Pharmacy Perspectives - Graduation 2019 - 15

G R A D UAT I O N 2 0 1 9

Dr. Marucci's type of work, while not the norm for
CU Pharmacy graduates, is becoming more common
as technology plays a bigger role in the field of pharmacy, according to Katy Trinkley, PharmD, associate
professor of clinical pharmacy.
"We are going to see increasingly more people go
down similar paths as Dean did," she predicts.
Megan Thompson, PharmD, director of experiential programs, agrees.
"I am finding that more and more students are
interested in combining their pharmacy knowledge
and tech skills, and finding jobs that will support it,"
she says. "Our pharmacy students are thinking very
creatively about improving patient safety, drug monitoring, and medication management. Tabula Rasa and
other companies like it are really providing a platform
for pharmacy students to share these innovative ideas."
Dr. Marucci's route to a PharmD began when he
was 13 or 14 years old and a family friend explained
his work as the pharmacy director at Swedish Medical
Center in Englewood. "I thought (the job) was cool,"
Dr. Marucci recalls.
Computers fascinated him, too. In high school,
Dr. Marucci was on the web development team and
learned to code. In college, he started fixing computers
for friends and building his own.
CU Pharmacy does not require a bachelor's degree
for admission. Dr. Marucci completed his pharmacy
prerequisites at the University of Colorado and then
received a bachelor's degree in medical science during
his first year at CU Pharmacy.
He explored different types of pharmacy during his
first two years of school, but didn't find the right fit.
Then, in his third year, came pharmacogenomics with
Christina Aquilante, PharmD, professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and pharmacy informatics with Dr. Trinkley.
"That was a game-changer," he remembers. But he
still wasn't sure what came next.
A classmate suggested he speak with Dr. Thompson
about P4 rotations that mixed technology and pharmacy. Dr. Marucci was the first student to ask about
such an opportunity, she recalls, and she had no immediate matches. At a national pharmacy meeting a few
weeks later, Dr. Thompson met people from Tabula
Rasa, who enthusiastically agreed to her request to host
a rotation for a student with IT experience.
"Dean was the first student I had met with who said
he was interested in this field, and this was the first company that said yes to taking students," Dr. Thompson
says. "Dean had the right attitude, right personality
and the technical skills to do something like this. In
short, I knew he would be a good representative of the
school." Tabula Rasa remains among CU Pharmacy's
1,000 rotation sites worldwide and Dr. Thompson
hopes to match students to the company in the future.

"I am finding that more and more students are
interested in combining their pharmacy knowledge
and tech skills, and finding jobs that will support it."
- Megan Thompson, PharmD, director of experiential programs

The rotation went well and the company offered
Dr. Marucci a job just before graduation.
Dr. Marucci works from Colorado for Tabula Rasa.
He is an informatics support specialist and works in
business development for one of the company's products called NiaRx.
NiaRx is a cloud-based software program that
provides electronic health records (EHR) training and
patient-case simulation for pharmacy students. It uses
the company's MedWise software platform to identify
accumulative multi-drug interactions to help manage
patients' medication regimens.
"I've been able to use my PharmD degree to
create clinical content for NiaRx," Dr. Marucci explains. He also sells the product to pharmacy schools
around the country.
"My degree allows me to understand pharmacy
schools' needs," he continues. "I'm also able to understand the needs of pharmacists and pharmacy
students and (have the technology skills) to express
their wants and needs to our development team. I can
speak both languages."

The education he received at CU Pharmacy, especially in pharmacogenomics, set him apart from other
schools' pharmacy graduates, Dr. Marucci believes.
"I couldn't have done it without CU Pharmacy. I
am building on the foundation they gave me," he says.
The school, especially Dean Ralph Altiere, PhD,
recognizes that technology is playing a bigger
role in healthcare and students must be trained
"When our graduates enter the workforce, they
need different skills compared to past graduates," Dr.
Trinkley says. They must understand the capabilities of
technology and how they work with them, whether it
is a pill-dispensing kiosk, an EHR, or Watson Health,
IBM's powerful artificial intelligence tool for solving
health challenges.
Equally important, Dr. Trinkley says, graduates
must know how to think creatively, show empathy
and communicate skillfully - things that machines
cannot do.
"Dr. Altiere sees that and is making sure our students
are prepared for that," Dr. Trinkley says.


Pharmacy Perspectives - Graduation 2019

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