June 14, 2023 | Downers Grove, IL
Three residents and one fellow who completed their pharmacy and fellowship programs were honored at a special recognition ceremony at Midwestern University’s Downers Grove Campus on Friday, June 9.
The honorees were Jack Chang, Pharm.D., Michael Dickens, Pharm.D., Alexandra Statczar, Pharm.D., and Farah Sukkari, Pharm.D. Dr. Chang spent three years at Midwestern University as a fellow and is a May 2019 graduate of the College of Pharmacy, Downers Grove. He finished the PGY2 Infectious Diseases Pharmacotherapy Fellowship. Dr. Sukkari is a March 2022 graduate of the College of Pharmacy, Downers Grove and completed the PGY1 Community Pharmacy Residency. Dr. Dickens completed PGY2 Infectious Diseases Residency, and he is the last resident in this program as it is not offered next year. Dr. Statczar finished PGY2 Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Residency.
Dr. Statczar discussed her experience in the program. “I have been so fortunate to train under preceptors that practice at the top of their fields in a variety of disease states. I have expanded my clinical knowledge in various chronic disease states and feel well prepared to start my career as an ambulatory care pharmacist.”
Dr. Statczar added, “Since pharmacy school, I have always wanted to pursue a career in ambulatory care to work directly with patients and providers. I will be doing exactly this next year and I am looking forward to the opportunity.”
The preceptors and the program environment inspired Dr. Statczar to pursue the advanced training opportunity. “During my PGY2 residency interview, I felt so welcomed by all the program preceptors and clinic physicians. The program environment was very inclusive and supportive, and this was evident throughout the interview day.”
Dr. Statczar shared her career plans upon completion of the program. “I accepted a position as an ambulatory care pharmacist with the chronic disease state management team at Advocate Medical Group Southeast.”
Dr. Schumacher congratulated Dr. Statczar upon her residency completion.
Christie Schumacher, Pharm.D., Professor of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Director of the PGY2 Ambulatory Care Residency Program at the College of Pharmacy, Downers Grove, added that during Dr. Statczar’s time in the program, “She trained and worked collaboratively with the site team to manage chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart failure, hypertension, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and asthma.”
Dr. Sukkari also shared her experience in the PGY1 Community Pharmacy Residency with Jewel-Osco. “This program offered me a unique opportunity to become a well-rounded pharmacist with strong skills in patient care, corporate leadership, teaching, and advanced community practice.” She added, “The purpose of this program is to build upon the doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) education and outcomes to develop community-based pharmacist practitioners with diverse patient care, leadership, and education skills.”
She also said, “I knew when I graduated from pharmacy school that I wanted an additional year of training that would allow me to work at the top of my license with unique opportunities and expand the scope of pharmacy practice in my community.” Upon program completion, Dr. Sukkari plans to work as a community pharmacist with Jewel-Osco.
Dr. Dickens completed the PGY2 Infectious Diseases program.
Dr. Dickens discussed his residency in the PGY2 Infectious Diseases program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he will continue working following the completion of the program. “Every day, what I’m doing is what I hope to ultimately do,” and added the residency is an opportunity for complete immersion in his ultimate career goal. His interest is in antimicrobial stewardship, including antibiotic-resistant infections and how they are treated.
Dr. Chang is a fellow of the PGY2 Infectious Diseases Pharmacotherapy Fellowship, and said, “I would definitely recommend the fellowship for anyone that’s interested in looking to jumpstart their career in translational clinical research, the academic setting, or for industry position because this program gives you all the tools you need to become a successful applicant in any of those areas.” He continued, “Fellowship is really unique, especially the way it is set up,” adding the fellowship prepared him for the clinical pharmacologist position he accepted at Gilead Sciences in California.
The Downers Grove Campus of Midwestern University offers three pharmacy residency and fellowship programs: PGY1 (postgraduate year one) Community Pharmacy Residency, PGY2 (postgraduate year 2) Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Residency, and Infectious Diseases Pharmacy Fellowship.
Susan Winkler, Pharm.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the College of Pharmacy, Downers Grove, discussed the benefits of the programs. “The residency program directors and fellowship director work closely with the resident/fellow to provide instruction, mentoring and guidance during the program. Residents gain clinical and teaching experience during the program and Fellows gain direct laboratory research experience,” Dr. Winkler said.
The PGY1 Community Pharmacy Residency program through the Midwestern University College of Pharmacy, Downers Grove (MWU-CPDG), offers participants the experience of caring for patients in a community pharmacy via a partnership with Jewel-Osco’s pharmacy.
The PGY2 Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Residency program has a site of practice located at Advocate Medical Group Southeast Clinic in Chicago, where PGY2 residents gain experience in a variety of disease states and ambulatory care settings.
Dr. Schumacher said, “For the PGY2 ambulatory care residency program, the resident learns how to develop and manage an ambulatory care clinical practice and work under a collaborative practice agreement with physicians.”
Dr. Schumacher added, “Residents in the PGY2 ambulatory care program gain extensive experience working in primary care and in endocrinology and cardiology. By the end of the residency, they are functioning independently and gain experience prescribing and working collaboratively with the healthcare team managing a variety of disease states. They have pursued careers in academia, ambulatory care management and as clinical pharmacists after completion of this program. They also gain experience teaching at the College and presenting at national meetings, which helps them prepare for developing presentations and assessments in their future careers.”
In connection with Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the Infectious Diseases Pharmacotherapy Fellowship has opportunities in clinical practice. This fellowship focuses on research in Infectious Diseases Pharmacology and Pharmacometrics and is under the direction of Marc Scheetz, Pharm.D., Associate Dean of Research and Professor of the College of Pharmacy, Professor of the College of Graduate Studies in the Departments of Pharmacology and Biomedical Sciences, and Director of the Pharmacometrics Center of Excellence at Midwestern University.
Dr. Chang completed his fellowship under the direction of Dr. Scheetz.
“Fellows become adept in clinical and translational research skills,” Dr. Scheetz said, “Our fellows have gone on to high-level careers and have become leaders in academia, regulatory environments (e.g. FDA), and industry. Dr. Chang led important field-changing translational work and published 13 manuscripts during his fellowship in prestigious journals such as Clinical Infectious Diseases, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Clinical Pharmacokinetics, and Pharmacotherapy.” Dr. Chang will be the 12th fellow trained by Dr. Scheetz since 2008.