Ashley Glode, PharmD BCOP, received HOPA’s 2019 Patient Advocacy Award at the association’s annual meeting, held in April 2019 in Fort Worth, TX. In an interview in spring 2019, she spoke about this award, her career, and her involvement with HOPA.
Please describe your clinical practice setting and the type of patients you currently see in your practice?
In my current clinical practice, I spend 2 days per week in the phase 1/gastrointestinal/head and neck/sarcoma clinic at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. We have a big clinic space to accommodate the large multidisciplinary team that provides care to these patients. I primarily meet with patients in the clinic to provide education on their new treatment regimens and help them navigate the complicated supportive care regimens that may accompany their treatment. I also help secure patients’ consent for participation in clinical trials and conduct toxicity assessments.
I serve as a resource to help manage side effects and unique toxicities and work with our support services to optimize a patient’s quality of life throughout the treatment journey. The remainder of my time is spent at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences teaching oncology topics to third-year pharmacy students and generating scholarship related to oncology pharmacy practice.
How long have you been a member of HOPA, and how have you been involved during your membership?
I became a member of HOPA during my PGY2 oncology residency in 2008. The expectation of the residency was that I would present my research at HOPA’s annual conference, so it made sense to join the organization at that time. I was blown away at the annual conference to have so many pharmacists in one place who were passionate about oncology. My prior exposure to pharmacy meetings had been those of American Pharmacists Association and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. I felt that I found a home in HOPA. I became a member of the Publications Committee in 2012 and remained on that committee until 2019. In 2014, I was selected to serve as the vice-chair of the committee and in 2016 I began serving as chair. It has been a great honor to work with so many talented and dedicated individuals on that committee and see HOPA News evolve over the last 7 years. I have also served as course director for the investigational drug services preconference at the annual conference (2016–2017), vice-chair for the Oral Chemotherapy Education Task Force (2017–2018), and chair of the HOPA Journal Task Force (2018–present).
What does winning the HOPA Patient Advocacy Award mean to you, personally?
It is a great honor to win this award. It means so much to be nominated by my peers and selected by the Awards Committee. Advocating for patients and improving their quality of life is what makes oncology pharmacy such an amazing career. We are lucky to meet inspiring patients in our clinical practice and learn from them so we can improve the treatment for others.
What would you define as keys to your success?
It is important to surround yourself with great people who will challenge you when you need it and support you when you’re on the right track.
Who was your mentor, and how did he or she influence your career path?
I have been fortunate to have a number of important mentors and cheerleaders throughout my career. During my PGY1 residency, Sam Abdelghany always took time out of his busy day to provide me with advice and sometimes the necessary distraction of challenging me to a Sudoku game. During my PGY2 residency, Grazyna Riebandt, my residency program director, took a vested interest in me as an individual and an oncology pharmacist. She taught me how to make pierogis from scratch in her home and how to conduct a thoughtfully designed research project. In my first position at the Medical University of South Carolina, Shannon Knight and Kathy Edwards were my rocks. Straight out of residency I thought I knew what I was doing, but I often second-guessed myself. When I needed a little push, they were always there to provide encouragement, and when I needed a friendly ear to bounce ideas off of or just to help me get through the day, they were there to listen. These are just a few of the many mentors I have had in my career.
What advice would you offer to other oncology pharmacists who are either just beginning their career or expanding their role in patient care?
Make sure to listen to the advice of others, think about the information you are given, and then make the decision for yourself. Surround yourself with a network of mentors and nurture those relationships. As your career advances, you will need the advice of sage individuals more than you think. Provide mentorship to others as you are able and remember to pay it forward.
Lisa Cordes, PharmD BCOP BCACP
Oncology Clinical Pharmacy Specialist and Educator
National Cancer Institute
Kasey Jackson, PharmD BCOP
Clinical Pharmacist Specialist, Hematology/Oncology
Medical University of South Carolina Hollings Cancer Center