Intern Alumnus Spotlight: Henry Lee
Celebrating 30 years, more than 200 student pharmacists have participated in AMCP Foundation summer internships since our founding in 1990. We are pleased to highlight our intern alumni in this recurring feature.
Name: Henry Lee
Current Title: Associate Director, Global Pharma Services
Internship Program: AMCP Foundation/Pfizer, Inc. Managed Care Internship
Internship Site: U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Long Beach
What is your role today and your responsibilities?
I am an Associate Director in the Global Pharma Services organization at Cencora, formerly known as AmerisourceBergen. I specifically work on the FormularyDecisions platform, as a Product Manager. My responsibilities to the platform include leading analytics development and data insights workstreams; acceptance testing of platform enhancements; developing and managing clinical, scientific, and managed care content; and, showcasing this content optimally in platform features. My daily work is a stimulating mix of clinical pharmacy, computer programming, analytical expertise, managed care concepts, and platform product management.
What types of managed care practices do you use in your work?
The FormularyDecisions platform has both manufacturer stakeholders as well as health care decision maker (HCDM) stakeholders, so it is very exciting to consider managed care concepts from both perspectives.
HCDMs utilize FormularyDecisions to obtain clinical and economic information to guide their formulary decision-making process, so I ensure that the platform has the most up-to-date and accurate product and disease state information. Additionally, I stay abreast on current high-visibility topics that would be of interest to HCDMs to populate the specialized content of the platform, to develop the best insights for the HCDMs, and also guide the development of any platform enhancements that are the most relevant and useful. These high-visibility topics can include legislative updates, FDA regulatory updates, along with the latest updates and findings on biosimilar and cell and gene products, any clinical guidelines updates, and scrutinizing formulary and managed care landscape tracking databases.
How did the AMCP Foundation internship prepare you for your career?
The internship was very eye-opening for me and, in many ways, changed the direction of my career. The AMCP Foundation internship was the first experience that showed me how managed care could be practiced from so many intersecting perspectives: health systems (inpatient and outpatient), health plans, the Veterans Affairs (VA) care system, the pharmaceutical manufacturers looking to secure managed markets market access, and the policy and regulation perspective.
That early exposure to a career in managed care broadened my understanding of the unlimited ways that pharmacists can impact patients’ lives and inspired more passion for my profession. Seeing the bigger picture of managed care also caused me to seek more managed care specialized pharmacy career opportunities, which ultimately led me to my current position where I can lead effectively and mix many managed care perspectives.
I’m grateful to Dr. Ivy Tonnu-Mihara for her amazing mentorship as my preceptor at VA- Long Beach Health Care System, Dr. Johnny Sawada, and Dr. Jeff Day as my Pfizer preceptors. I also thank the AMCP Foundation for an amazing opportunity. One of the highlights of pharmacy school was during my AMCP HQ visit — to be in the room in Washington DC, where healthcare leaders were debating the merits and details of the landmark Affordable Care Act healthcare reform legislation (2010) was super exciting!
What advice do you have for pharmacy students?
Be actively curious about what careers pharmacists can have. You’d be surprised at the variety that is out there, especially in managed care and the pharmaceutical industry. You can learn more by joining student professional organizations, building networks, attending conferences, and finding mentors who represent the different fields of pharmacy. Often, professional organizations will have special programs that include hands-on training and experiences, such as the P&T competition with AMCP, and specialized internships, like the AMCP Foundation internship. Also, you can learn more about non-traditional pharmacy careers because pharmacy schools usually offer electives and 4th-year elective rotations that may help provide further opportunities. I highly recommend having an open mind and exploring different fields of pharmacy to determine what you might enjoy.
Once you have found a specific field you are interested in, try reaching out to your network for further information about potential summer internships or post-graduate positions geared toward that area of pharmacy. Many pharmacy fields now require post-graduate training through either a residency or a fellowship, so it's important to prepare and have a plan for the application process. Read about the different programs and ask your network what you can do to prepare yourself for whichever post-graduate program is best suited for you and your future plans.
What was your experience working on your capstone research project?
I had a great experience! Dr. Tonnu-Mihara, my preceptor, assigned me a hot-button research topic during my summer internship at VA Long Beach, so not only was it my first time designing a research project from beginning to end, but it was also my first time conducting research that may actually influence or change healthcare delivery policy for a whole organization, so it was very exciting. I learned how to use many tools like Microsoft Access, the VA electronic health record system, how to code in SAS, etc. I conducted analysis and generated usable insights that showed clinically meaningful differences, which I presented to our VA-Long Beach leadership. After hearing my recommendations, the leadership team changed our policy, ultimately leading to improved outcomes for our patients!
That year, I also presented my research at the AMCP Educational Conference. It was my first time creating an academic research poster, my first experience at a national conference as a presenter and not just as an attendee, and also the first time I had the opportunity to discuss my poster and research with healthcare leaders from around the country. My poster won an honor that year! Another great highlight from pharmacy school was the AMCP Foundation internship.
What are your interests outside of pharmacy?
Outside of pharmacy, I am interested in real estate investing and spending quality time with my family and friends. I have one lively 5-year-old boy and I am expecting a newborn baby boy soon!