Versatile pharmacy alumni excel in unique careers

Since 1955, the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy has been committed to cultivating a culture of support and collaboration. This environment allows learning and innovation to thrive and helps students become adaptable, well-rounded pharmacists.

“There are Pacific pharmacists in multiple areas of the pharmaceutical universe and that is a testament to Pacific’s diverse educational experiences,” said Jamie Tobitt ’90, PharmD, MSL-BC. Tobitt is a former president of the Pacific Pharmacy Alumni Association and is an example of an individual who has used his doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree to shape a non-traditional career within the field of pharmacy.

Jamie Tobitt ’90, PharmD, MSL-BC

Tobitt is a senior medical science liaison at bluebird bio, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on developing gene therapies for severe genetic disorders and cancer. Pharmaceutical sales representatives are limited by law regarding what they are allowed to say about a product and cannot deviate from the FDA-approved indications. In comparison, a medical science liaison (MSL) has the freedom to provide more extensive information. For instance, an MSL can provide the details of a specific clinical trial. The caveat? A request for more information must be initiated by a health care professional, such as a physician.

Tobitt relishes the process of gathering and analyzing details to build up his knowledge base. “I enjoy getting deep into the data, understanding every little bit about a therapy — its history, its trials and helping others to understand it better,” he said. “When I was a practicing pharmacist, I had to know a little bit about everything; now I need to know everything about a little bit.”

The MSL profession is relatively new and continues to evolve. Tobitt has the distinction of being among the first group to earn a board-certified medical science liaison certification.

Michael Freudiger ’11, PharmD, APh, BCPS, BCSCP

Fellow alumnus Michael Freudiger ’11, PharmD, APh, BCPS, BCSCP has used his passion for the field of compounding pharmacy to craft a multifaceted career centered around his area of expertise. He serves as a clinical pharmacist, compounding and regulatory compliance supervisor at Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno and compounding and regulatory compliance supervisor at Valley Children’s Healthcare in Madera.

“Pharmacists in this role are responsible for maintaining the integrity of sterile and non-sterile compounded drugs, and practice certain aspects of the role of a medication safety pharmacist, to ensure the chances of errors are minimized,” he explained. They typically work closely with the director of pharmacy and other department leads to ensure compounding operations follow state and federal regulations. Additionally, the compounding pharmacist is often the point person during regulatory inspections.

Freudiger is a senior consultant for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and offers consulting through his business, Freudiger Pharmacy Consulting. As a consultant, he offers his clients assistance with compounding and research and development processes. He is also an independent expert inspector for the California State Board of Pharmacy. In this role, he monitors compounding pharmacies who are on probation.

Extensive travel is an integral part of Freudiger’s career. “I enjoy the traveling and seeing new places, and also returning to places where I have made friends,” he said. He also appreciates the patient care aspect of his work and the opportunities available within this specialty. “There is likely to be continued growth as the regulatory environment becomes more complex and the importance of the compounding pharmacist is realized by more and more health care organizations,” he said.

Simona Dorf ’03, PharmD, BCMAS

For alumna Simona Dorf ’03, PharmD, BCMAS a Facebook group helped direct her career change. “As I was looking for a new direction in my career, I joined a group on Facebook called Pharmacist Mom Group,” said Dorf. “I carefully paid attention to all the discussions about possible careers for a PharmD. In that group, I came across the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs and went through their program to become a certified medical affairs specialist (BCMAS).” She also completed the course “Principles of Regulatory Affairs: Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices” through UC Berkeley Extension, the continuing education branch of University of California, Berkeley.

Dorf is a clinical pharmacist, editorial manager at First Databank, Inc. in South San Francisco. “First Databank is the leading provider of drug and medical device knowledge,” she said. “I participate in developing and maintaining the latest, most up-to-date drug information database.” In her role, she tracks updates from federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and leading institutions. She incorporates her findings into the database. “I enjoy learning something new on a regular basis,” she said. “I am privileged to work for this wonderful company and be surrounded by a great team of people who are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the work that they do every day.”

Reflecting on her time at Pacific, she remembers an elective where she learned about the process of analyzing clinical trial results. This information has been useful during her entire journey as a pharmacist. “The deep and thorough knowledge of medical terminology, compounding calculations, drug information — all have come in handy in the fast-paced world of pharmacy,” Dorf said.

Sundeep S. Gill ’00, PharmD

Alumnus Sundeep S. Gill ’00, PharmD has built a career at the intersection of pharmacy and cosmetics. In 1987, Gill co-founded Sun Deep Cosmetics Inc. with his brother, Bob Gill, who currently serves as president and chief executive officer. “Sun Deep Cosmetics is a prestigious and progressive private label manufacturer of natural and organic personal care cosmetics, toiletries and over-the-counter products,” said Gill, who is the company’s chief technical officer. “We offer custom-formulated products for retailers, distributors, marketers and entrepreneurs.”

From the beginning, the company has focused on high-quality, natural ingredients and was ahead of the curve of the “clean beauty” movement. “We constantly strive to raise the bar with new technologies that allow us to make performance products without the use of conventional synthetic ingredients,” he said.

He came to Pacific filled with determination and a concept of his desired role within the cosmetic industry. He worked with the Pacific faculty to tailor his learning experience to achieve his goal. “Pharmacists undergo extensive training in pharmacology and this proves to be useful on a daily basis when assessing new innovative materials,” he said.

“The PharmD degree offers a wealth of versatility. I have had the pleasure of meeting PharmDs in various aspects of the industry from data analytics and research to sales and industrial manufacturing.”