UK Student Lindsey Porter Gives Insight on Unique PharmD/MPA Joint Degree
Since 1997, the Martin School and the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy have jointly provided this unique dual degree program, the first of its type to be offered in the nation.
What year and program are you in?
I am a fourth year PharmD student at the UK College of Pharmacy as well as a third year MPA student with the Martin School.
What made you decide to pursue a joint PharmD/MPA degree?
UK is one of just a few schools nationwide that offer the PharmD/MPA dual degree, so it's a unique perspective that not a lot of pharmacists get. It's important for any healthcare professional to understand the broader policy arena and how healthcare fits into it so that we can help our patients who benefit from those programs as well as make improvements to them.
What does a typical week look like for you while pursuing this joint degree?
I try to treat my grad-school responsibilities like my full-time job, so I was at the pharmacy school in non-COVID times from around 8:00 am to 4:00 pm or 5:00 pm, then Martin School courses in the evening hours. Of course time was carved out for studying in the evenings after class, clinical rotations and shadowing experiences with clinical pharmacists at UK HealthCare, and work with UK HealthCare Ambulatory Pharmacy Services where I'm employed part-time.
What type of clinicals have you completed, and how did your Martin School courses impact your experience there?
I have had amazing opportunities to complete clinical rotations throughout my didactic coursework across the state from Paintsville, KY to right here in Lexington, where I have gained a better idea of the different ways policy and infrastructure impact public health as well as the programs and resources available to our patients. I am on my fourth year rotations now, and I have had two rotations with the Louisville VA health system as well as Humana. They both gave me a really unique perspective on the intersection of policy and how we effectively carry out access to medication.
Is there a particular policy area within the healthcare field that you are passionate about?
I would say I'm most passionate about management of state and federal insurance programming and how we make that more efficient to better serve beneficiaries in our state. The largest cost for most health systems and health plans is drug cost, so understanding how governments work with manufacturers to negotiate and help patients access care is a key part in serving those patients.
What type of career do you plan on pursuing after you graduate from UK?
Who knows! Hopefully something where I can combine the well-rounded experience I've gotten through UKCOP and the Martin School in developing policies that allow us to serve patients better.