Alumna Spotlight - Kristin Gillard, PhD, PharmD

When did you graduate and what was your degree?
I graduated from the University of Arizona in 2016 with a PhD from the Pharmaceutical Economics, Policy, and Outcomes Research track within the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program. I have my PharmD from the University of Southern California (Class of 2009).

Where have you been employed in other types of pharmacy/practice settings?
In addition to working as a consultant (my current employer, Xcenda), I've also worked in the pharmaceutical industry as a member of an HEOR department.

How did your education help you launch your career in pharmacy?
My education was critical in launching my career. Since pharmacoeconomics is such a specialized and technical field, it requires training beyond that of a PharmD education. I needed to learn the foundations of outcomes research to be able to perform my job effectively. As HEOR becomes a more popular field, the job market becomes more competitive. Having a solid educational and research foundation is one of the ways to differentiate yourself from other candidates.

What advice do you have for new students?
Try to get as much "real world" experience as you can while in school. Grades and studying are important to an extent, but my colleagues that are most successful today were not the ones getting perfect scores on their therapeutics exams. Working as a summer intern or engaging in a research project outside of your class curriculum gives you great perspective and helps you to better understand the big picture when it comes to your career. I was fortunate enough to be able to stay in the work force while finishing my PhD. Although extremely grueling at times, my on-the-job experience helped me to prioritize tasks towards completing my degree and get to my end goal as efficiently as possible, without being slowed down by extraneous details.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
The pharmacy profession is one of the most versatile I have come across, which is why it appealed to me during my time as an undergraduate. There is almost certainly a career path within this profession that will be a good fit for you and your career; it is just a matter of finding it.


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