PVM Veterinary Pharmacy Residency has Prescription for Success

Accomplishments Come Quickly for First PVM Veterinary Pharmacy Resident 

As Purdue’s inaugural Veterinary Pharmacy Resident, Lauren Eichstadt, an avid equestrian, found the perfect prescription for pursuing her career objectives.
As Purdue’s inaugural Veterinary Pharmacy Resident, Lauren Eichstadt, an avid equestrian, found the perfect prescription for pursuing her career objectives.

It was less than a year ago when Lauren Eichstadt received the exciting news that she had been selected as the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine’s first veterinary pharmacy resident.  It seemed the perfect opportunity for the avid horseback rider who earned her PharmD in May 2015 at the University of Findlay College of Pharmacy, where she helped create a pharmacy-equestrian dual major pathway.  Now, as she nears the completion of her unique one-year residency experience at Purdue, she already knows where her first job will be and has the benefit of an American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Walmart Scholar award to kick-start her career.

When Lauren heard about the Veterinary Pharmacy Residency Program, Purdue was just the nation's third university offering a residency program in veterinary clinical pharmacy practice, and the only one housing both colleges of veterinary medicine and pharmacy on the same campus.  The program was billed as a unique opportunity for pharmacists to gain experience working with both veterinarians and pharmacists to build a knowledge base in veterinary pharmacy that would open-up exciting new career opportunities.  For Lauren, the Purdue program has lived-up to its promise.

“When I started here I felt like I had walked into the clinical year of veterinary school without doing the first three years,” Lauren remembers.  “I spent a lot of time thinking ‘I have no idea what I am doing.’  Now I feel like I have a great grasp on all the different aspects in which I’m involved and really have expanded my knowledge from when I started last June.”

Not only did Lauren gain knowledge, experience and confidence, she also received a job offer, which she has accepted, from the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, where she will work as a staff pharmacist.  “I was surprised and very excited,” Lauren said of the offer.  “The position will be challenging, but I think there are a lot of opportunities with it.  I’m looking forward to pushing myself to use what I’ve learned during my residency and to continue building my skills.” She added, “I’ve only lived in the Midwest, so California will be a big change, but I’m looking forward to my next adventure.”

Purdue’s Veterinary Pharmacy Residency is co-sponsored by the College of Pharmacy and College of Veterinary Medicine, with faculty from both colleges participating in training residents.  “Veterinary pharmacy is a small field and this residency is very important to train the next generation of veterinary pharmacists,” Lauren commented.  “As one of only a few universities offering veterinary pharmacy residency positions in the country, Purdue is playing a vital role in the future of veterinary pharmacy.  With the number of pet prescriptions being filled by retail pharmacies increasing, it is important that pharmacists are being trained in this area.”

Lauren further explained, “I have had so many great opportunities with teaching, research and clinical aspects that have made me ready to step into the next phase of my career.  I never would have had those experiences without this residency.”

Lauren also is getting a jump start on her career by being named a 2016 AACP Walmart Scholar.  The program provides $1,000 scholarships to up to 85 student-faculty pairs to attend the 2016 AACP Annual Meeting and Teachers Seminar in Anaheim, Calif., in July.  The goal is to strengthen the recipient’s skills and commitment to a career in academic pharmacy, which is right in line with Lauren’s interest in teaching.  Lauren is teamed with her pharmacy school mentor, Dr. Ryan Schneider, an assistant professor at the University of Findlay.  “Being supported by my teaching mentor and being one of only 85 pairs selected for the program is a big honor.  I’m looking forward to the opportunity to attend the AACP annual meeting and continue to learn about ways of improving my teaching,” Lauren said.

Purdue Veterinary Teaching Hospital Pharmacist Wil Gwin, whose enthusiasm for the new residency program has been palpable from the beginning, could not be more proud of the success of the program’s first soon-to-be graduate.  “From working with pharmacy students on rotation, working with veterinary students and staff on clinics, undertaking a research project that impacts both pharmacy and veterinary medicine, working with researchers on various projects in the veterinary hospital, establishing and teaching the first veterinary pharmacy elective at Purdue College of Pharmacy to staffing the pharmacy, Lauren has excelled,” Wil said.  “What is more, she has accomplished all this with an amazing attitude, greeting every challenge with an eager smile.  Indeed, Lauren has exceeded our hopes and expectations for this first year.  She has broken new ground here at Purdue University…and will do amazing things for UC Davis.”

For Lauren, the experience of learning about veterinary pharmacy in Lynn Hall has been both valuable and memorable.  “Looking back, I’ve had so many wonderful teaching opportunities that have provided me with a variety of insights regarding the differences between veterinary school and pharmacy school and how each group thinks. This has yielded a big benefit in that I have been able to learn how best to teach both groups. I’ll be able to take this knowledge with me as I progress into my new career which will continue to provide teaching opportunities with both pharmacy and veterinary students.”

There’s scarcely time, though, to celebrate Lauren’s success, since plans are well underway for bringing aboard the second veterinary pharmacy resident this summer.  Wil said Lauren set the bar high as “…the perfect choice to be the inaugural veterinary pharmacy resident.”  But he has no doubt, the program has just the right prescription for continued success.

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