Intern Alumna Spotlight: Amber Reinert, PharmD, RPh
Originally published in the April 2021 AMCP Foundation Insights e-newsletter.
Since AMCP Foundation’s founding in 1990, over 200 student pharmacists have taken part in our summer internships. We're pleased to highlight our intern alumni in this reoccurring feature.
Name: Amber Reinert, PharmD, RPh
Current Title: Pharmacist Account Manager (PAM) for California Medicaid (Medi-Cal) and L.A. County, on behalf of Magellan Rx Management
Internship Program: AMCP Foundation/Pfizer, Inc. Managed Care Research and Nonprofit Leadership Internship
Internship Site: AMCP Foundation
Dr. Reinert was the inaugural Managed Care Research & Nonprofit Leadership Intern. In partnership with Pfizer, this internship was created in 2017 to support AMCP Foundation’s mission to invest in future-focused research. Working directly with executive and pharmacist staff while placed at AMCP Foundation, the intern learns nonprofit management principles and develops personal leadership skills.
What is your role today and your responsibilities?
Currently, I serve as the Pharmacist Account Manager (PAM) for California Medicaid (Medi-Cal) and L.A. County, on behalf of Magellan Rx Management. As Noah Greenberg would say, I am the quarterback of the team – I have my hands in everything (clinical and non-clinical), work cross-functionally internally and externally, and am responsible to my clients. I am thankful to carry such an impactful role, and to be a part of an amazing team who serves over 15 million lives.
What types of managed care practices do you use in your work?
Sitting within a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) as a PAM, I leverage all managed care tools to facilitate productive conversations with a diversity of stakeholders. Teams I work with internally that leverage managed care practices include Formulary Management, Benefits Configuration, Pharmacy Operations, Claims Adjudication, Reporting and Analytics, Document Management, Quality Services, Business Intelligence, Drug Information, Special Investigations Unit, and numerous more.
How did the AMCP Foundation internship prepare you for your career?
My AMCP Foundation internship offered me a wealth of opportunities that even most working professionals don’t experience. I wish I could do another internship! It was truly incredible — the places I traveled, the meetings I presented at, the people I laughed with, the research I spearheaded, and the input I provided. The mixture of my experiences enabled me to expect the unexpected and respond accordingly. It developed my resilience to difficult changes and opened my heart to take on uncomfortable opportunities. There is no other internship alike what the AMCP Foundation provides. I’m hopeful these programs continue to expand, and grow to provide student pharmacists with the exposure to the hidden gems managed care pharmacy holds.
Additionally, my internship developed my research skills and grew my involvement with AMCP Foundation. My research capstone was about critical evidentiary gaps in managed care pharmacy, in partnership with the AMCP/AMCP Foundation Joint Research Committee. I now serve on that Committee, and I serve in a contract role as the AMCP Foundation Best Poster Competition Director. These great opportunities allow me to stay engaged in managed care pharmacy at a higher level, and drive important research that will fuel the future of managed care pharmacy.
What did you enjoy most about your internship experience?
Feeling invincible – I have never felt so alive and unstoppable in my life. The breadth of experiences offered to me as an AMCP Foundation intern were amazing. There was no more “oh wait, I think you’re confused, I’m just a student pharmacist.” Yes, I sat in on the United States House of Energy and Commerce Hearing to pass the PIE Act. Yes, I went to Pfizer headquarters. Yes, I met with FDA members and stood where the FDA Commissioner addresses the press. Yes, I went to a briefing with Commissioner Gottlieb. Yes, I went to AMCP Partnership Forums. Yes, I had daily conversations with lovely thought leaders like AMCP CEO Susan Cantrell. Yes, I went to visit pharmacy organizations like APhA, PTCB, NACDS, NCPA, ASCP, and more. I was out of my mind with opportunities, what students would call “crazy” opportunities. Writing about my experience now gives me goosebumps and draws a smile across my face.
Feeling valuable. The most important part of my internship was that I was important. Every morning, I was greeted with a smile and a genuine “how are you?” At first, I thought it was odd and maybe they were putting on a show. But no, every single morning without fail. AMCP/AMCP Foundation staff truly wanted to hear about my weekend and tell me about that new place down the street with the to-die-for gelato! It was a great feeling to be surrounded by such friendly people with the best of hearts. Throughout the day, no meeting started without my seat filled, and every meeting encouraged my input. Board meetings, educational webinars, research opportunities — my voice was incorporated into it all. Any gatherings, outings for lunch or coffee, I was eagerly invited to join. Although I was over one thousand miles away from Kansas City, I was home. My team, my now family, valued me and encouraged my inquisitive nature. That’s all I ever wanted as a student — to speak freely, to feel heard, and to belong. I love my AMCP/AMCP Foundation family. Without them, I wouldn’t be me.
What advice do you have for pharmacy students?
Be uncomfortable: If you’re comfortable, you’re not doing it right. Our purpose in life is to help and enrich others and that requires a significant amount of vulnerability. The stadium seats are not reserved for you. You aren’t the one to sit and criticize, you are the one fighting in the arena and learning from the many failures you will inevitably (and painfully) endure.
Be curious — no one has all the answers, not even Google. So anytime you don’t inquire further on something you don’t understand, you’re assumed to be an expert. Stop hesitating! Do what you need to do to get your questions addressed — raise your hand, interrupt class, or go the Jon Magness route and send smoke signals or flying doves! Your time to be great is now. Everything you do today impacts tomorrow you’re your future. Appreciate having the beautiful gifts curiosity offers. Nothing feels better than to understand, to feel that light bulb turn on.
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