Pharmacy Doc Promotes UC at World Conference
Published August 2006
Teresa Cavanaugh recently gave herself a 40th birthday present—a doctorate from UC’s College of Pharmacy.
It’s a surprise to those who know Cavanaugh, because she hated math and science in high school. But that didn’t stop her from pursuing a profession that would allow her to interact with patients.
“It turns out that I’m actually pretty good at math and science,” Cavanaugh laughs.
Later this month, she will travel to Brazil for the 66th annual meeting of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP).
For the first time in the organization’s history, the industrial pharmacy section invited students and pharmacists wordwide with five years or less experience to participate in a symposium at the Aug. 25–31 event.
Cavanaugh’s presentation, “Unique Curriculum Creates Unique Pharmacists” is one of 12 chosen from nearly 50 submissions, and she is the only member selected from the United States.
“It’s important for students and new pharmacists to present information to their peers,” says Adel Sakr, PhD, professor and director of the industrial pharmacy program and organizer of the symposium. “It gives them an opportunity to stand on their ownand deal with questions—it really helps with their development.”
Cavanaugh’s oral presentation focuses on the college’s modular curriculum, which exposes students to 84 career paths in all branches of pharmacy, while emphasizing clinicalpharmacy and communication skills.
Several classes are offered on a continuum. Others weave topics from one class into another—learning the therapeutics of cardiovascular diseases, for example, and then using that knowledge in a skills lab where students learn to counsel patients.
“American pharmacy places great importance on counseling and interaction with patients,” says Cavanaugh. “This isn’t always the case around the world. That’s why it’s important for us to share this concept, because this is one of the paramount ways pharmacists can affect patient care.”
Cavanaugh’s path to a PharmD degree began years ago after she completed a year of liberal arts studies at the University of Hawaii.
“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do,” she says. “Then I met my husband and decided I really wanted to be a wife and mother.” Her desire to stay home with her children—Ryane, now 20, Caitlyn, 17, and Casey, 13—led to an eight year, home-based business transcribing medical records. Her intrigue with medicine grew, and she decided to pursue pharmacy school.
“Going to school wasn’t just a sacrifice for me—it was a sacrifice for my family too,” says
Cavanaugh. “I often had my books and studied at my kids’ basketball games and swim meets. They didn’t resent my schooling, and they let me know when they really needed me. They’ve been my biggest fans.”
Cavanaugh says her husband of 21 years, Mark, occasionally rolled his eyes when she told him she was getting involved with yet another organization or student activity.
“He didn’t want me to feel overwhelmed,” she explains. “He’s been tremendously supportive.”
Cavanaugh, currently a pharmacy practice resident at University Hospital, credits her involvement and increasing love of the profession to the faculty.
“Many faculty members belong to organizations that are helping advance the profession,” she says. “They really reach out to students, help them learn what’s out there and encourage them to participate. If they didn’t take the time to do that, I don’t think I would have been as actively involved.”