numerous clinical programs including pharmacist-prescribing hormonal contraception (we were the first pharmacy to prescribe birth control in Colorado!), travel health, naloxone, point-of-care testing, and pharmacist-prescribing smoking cessation. I moved to St. Louis and was a Clinical Assistant Professor at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and practiced ambulatory care pharmacy. Also, during this time, I started a consulting company, BHealth Consulting where I provide specialized medication counseling, cannabis consultations, and lectures, and assist patients, providers, and businesses in creating practical healthcare solutions. My distinctive experiences in community, ambulatory care, business, and academia led me to my current position! Starting in 2023 I will be the Resident Program Director for the community base residency programs, which is exciting because it is the same residency I did.
What has been a defining moment for you as a seasoned professional?
Starting my own consulting company has been a significant milestone in my career. I started to casually give clinical or business advice to my friends who own pharmacies, then slowly people I did not know wanted help, so I created a company. I really enjoy the business aspect of pharmacy and I continue to learn from it.
What inspired you to attend the CU Pharmacy program and what was your experience while in the program?
I was living in California at the time and Colorado was home, so I was looking for a school closer to home. CU was ranked one of the top 20 schools in the nation, so I decided to apply. It was a very rigorous program, but after graduation, I appreciated going through a difficult program. I have now practiced in multiple states, I can recognize the high standard of the program and the high quality of pharmacists it produces.
What is your proudest moment and your favorite thing about working in the pharmacy profession?
As a resident, I created the clinical protocol and implemented the hormonal contraception prescribing program at the largest independent chain in Colorado. It was really rewarding to watch the program I created from scratch be practiced in multiple pharmacies. This was also the first time pharmacists could prescribe in Colorado and it is amazing to see how the number of medications has grown that we can prescribe now as pharmacists!
One of my favorite things about being a pharmacist is the diversity of career choices you can pick from and pivot to in your career.
What sage advice would you pass on to current and future students that was helpful for you in preparing for the job market?
I would recommend being open to all possibilities! You may be surprised by what an internship, shadow experience, or job may have to offer. Never in a million years did I imagine I would be teaching and educating on cannabis, but the opportunity presented itself and it has helped me better educate my patients and be a better pharmacist.