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ICHP Leadership Spotlight Interview - Meet Brian!
Brian Cryder, PharmD, BCACP, CACP
What is your Leadership position in ICHP?
Chair of the Ambulatory Care Network
Where is your Practice site?
Associate Professor, Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy and Clinical Pharmacist, Advocate Medical Group (practicing at Beverly location).
Why is pharmacy for you?
My answer has evolved over time. I first chose pharmacy because of my experiences interacting with hospital pharmacists when I would volunteer at our community hospital growing up. They were always kind and willing to show how they mixed their IV medications (that I would then deliver to the nursing units) and reviewed the orders coming in from the physicians. I was fascinated by the work that they did; work that almost no patient even realized was happening behind the scenes. Later as a pharmacy student, I interned in the VA system and discovered how great it was to interact with patients and use what I had learned to improve their diabetes and other chronic conditions. This got me hooked on ambulatory care and has brought me to a place where seeing a patient improve really motivates me to do more for my patients and promote opportunities for other pharmacists to do the same. There are few greater things in life than to see that feeling of hope restored in a patient when they feel they can finally understand their medications and actually succeed in treating their chronic conditions that once seemed impossible.
What Challenges do you face at your practice?
Working through pre-conceived ideas that patients have. These problems range from patients who have a difficult time understanding why I am a pharmacist who does not actually dispense medication to impressions about certain medications patients hold onto from what they hear on television or from a neighbor. Educating patients about the role and proper use of their medications seems simple, but can be one of the most impactful interventions we can do as pharmacists. It is easy to fall in the trap of assuming they know what a medication is just because it has been prescribed for several years, but engaging with patients about all of the medication use details can identify pitfalls that prevent the best outcomes available to them.
What makes ICHP great?
ICHP is important because it provides an opportunity to connect with others in the profession to learn from each other and together advocate for the importance of the pharmacist’s role within the healthcare team.
When was your First time joining ICHP?
I joined ICHP in 2003 upon joining the faculty at Midwestern University. Lynn Patton, who was at Midwestern at the time, was a strong advocate for getting involved in the state pharmacy organizations and recruited me as well as many other early career faculty to get involved with ICHP.
Who would you like to thank for making you who you are today in your career?
Virtually every person that I have worked with over my time as a student, intern, or pharmacist has influenced who I am as a pharmacist. If I had to highlight just a couple key influencers I would point to Dave Jansen and Debra Parker. Dave was the ambulatory care pharmacist at the Chillicothe, Ohio VA who really introduced me to ambulatory care and sparked my interest in the setting. Debra was my residency director at Physicians, Inc who really set the bar high by modeling how to be an impactful pharmacist through her interactions with patients, the physician team, students she precepted and other office staff – she expected a lot, but always held herself to that same standard.
What Advice do you have for a student?
Remember why you wanted to be a pharmacist in the first place. Virtually every prospective student that interviews for pharmacy school admission talks about how much they want to help others and make a difference for patients. Unfortunately, many times the pressures of completing pharmacy training can move your focus to the day to day tasks of assignments and achieving certain grades rather than keeping attention on the bigger picture of becoming a pharmacist that can make a difference for patients. I have never had a patient ask me what grade I received from any of my classes, but countless patients have asked “can you help me?”. While passing classes is important, if you aim first to learn what you need to know to be the best possible pharmacist in caring for your patients, the grades will be good enough to get you there.
What is your Favorite restaurant or food?
I like a wide range of foods, so it is easier to list the foods I do not like – sushi and liver (could never bring myself to eat it after pharmacy school taught me that the liver is the “water treatment plant of the body”).
What might we not know about you?
My family has a very strong medical orientation – my wife is a nurse practitioner, my brother is a physician assistant, my uncle is a family medicine physician, my mother and aunt are both nurses, an aunt was an occupational therapist, another aunt is a psychologist, a cousin is a physical therapist and another cousin is a veterinarian (for good measure). There is a running joke that we should start our own health center. Of those who are not medical, most are teachers, so with my faculty appointment I have that covered, too.