James Leonard, a third-year student pharmacist at Washington State University, has been selected for a summer internship with the Division of Drug Information at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Leonard will participate in the FDA program as one of his Doctor of Pharmacy program’s advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) rotation requirements. He will be working under Lieutenant Lindsey Wagner who is a pharmacists at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and a health promotion officer with the FDA. Leonard was one of around 700 applicants nationally for the internship program.

Leonard discovered an interest in specializing in drug information after working with College of Pharmacy Associate Dean and Pharmacotherapy Professor Danial Baker at WSU’s Drug Information Center in Spokane. “I researched online and found the FDA internship program. After talking to Dr. Baker and our experiential program director about it, I decided to apply,” said Leonard. “I attended ASHP [Midyear Clinical Meeting] where I was able to meet Dr. Wagner and make a face-to-face connection. There is power in networking because I got the internship. It’s hard to see as a student, but it can open doors for your education.”

The American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (ASHP) represents more than 40,000 pharmacists, student pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who serve as patient care providers in acute and ambulatory settings. (www.ashp.org)

Leonard will begin the six-week internship this May at the FDA’s drug information headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. Throughout the program, Leonard will attend interdisciplinary lectures coordinated through the FDA on a variety of medical topics. He also plans on conducting a research project working with his assigned preceptor.

As a pharmacist, Leonard wants to be involved with clinical trials. One of the benefits this experience will provide a trial team is the ability to help connect what the team wants to study and what the FDA will accept, said Leonard. “A rotation with the FDA would let me see the communication that helps develop mutual goals between researchers and the agency.”

“I’m excited to work with the FDA because this will give me exposure to the regulatory and drug information environments on a grander scale,” said Leonard.

[March 1, 2015] Lori J. Maricle