Intern Alumnus Spotlight: Patrick Tokuyama, PharmD
More than 200 student pharmacists have participated in AMCP Foundation summer internships since our founding in 1990. We are pleased to shed light on our intern alumni in this reoccurring feature.
Name: Patrick Tokuyama
Current Title: Senior Director Pharmacist at United Healthcare
Internship Program: AMCP Foundation/Pfizer, Inc. Managed Care Internship
Internship Site: Long Beach VA
What is your role today and your responsibilities?
I’m a Senior Director Pharmacist at United Healthcare. I primarily work with Employer clients that offer Medicare Part D benefits to their members. Some of my responsibilities include leading interactions with our Sales and Account teams to meet client needs, driving the advancement of new solutions, and guiding formulary development.
What types of managed care practices do you use in your work?
One of the rewarding aspects of my work is consulting with clients on their pharmacy plan design. I enjoy helping them optimize their plans because it involves carefully analyzing factors such as tiering, coinsurance or copay, and utilization patterns. By examining these factors, I can provide recommendations that drive value for clients and their members.
Another part of my role is formulary management and ensuring that our utilization management programs are up-to-date and aligned with best practices. Recently, I helped drive a significant change to one of our long-standing programs that affect a large segment of our business. This change enhances the quality and safety of medication use for our members and providers while also reducing unnecessary costs and administrative burdens for us.
How did the AMCP Foundation internship prepare you for your career?
It allowed me to experience what managed care was like firsthand. I was always interested in managed care but didn’t fully understand what it would be like working in it. Having had the opportunity to experience it through the internship and then residency, I knew it was a potential career path for me. More importantly, it was how I met one of my mentors, that I still keep in touch today. I know I would not be where I am today had I not decided to step outside my comfort zone to join the program. I am very grateful to have had that opportunity.
What advice do you have for pharmacy students?
If there’s training that you’re interested in, do all that you can to get it. Talk to and get to know as many people as possible in the fields you’re interested in. Pharmacy has many options and opportunities that you can pursue. Internships, rotations, and residency together will give you good direction and clarity to discover what you truly enjoy by experiencing it firsthand.
What was your experience working on your capstone research project?
I had a great experience. I had always been curious about research and was excited to get my hands dirty. This was my first opportunity to take on a project from start to finish. I taught myself how to collect data using Access and then analyze it to determine if it was clinically meaningful and actionable. I faced a few challenges and setbacks! But I also enjoyed and felt proud of my work -- especially after I presented my findings and was able to look back at what I had learned and accomplished.
What are your interests outside of pharmacy?
I'm a pharmacist by day and plant-based Japanese cooking enthusiast by night! I'm the founder of the Japanese Cooking Club, Japanese cookbook author and food blogger at alldayieat.com. On my All Day I Eat Like a Shark food blog and YouTube channel, I share Japanese cooking videos and recipes. My goal is to inspire and empower others to cook more healthy Japanese food.