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Karen C. Thomas

Karen C. Thomas, PharmD, PhD, MBA ([email protected]), is an associate director of specialty and infusion pharmacies at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System and is a clinical assistant professor in the department of pharmacy practice at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). Thomas is also the residency program director for the UIC specialty pharmacy administration and leadership PGY2 residency. Her professional interests include optimizing clinical and operational processes, staff development, and demonstrating the value of health systems specialty pharmacies. She completed a dual PharmD/PhD program at the University of Utah College of Pharmacy, with her PhD in pharmacology and toxicology examining the molecular mechanisms of capsaicin induced lung injury. Thomas then completed a fellowship in clinical and applied toxicology at the Utah Poison Control Center. Later in her career, she completed an executive MBA program at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. Thomas is the primary investigator for a 2022 grant from the ASHP Foundation related to how specialty pharmacies care for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. She has been active with the ASHP Section of Specialty Pharmacy Practitioners since 2019 as a member, vice chair (2021-2022), and chair (2022-2023) of the Section Advisory Group on Outcomes and Value.

Sometimes I struggle to find meaning and joy in the day-to-day grind of life and pharmacy. It is easy to get caught up in the minutiae of checking off the next task or trying to politely navigate bathroom breaks between back-to-back-to-back meetings. With many roles inside and outside of work, it can be difficult for people to prioritize volunteer and professional development if there is not meaningful importance to patient care. Over the years, I have served on a variety of committees for a variety of organizations, and the one consistent place where I have always found inspiration and meaning is among the dedicated caregivers in this Specialty Section. I value the environment of collaboration and support that comes from our various meetings. I appreciate that the Section Advisory Group offers a consistent and repeated touchstone for strategizing about the kind of impact we want to make, how to make it a reality, and how to measure that impact. This group is doing amazing and important work that will continue to shape the future of specialty pharmacy. The specialty pharmacy landscape shifts constantly, and we are best prepared to face challenges when we work together. I am honored to be nominated as chair-elect for the Section, and I look forward to the coming years as we continue to work and grow together to provide the best care possible to specialty patients.