Get My Job: Spotlight on Pharmacy
In this Nexus series, Get My Job, we interview alumni and faculty from one of the University’s 200-plus academic programs and over 160 graduate programs. The latest installment features Dr. Marcell Martinez.
Pharmacist Dr. Marcell Martinez belongs to a select group in the University’s history. Before the historic merger of the two institutions, the alumna went to Philadelphia University as an undergraduate and Thomas Jefferson University for graduate school.
PhilaU’s biochemistry program, which Dr. Martinez graduated from in 2008, gave her the analytical skills to make high-quality compounds today, she says.
“I can quickly analyze formulas and modify the ingredients and amounts to get the desired final product,” Dr. Martinez says. “Being a biochemistry major also gives me the ability to understand how drugs are created from the initial research phase. This allows me to appreciate all the work that goes into new drug development before there’s even a chemical structure created.”
The doctor of pharmacy program prepared her with a strong clinical background and the ability to work with other healthcare team members, says the 2015 graduate.
In honor of American Pharmacist Month, Dr. Martinez discusses her early career at Walgreens, why she purchased an independent pharmacy and how pharmacists play a crucial role in people’s overall health.
You worked at Walgreens Pharmacy for 12 years. What were your roles there?
My career at Walgreens began as a pharmacy intern when I started in the pharmacy program at Jefferson. After graduation, I was a floater pharmacist for about two years while also becoming a first-time mom. I then worked as a staff pharmacist at a local Walgreens before transitioning to a health outcomes role. It took about five years to find a pharmacy worth buying.
Jefferson College of Pharmacy Interim Dean Dr. Mary Hess described independent pharmacies as a “real gem” in today’s world. What made you decide to purchase Rosvold Pharmacy in South Jersey?
Pharmacists are one of the most accessible and trusted health professionals in America. This is something that I’ve always admired. Independent pharmacies are instrumental in helping keep communities healthy. Rosvold Pharmacy, independently owned since 1962, has a strong reputation for delivering excellent care to residents of the Cinnaminson area. I want to continue providing the same service for years to come.
On LinkedIn, you wrote that “life coach” should be part of your job title. Why are pharmacists such an important figure in people’s lives?
The choices people make with their health can have a huge impact on the rest of their lives. Optimizing their health helps patients live longer and can improve their quality of life. Pharmacists can help people understand their treatment goals. We can encourage them to stop smoking, eat better and increase physical activity to improve their health and reverse certain diagnoses, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Both illnesses have detrimental effects if not well controlled, which contribute to a high cost of healthcare spending and disability.
Pharmacists are one of the most accessible and trusted health professionals in America.
What’s the most challenging aspect of owning a pharmacy?
Providing pharmaceutical services while insurance companies refuse to pay us for the cost of the medications. Negative payments from insurance companies make it extremely difficult to keep pharmacies open and has created the staffing issues we see today in the pharmacy industry.
As an independent owner, I must provide additional services, such as compounding, to ensure bills get paid and my staff is properly compensated. I spent an hour on the phone one day with an insurance company trying to figure out why I lost $180 on a prescription for a patient who’s locked into my pharmacy. I chose to take care of the patient and hope the insurance company figures out its mistake.
What’s one piece of advice for students considering entering this major or profession?
Pharmacy is all about love. If you love what you do, you’re set for life.