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Lucinda L.Maine, PhD, RPh
"Never worked a day in my life!" This was the response of Nick Popovich, PhD, to the question of whether he enjoyed his career in academic pharmacy. Dr. Popovich serves as professor of pharmacy practice and chairs the department at a major US college of pharmacy. Certainly this award-winning pharmacy education leader works hard at his teaching, leading, and scholarly pursuits.
Yet, if you ask those committed to careers in academia why they love their work, you will hear similar responses: "I love mentoring and teaching future pharmacists. I have so much diversity and flexibility in the work I do. It is never boring!"
Pharmacy faculty positions vary, but all have some component of teaching, research, and other scholarly activities and service. Faculty teach in classrooms, laboratories, and in a wide variety of pharmacy practice settings.
Research and other scholarly activities span a vast landscape. Faculty members have discovered new drug molecules as well as receptor sites for pharmacologic activity; they work on dosage forms, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacogenomics. Health outcomes research, clinical trials, and sociobehavioral research are other examples of faculty research priorities.
Similar diversity is found in faculty member service activities. Advising student organizations and participating in community outreach projects represent service opportunities. Many faculty hold elected leadership roles in state and national pharmacy practice scientific specialty associations.
Diversity, creativity, and making a difference in the lives of others are all characteristics of academic careers. If you have an interest in changing the future of pharmacy, there simply is no better avenue than this!