Intern Alumna Spotlight: Melissa McCart, PharmD, MS
Originally published in the February 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. This is a double spotlight of sorts — Melissa also excelled in our Annual National Student Pharmacist P&T Competition!
Name: Melissa McCart, PharmD, MS
Current Title: Senior Director of Integrated Technology Solutions, Xcenda
Internship Program: AMCP Foundation/Allergan Plc Specialized Summer Internship in Health Outcomes
Internship Site: Allergan Plc
What is your role today and your responsibilities?
I am currently the Senior Director of Integrated Technology Solutions at Xcenda. My responsibilities include management of FormularyDecisions, which is a platform that aims to connect health care decision makers and life sciences companies together in an information exchange. In addition, I manage all of Xcenda’s custom software solutions, from website development to custom analytics tools we commonly call outcomes analyzers. I love my position because it has allowed me the ability to combine my experience in HEOR over the last 10 years into a variety of different arenas. I also get to work shoulder to shoulder with a variety of people with different educational backgrounds in my position and communicate with many stakeholders in the industry. I can confidently say that my AMCP Foundation internship and P&T Competition experiences were foundational (no pun intended) in giving me the confidence to dive into new arenas such as technology solutions.
What types of managed care practices do you use in your work?
My intersection with managed care is rooted in understanding what information is important to support decision making within managed care. What information is needed and why? When? How is it best delivered? And from an HEOR perspective, what additional evidence should be generated to support decision making from the payer perspective?
What was it like to compete in the national finals for AMCP Foundation’s P&T Competition?
I had the opportunity to compete three times at nationals, and every time it was still just as nerve-racking and exhilarating. The preparation that went into the competition was unlike anything else I did in my school career. To anyone who is considering the P&T Competition, getting to the point where you complete your submission is itself winning. There is so much learning and exposure that happens in just the exercise of competing.
What do you recall about the case study, and any specific items from the team assignments?
One funny recollection was having to present clinical information about progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy during the national competition. It was somewhat terrifying to have to get up in front of a crowd and say those words with confidence! Practice, practice, practice those presentation skills!
How did the P&T Competition round out your education, beyond what the PharmD curriculum and your AMCP Foundation internship exposed you to?
P&T pushed me not just in the clinical or economic learnings, but in how to work together as a cohesive team, to have each other’s back, and to push through when it feels like a mountain needs to be moved. More than anything, completing the P&T submission instills grit and determination to get through a challenge. That has been one of my biggest learnings and part of how I have approached every worthwhile opportunity ever since in my career.
What advice do you have for pharmacy students?
Be politely persistent about what matters to you and where you want to get experience. Put yourself out there in getting to know others in the positions or career paths that interest you. Don’t give up if something doesn’t come to fruition right away. If an opportunity isn’t laid out for you to grasp on to, look for ways to gain the experience elsewhere. Ask if you can be involved or learn from others. The worst thing that can happen is that you’re met with a “no” or no answer. Your perseverance will shine through.