May 16, 2018

Amy Pasternak, PharmD, recently completed the Clinical Pharmacy Translational Science (CPTS) Post-Doctoral Fellowship program at University of Michigan College of Pharmacy. Dr. Pasternak is currently a clinical assistant professor of pharmacy at the U-M College of Pharmacy and a clinical pharmacist with Michigan Medicine. Her primary clinical and research interest is the implementation of pharmacogenetics into clinical practice. Dr. Pasternak recently shared her experiences with the CPTS program, and what those interested in the field should know. 

What motivated you to apply to the U-M Pharmacy CPTS post-doc fellowship?

I was exposed to clinical research during my residency training, and about half way through my PGY-2 year I realized that I wanted to gain more research experience and exposure to an academic environment. I met with the U-M Pharmacy CPTS program at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear meeting and I was impressed by the unique structure of the program and the diversity of the faculty, particularly the number of faculty who specialized in pharmacogenetics, which is my primary area of interest.

Could you describe your time as a fellow? What did you take away from the experience?

My fellowship allowed me to have a wide variety of experiences, and I really appreciated the program’s flexibility as my interests evolved. In regards to research, I was able to gain experience in retrospective and prospective study design and execution and participated in many collaborations with clinicians in different specialties in the health system. I had many opportunities to improve my scientific writing through both grant applications and manuscripts and liked how I was able to get feedback on projects from the faculty in the department through the monthly Fellows Seminars. I also gained valuable teaching experience working with the PharmD students. In addition to the resources offered directly through the CPTS program, I also appreciated the ability to partake in University-wide resources, such as the Preparing Future Faculty seminar, which served as a great resource as I prepped for job interviews. I feel like I had a very well rounded experience, allowing for both development as a researcher and other professional development that was customized to my goals for fellowship.

How do you think the fellowship prepared you for your current position?

I do not think I would have pursued an academic position without my fellowship training. Residency allowed me to become comfortable as a clinical pharmacist, but I still felt inexperienced when it came to mentorship, teaching, and scholarship. Fellowship gave me the opportunity to gain exposure in these areas, which in turn made me feel prepared to pursue a faculty position.

What advice would you give to someone considering a CPTS post-doc fellowship?

Identify the faculty member(s) who have projects that sound interesting to you and reach out to them to get more information, as this will give you an initial idea of the types of experiences that may be available. Do not be afraid to contact faculty even if your interests do not completely overlap, as there may be ways the faculty can incorporate your skills and ideas.

More on Dr. Amy Pasternak

Dr. Pasternak earned her PharmD from the Ohio Northern University Raabe College of Pharmacy in 2014. After graduation, she was a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights, OH. Prior to beginning the CPTS Post-Doctoral Fellowship program at U-M, Dr. Pasternak completed the PGY-2 Clinical Pharmacogenetics Residency at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.