// August 11, 2016

USP Summer Internship: A Tale of Two Interns


My name is Samuel Fu. I just completed my summer internship at the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). The position offered me an in depth examination of the Medicare Model Guidelines (MMG), which is in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). As a result of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act, USP develops the MMG as a tool to help the CMS build a formulary for over 30 million Medicare Part D beneficiaries.

I worked closely with expert scientific volunteers, who are leaders in a variety of healthcare settings and have been an incredible inspiration. Partaking in the workplace culture first-hand at USP has been a blessing. One of the four core values of USP – commit to others – aims to respect, support, and empower colleagues. USP staff within the Health Quality Safety Department (HQS) took the initiative to introduce me to their expert volunteers, which helped me tremendously in polishing my networking and communication skills. HQS also hosts a social mixer called, “Quality-Hour” to give staff members an opportunity to get acquainted with previous HQS student interns outside of the work environment.

As interns, it was daunting at first to open up to our supervisors and talk about topics outside of work or non-career related subjects. However HQS leadership helps to break down this barrier by inviting previous USP interns, some of whom have taken jobs in the nearby area. I was able to observe another intern’s interaction with the USP staff and witness first-hand the positive impact their relationship has had on both parties.

HQS has demonstrated their efforts in respecting, supporting, and empowering others by actively including interns into their inner circle. From my perspective, the HQS’s Quality Hour provides an avenue to foster mentor-mentee relationships with USP staff in a more intimate setting. The Quality Hour has also given interns an opportunity to connect with our predecessors and gain perspective on their own experiences at USP.

My name is Maggie Fung. Working with USP has been a whirlwind experience, both eye-opening and challenging, but phenomenal and rewarding, nonetheless. USP has given me an opportunity to broaden my career aspirations and look into some of the non-traditional roles a pharmacist could have. During my time here, I delved into the Allergies and Intolerances Value Set project as part of HQS. I helped set the groundwork for classifying cross-allergies and cross-intolerances between some of the most commonly prescribed drugs as a means to ultimately ensure patient safety.

I could not have asked for a more unique internship, one where I applied the knowledge I have learned in pharmacy school, participated in expert committee meetings, stayed in the forefront of setting health care quality standards, and networked with professionals in the field and other pharmacy students from across the nation.

I got to see behind-the-scenes of how health care quality standards are set and how decisions are made. This experience allowed me to see just how big an impact a pharmacist can have on public health, beyond working behind a pharmacy counter. As someone who is still exploring the many career paths that a pharmacy degree can lead to, I have learned many lessons from this internship.

I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone. It is important to be curious, actively explore and take advantage of all the opportunities that are presented to you. USP provides endless opportunities for those interested in making an impact on public health. The knowledge and experience I have gained here are indispensable, and I plan to carry them with me throughout my pharmacy career.

We both believe the internship at USP has offered a very well rounded experience that prepares us in transitioning from students to future pharmacists.

Samuel Fu is a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) candidate studying at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy. As a California native, Sam enjoys exploring the Blue Grass State and all that it has to offer. As a future healthcare provider, Sam is motivated by the prospect of blending science and business together in a way that will make a positive societal impact. Sam can be reached at Samuel.fu@uky.edu.

Maggie Fung is a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) candidate from the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Pharmacy. In her spare time, she enjoys relaxing and spending time with her family and friends. She aspires to be a pharmacist that will make a lasting impact on public health. Maggie can be reached at mfung@umaryland.edu.