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11/12/2019

Jessica Merlo

Jessica Merlo

Pharm.D.

Assistant Professor

Pacific University School of Pharmacy

Hillsboro, OR

Jessica's Story

Dr. Merlo received her Pharm.D. degree from St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 2017. After graduation, she went on to complete a PGY-1 residency at the West Texas VA in Big Spring, TX followed by a PGY-2 in ambulatory care/academia with Pacific University College of Pharmacy and Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center in Hillsboro, OR. After completion of her PGY-2, Dr. Merlo accepted a position as an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Pacific University. She is looking forward to establishing her practice site and mentoring future pharmacists.

Facility

Pacific University School of Pharmacy is a teaching-focused institution that offers a 3 year, accelerated Pharm.D. program. Courses are offered in a modified block design allowing students to focus on one content area at a time. Pacific University focuses on teamwork and collaboration among pharmacy students and other health professions. The mission of the college is to foster a learner-centered community that prepares leaders, scholars, and providers to elevate the pharmacy profession and interprofessional patient-focused care. The first class was admitted in Fall 2006, and the average class size is approximately 100 students. 

Recent Significant Projects

In her PGY-1 program, Dr. Merlo was involved in implementing a national mentor program for federal, PGY-2 psychiatry programs. This program sought to increase interest in psychiatry programs to better meet the need for mental health treatment in the veteran population. She also was involved in the creation of multiple patient education programs to combat chronic opioid use. During her PGY-2, Dr. Merlo has been involved in efforts to reduce inappropriate gabapentin prescribing practices at her clinic site, especially in regards to patients at high risk of abuse. As a preceptor, she has also been involved in efforts to increase interprofessional collaboration among pharmacy and physician assistant students. 

Initial Involvement in ASHP

I have recently been appointed to the SAG on Ambulatory Care Pharmacotherapy, and I am excited to be involved in the development of educational resources for other ambulatory care pharmacists. I am a member of my local OSHP chapter, and I enjoy attending both regional and national meetings. 

Why did you become involved in ASHP? 

I recently became more involved in ASHP after being introduced to various members of the Section of Ambulatory Care Practitioners. After some incredible round table discussions at the midyear clinical meeting, I saw the work that ASHP was doing to advance pharmacy services. Moreover, I saw the incredible network of colleagues that my mentor was able to create through his work in ASHP. After seeing these things, I could not help but want to be more involved!

Advice for Someone New to Specialty Area

  1. Be confident in your training. Impostor syndrome is real, but the more you speak up and get positive feedback, the better you will feel.
  2. Share your experiences and listen to others. There are so many people doing unique and important things in the word of ambulatory care. If we learn from each other, we can advance the profession together.
  3. Document everything and anything. We are still in a position where we need to prove our worth as pharmacists. Make sure there is no question of the impact you have on patient care.

How would you explain the value of ASHP to a friend or colleague? 

 ASHP is an organization that supports the growth of a student pharmacist to resident to new practitioner to pharmacy specialist. There are resources available for every step of the process. Whether you want an article/presentation to look through or a mentor/group to share your experiences, ASHP is the first spot you should look. It is impossible to tap into all of the resources, but it is comforting to know that when you are in need, something is always there. ASHP has opened so many doors for me, and the entire profession of pharmacy. 

What is the value of ASHP for the profession?

At the core of all advocacy efforts and advancements in pharmacy has, and will always be, ASHP. ASHP has been one step ahead and continues to push for better outcomes for all pharmacists. Without ASHP, we would not have nearly as many quality training programs for pharmacists. Without a large number of highly trained pharmacists, we would not be able to show the significant impact that pharmacists can make on the world of healthcare. ASHP gives pharmacists the support needed to advance our profession. 


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Professional group for ASHP members working as front line pharmacists in diverse practice settings

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Practice Advancement Initiative supports the use of pharmacists as direct patient care providers

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