Six Students from KGI’s School of Pharmacy Present Their Research at the American Managed Care Pharmacy National Conference

Six third-year students from Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) ‘s School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (SPHS)—Syed Ahmed, Raymond Ching, Paulina Tran, Felicia Lee, Andrew Sparacino, and Andrea Roman—presented their research at the American Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) National Conference, which was held from March 21-24 in San Antonio, Texas. This is the highest number of KGI students ever to attend the conference and the first time that KGI students have given poster presentations—four in total, centered around Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and schizophrenia.

The posters presented were titled:

  1. Comparative Adverse Drug Reaction Rates of Auvelity versus Current Standard of Care Antidepressants Among Patients with Major Depressive Disorder (An Indirect Assessment of Clinical Trials Data)
  2. The real-world rates of treatment changes for patients with major depressive disorder newly initiated on antidepressants: A Targeted Literature Review
  3. Economic Impact of Patients with Major Depressive Disorder and Newly Initiated on Auvelity versus Escitalopram (A Decision Analysis)
  4. Understanding the Factors Associated with Medication Non-Adherence in Schizophrenia Patients in the US: A Targeted Literature Review

“It was a great hit,” said Dr. Nazia Rashid, SPHS Associate Professor of Administrative Sciences and KGI’s AMCP organization co-advisor. “I had the opportunity to mentor these students and help guide their research. I am so proud of them. I put a lot of time and effort into them—these students are so smart, they need guidance—and now I feel like I’m seeing the fruit of my labor.”

AMCP is a national organization focusing on managed care pharmacy, which helps providers keep costs down for healthcare plans while maintaining quality. The conference is driven and run by pharmacists, featuring three keynote speakers, over 75 companies, 34 education sessions, and over 4,000 attendees.

“It’s a huge and respected conference in the pharmacy field,” Rashid said. “For the students, it opened their eyes to another side of pharmacy that they didn’t understand—we’re not just clinicians; we can play a vital role in helping policymakers to make key decisions. Showcasing their research at the conference level and networking with professionals helped them to improve their communication skills and confidence.”

At the conference, students could network with managed care pharmacists and organizations, attend exhibits from major industry players such as Abbott and Gilead, have meaningful conversations about the pharmacy field, explore opportunities in managed care, and discuss their research among managed care professionals.

“During the poster presentations, I had the opportunity to talk to some of the people walking by about our findings and how we conducted the research,” Ahmed, PharmD ’24, said. “I could also connect with others who had their posters up. It was nice to share the work we’ve put in that represents our class and the school as a whole.”

Additionally, students attended sessions to improve their pharmacy knowledge and learn about the top strategic pharmacy trends and priorities. They also participated in a health economics and outcomes research (HEOR) fellows dinner and other events to learn about fellowship opportunities.

 “I had a great time at AMCP,” Tran, PharmD ’24, said.

“The conference provided amazing opportunities for a first-time pharmacy conference experience. I could network with many companies I had never heard of before, gain valuable information about the hiring/fellowship process, and have meaningful introductions.”

“I am very grateful to Dr. Rashid for being such a wonderful mentor throughout the conference. She guided us on how to conduct ourselves professionally and was there to hype us up during poster presentations. I couldn’t be more appreciative of her,” Tran said.

Attendees connected with KGI alumni Dr. Carolyn Saba, PharmD ’22, and Dr. Richard Abaniel, PharmD ’20. Saba is a HEOR fellow at Thomas Jefferson University, while Abaniel is a Medical Affairs Manager.

“I’m delighted to have made these two connections,” Ahmed said. “It was beneficial talking to Carolyn since I am pursuing a similar field. And it was great connecting with Richard as well, as he has had so much industry experience and was able to offer us his guidance and expertise on landing fellowships.”

Ahmed recommends that pharmacy students attend a conference such as this one, especially if this is the first time they have been to one.

“I understand that some students may be a little hesitant due to the costs,” Ahmed said. “But this is an investment in your future. Pharmacy is a small world; you never know who you may meet again. So it’s essential to put yourself out there and make those connections. I feel very fulfilled as a student, and I’m excited to attend my next conference.”