Summer Intern Perspectives: Ileka Ifejika
My name is Ileka Ifejika and I am currently a 3rd year Doctor of Pharmacy candidate at Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Pharmacy. I had the opportunity to be an AMCP Foundation/Genentech, Inc. Evidence for Access Summer Intern along with my co-intern Adam O’Neil. I spent eleven weeks at the South San Francisco campus in the US Medical Affairs (USMA): Evidence for Access (E4A) Medical Unit at Genentech and one week in Alexandria, Virginia at AMCP headquarters. Prior to my pharmacy schooling, I had gained significant insight in Managed Care through my MPH training at the Dornsife school of Public Health at Drexel University. I understood that healthcare was shifting towards value based care and wanted to be at the forefront of practices that influence healthcare delivery.
During my time at Genentech, I conducted research with the Health Policy & System Research (HPSR) team led by Tracy Mayne and Dae Choi served as my preceptor. I developed a research project that focused on identifying trends in the insights provided by broad healthcare stakeholders that may impact the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s (ICER) value assessment framework for chronic and curative drug therapies. I presented my research to the E4A team as well as all of USMA during the Genentech Intern Poster showcase. Through that experience, I met other interns within E4A in different functional areas and learned about their backgrounds and current work.
This was my first experience in an industry setting. As a result, I had to be more proactive early on in learning the about different departments and functional areas within Medical Affairs. I was able to learn about the insights that go into HPSR. For example, when generating evidence that influences healthcare decision making, you have to tailor your research to meet specific stakeholder needs and effectively communicate your findings. In addition, you have to identify the future implications beyond your research. These are unique skills that an individual does not develop immediately. It requires practice and experience which I intend to continue to build on.
During my one week rotation at AMCP headquarters, Brittany Vogel and Christine Cooper served as my preceptors. They provided me a robust experience in which I was able to diversify and expand my managed care knowledge base. As a previous student chapter president of AMCP, I owe a lot of my learning and development in managed care to AMCP. I learned about the processes behind planning and coordinating both AMCP Annual and Nexus conferences as well as the different continuing education webinars and resources available to students and other healthcare professionals. I also attended a healthcare summit which gave me practical insight in terms of the processes that go into creating and lobbying for programs that address current issues in healthcare such as payment and financial models for curative therapies. I met with key personnel that were involved in programs that were formed from previous healthcare summits such as the Biologics and Biosimilars Collective Intelligence Consortium and the Pharmacy Information Exchange Act. I was also able to build on my communication and interpersonal skills by presenting my research to the AMCP staff and in networking with pharmacy APPE students, interns, and fellows from the Pharmacy Quality Alliance, the American Society of Health System Pharmacy, and the American Pharmacists Association during Intern day at AMCP.
I want to personally thank key individuals from both Genentech and the AMCP Foundation who helped make this experience like no other. Paula Eichenbrenner and Ebony Clay were very influential in helping to develop a program like this to give students like myself a chance to expand their knowledge base outside of the classroom and help build their national exposure and awareness. I want to thank the CEO of AMCP, Susan Cantrell, for providing such an inclusive atmosphere for myself and in providing me key insights and resources that I can take with me moving forward. Brittany Vogel and Christine Cooper served as fantastic preceptors during this experience as I was exposed to various opportunities to engage with key personnel. In addition, they provided me significant feedback on ways to continue to grow and advance in my career. There were other key members from AMCP which I met that I want personally thank as well such as: Terry Richardson, Puneet Singh, Cate Lockhart, Mary Jo Carden, and Cindy Reilly.
For Genentech, I want to start by thanking Emily Cook and Pattie Strong for assisting me with any and all of my concerns throughout this experience. I want to also thank the HPSR team. Specifically, Tracy Mayne, Dae Choi, and Yeun Mi Yim for always providing me feedback paramount to my growth and allowing me to apply them with the utmost autonomy. I want to thank the VP of the E4A department, Jan Hansen. It was an honor to be a product of one of her visions in further supporting and promoting the value and need of HPSR. Lastly, I want to thank my co-intern Adam O’Neil who I shared this unique experience with. I can now say that we share very similar career interests and can continue to learn from one another as colleagues both now and in the future.
As I matriculate through my pharmacy schooling and beyond, I can look back and say that this was one of the most profound and robust experiences in my life. As I mentioned earlier, healthcare is shifting to value based care, and there is a need for individuals to be exposed to diverse opportunities within the scope of pharmacy practice. I highly recommend that future pharmacy students take advantage of this novel and innovative opportunity.