Robert Mancini, PharmD BCOP
Bone Marrow Transplant Pharmacy Program Coordinator
PGY-2 Oncology Residency Program Director
St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute
Clinical Adjunct Faculty–Oncology
Idaho State University, College of Pharmacy
Robert “Bob” Ignoffo, PharmD FASHP FCSHP, received HOPA’s 2013 Award of Excellence. This award, first given in 2005, recognizes a HOPA member who has made a significant, sustained contribution to hematology/oncology pharmacy or has provided excellent leadership in improving or supporting the field. Recipients of the award are recognized at HOPA’s annual conference with a platform presentation on their contributions, and they receive a lifetime HOPA membership. Bob is currently professor of pharmacy and assistant dean of student services at Touro University and Clinical Professor Emeritus at the University of California–San Francisco.
In an October 2017 interview, he spoke about his involvement in HOPA and reflected on his career in oncology pharmacy.
What first drew you to HOPA, and how long have you been a member?
A few oncology pharmacy colleagues of mine, Phil Johnson and Jim Koeller, were developing bylaws for HOPA, arising from our efforts with Oncology New Concepts and on behalf of the Oncology Pharmacy Specialty through the Board of Pharmacy Specialists. They asked me to become a founding member of HOPA, and I gladly accepted. As one of HOPA’s 29 founding members, I have been with the organization since its inception in 2004. [More about the founding of HOPA is available at hoparx.org/about/history-of-hopa.].
How have you been involved in HOPA over the years?
I have been heavily involved with HOPA since the beginning days. I was a founding board member during the development of HOPA from 2002 to 2004 and then served as an official board member in 2004–2006. Since then, I have served on numerous committees and task forces, often as chair or vice-chair: on the Publications Committee (vice-chair, 2007–2008, chair, 2008–2009), the Medscape Task Force (2010–2011), Recognition Committee (2015–2016), Task Force on the Value of the Oncology Pharmacist (chair, 2016–2017), and Practice Outcomes and Professional Benchmarking Committee (chair, 2017–2018). I have attended numerous HOPA meetings and given presentations at several.
What have you done to improve oncology pharmacy care at your places of employment?
Perhaps one of the biggest practice changes I have worked on was developing a collaborative practice protocol with physicians at the University of California Cancer Research Center. I have also worked on numerous practice improvement projects, including developing a methotrexate monitoring program, and performed research on managing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Most recently, I worked on and published a Delphi Study on the shortfalls in oncology patient visits and the potential impact Board Certified Oncology Pharmacists (BCOPs) can make in reducing that shortfall.1
What did winning the HOPA Award of Excellence mean to you?
It’s hard to express what winning an award of this significance meant. Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is how gratifying it was to be acknowledged by my peers for my expertise in oncology pharmacy practice.
How has receiving this award affected your career development or career path?
It has certainly led to many students and residents coming to me for advice on how to become an oncology pharmacist and how to pursue their own career paths. I’d say that it gave me the opportunity to assume more of a mentoring role than I might have had otherwise.
What career or personal advice do you have for established or new oncology pharmacists?
My advice for success both in life and in work is to be gritty and resolute. Persevere in your endeavors, and be unwavering in efforts to achieve your goals—most of them can be achieved. Be true to yourself. Find a mentor or team of collaborators to help you, whether you are working on developing a program, doing research, or improving your skills. Be grateful for their help. There will be ups and downs in career and life; accept them knowingly, let the dust settle, and get back to work. But remember that it’s important to leave time for family and fun.
If you could describe oncology pharmacists in one sentence, what would you say?
Oncology pharmacists are professionals who are dedicated to improving outcomes related to cancer treatment in patients with cancer.
1. Ignoffo R, Knapp K, Barnett M. et al. Board-certified oncology pharmacists: their potential contribution to reducing a shortfall in oncology patient visits. J Oncol Pract. 2016;12(4):e359-368). doi: 10.1200/JOP.2015.008490. Epub 2016 Mar 22