Medical science liaison discusses fellowship and career path

SPOKANE, Wash. – Medical Science Liaison Clayton Snell spoke with student pharmacists on March 1 about the benefits of completing a post-graduation pharmacy practice fellowship and the impact his fellowship made on his career. Snell’s presentation was part of the Preparing for Your Career in Pharmacy seminar series hosted by Washington State University College of Pharmacy.

The College of Pharmacy coordinates the career seminar series to expose student pharmacists to leaders in the profession and career opportunities.

“Fellowships are a starting point to show your added value as a pharmacist,” said Snell.

Snell advised students that are interested in fellowships to attend the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ midyear meeting for recruitment.

In his final year of pharmacy school, Snell chose a variety of pharmacy settings for his rotations. His industry/medical information rotation was his most illuminating experience.

In this rotation Snell worked on medicine package inserts. Working with these inserts showed Snell that he could help patients with medication use and safety in another way than patient counseling.

During this rotation he found out about a fellowship with Acorda Therapeutics. A pharmacy fellowship is a postgraduate training opportunity that focuses on the research side of pharmacy. This is different than a residency in which residencies traditionally focus on clinical practice and patient care. Snell decided to go for the fellowship.

He completed a two-year postgraduate fellowship in medical affairs with a focus in medical information. At the completion of his fellowship, Snell was hired as a medical science liaison with Acorda.

“My fellowship had shown that I could handle the job,” said Snell.

As a medical science liaison, Snell works with prescriptions during the whole product lifecycle. This includes educating health care professionals, supporting advisory boards and conducting investigator-initiated studies. These studies are research projects that are proposed by health care professionals and then supported by medical science liaisons if the project aligns with their research goals.

The WSU pharmacy career seminars are funded through the Dean’s Fund for Excellence and the college’s community partner, the Spokane Teachers Credit Union. For information on participating in the career seminar series, or to contribute to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence to help expose WSU student pharmacists to thought-leaders and industry innovators, contact the College of Pharmacy advancement office at or 509-358-7651.