05/5/20Categories: Alumni Pride
Our alumni spotlight is Christy McKenzie, PharmD (’12), BCCCP. Dr. McKenzie is an Emergency Medicine (EM) Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. She also pursued an uncommon track alongside her full-time role: working with the federal government!
Dr. McKenzie completed a PGY-1 Pharmacy Residency at Akron General Medical Center and a PGY-2 Emergency Medicine Pharmacy Residency at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and Robert Wood Johnson. She is also a Board Certified Critical Care Pharmacist. Dr. McKenzie was the first adult EM specialist hired and helped establish pharmacy clinical services in the Emergency Department (ED) including trauma care at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. She responds to critical patients at their bedside including strokes, trauma, cardiac emergencies, intubations and critical patients. Dr. McKenzie also assists with order verification. Alongside these tasks, she participates in system-level committee work, including the interprofessional EM Quality Network which assists with operations and providing high quality patient care.
How to Get Involved with the Federal Government
Outside of her regular work responsibilities, Dr. McKenzie responds to disasters or ongoing events as directed by the Department of Health and Human Services, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response with a Disaster Medical Assistance Team. There are several ways to get involved with the federal government as a pharmacist and one of the ways to get involved is by joining the Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT).
The Disaster Medical Assistance Team
DMATs consist of multiple disciplines in the medical field and are ready to help during times of crisis or great need. The pharmacist on the team assists with delivering pharmacy care, maintaining custody and integrity of medications, organizing the pharmacy, and helping ensure the pharmacy is run in accordance with federal laws. The DMAT pharmacist may also network with local community pharmacies or healthcare organizations to ensure the needs of the patients under their care are met.
Every mission is different! You could be the only pharmacist or there could be several of you. If you’re interested in learning more about Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, click here.
Advice to Future Students
When discussing her career path, Dr. McKenzie mentioned that all her coursework at NEOMED has helped immensely in her daily activities! Her advice for current students is to focus on becoming a pharmacist first with a goal in mind of where you want to go. Network with faculty and alumni and reach out to anyone who possesses a career you’re interested in! Lastly, study hard and pay attention to lecture materials. The knowledge learned in the pharmacy curriculum will allow you to go far.