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Chris Lim Named First Recipient of Harvard-Affiliated Clinical Informatics Internship

Chris Lim, PharmD ’20, has a unique background for a Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) student, having spent several years after college working as a roofer. Now another distinction makes him one of a kind: Lim is the first and only pharmacy student in the nation selected for a pharmacy clinical Informatics summer internship with the Division of Clinical Informatics (DCI), an academic and research group affiliated with the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Created to develop future pharmacy leaders, the internship incorporates a curriculum designed by Harvard Medical School faculty at DCI and Pfizer clinical informatics medical outcomes specialists. It gives Lim an opportunity to delve into the day-to-day activities of clinical informatics and pharmacy practice as well as complete a project related to reducing adverse drug interactions.

“It’s a good experience, great fit, and real boost for him,” says Talia Puzantian, an associate professor of clinical sciences at KGI’s School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Lim’s faculty advisor. “We have a PharmD program that’s a little different, with certificate programs, and Chris chose our certificate in Pharmacy Informatics to become expert in how to utilize data and technology to improve outcomes in healthcare and medication safety.”

“This is a fairly new niche in pharmacy, so there aren’t many programs like this internship.”

Lim earned an undergraduate degree in applied mathematics from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona and has a longtime interest in computers. He has also been an intern pharmacist and in-patient pharmacy volunteer at Whittier Hospital.

“I’m not 100 percent sure yet if clinical informatics is what I want to pursue as a career. That’s one of the reasons I decided to apply for this internship. My long-term goals are dependent on my short-term experience,” says Lim. 

Yet Lim learned of the internship opportunity only by chance. Puzantian explains that he followed up with an outside speaker who came to KGI, and she connected Lim to another professional colleague who told him about the new internship.

“So it was truly serendipity that he even found out about it,” says Puzantian. “This is a beautiful example of why it’s important to network.”

Lim will have more opportunities to network this summer as he interacts with pharmacists and clinical leaders at DCI and speaks with the faculty about their research.

“DCI is very research-based and considered an academic division. I want to soak up as much as I can and take advantage of every opportunity I have here,” says Lim, who hopes to pursue a pharmacy residency after he completes the PharmD program at KGI. “I love learning and being in a classroom way more than being up on a roof.”