ICHP Board of Directors Profile: Tom Westerkamp, Director of Marketing Affairs

by Ann Jankiewicz, PharmD, ICHP Immediate Past President and Chairman, Nominations Committee
August 1, 2009

Where did you go to pharmacy school?
I attended the University of Illinois and graduated in 1977.

Trace your professional history since graduation: where have you trained, worked, any special accomplishments?
My first job after graduation was a staff pharmacist position at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston. I took a more clinical position at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and worked for 8 years there in an ICU satellite pharmacy. After finishing business school at DePaul University, I became Assistant Director/ Clinical Coordinator at Columbus-Cabrini Medical Center in Chicago, and in 1989 went back to St. Francis Hospital as Director of Pharmacy. I crossed over to the “dark side” of industry in 1991 when I joined Baxter Healthcare as a pharmacy consultant and later spent 14 years in marketing.

I have had the opportunity to travel on business to Europe, Asia, and Australia, and one of my favorite memories was delivering a series of presentations on intermittent IV therapy to large groups of physicians and pharmacists in China. It was logistically very challenging but inspiring to positively influence IV admixture and piggyback drug administration methods and improve the quality of patient care.

Describe your current area of practice and practice setting.
My current role is in Medical Affairs as a Medical Information Manager. Our team answers calls regarding parenteral nutrition products from clinicians in the US and Canada and provides software support for automated compounding devices. I enjoy interacting with clinicians again and helping them find answers to their questions as opposed to being focused on the commercial side of the business.

What initially motivated you to get involved, and what benefits do you see in being active in a professional association such as ICHP?
I initially stayed involved after graduation to keep in touch with my friends at local meetings. It was very helpful to find out about job opportunities, and networking helped with recruiting staff to fill open positions. Now I find that the organization is helpful in keeping members current with emerging clinical trends, laws and regulations and provides opportunities for networking, staying in touch with old friends, and meeting new friends.

Is there an individual you admire or look up to, or a mentor that has influenced your career?
Jim Shafer, a pharmacist that took me under his wing at Grant Hospital in Chicago, was instrumental in pointing me in the direction of pharmacy when I was choosing a career path in college. Mike Fotis and Karen Nordstrom at Northwestern Memorial Hospital were pioneers in expanding the clinical role of the pharmacist and certainly influenced my professional development. I learned more working in an ICU satellite pharmacy than I ever could have imagined.

Do you have any special interests or hobbies outside of work?
I am fairly involved with our local church. I continue to run to try to stay in shape and reduce stress.

Do you have a favorite restaurant or food?
I enjoy Italian and Chinese/Thai cuisines, but my favorite is Mexican. The folks at our local Chipotle know me pretty well.

What is your favorite place to vacation?
Anywhere where there is sun and water. I love to read poolside and snorkel on any coral reef.

What is the most interesting/unique fact about yourself that few people know?
I have completed 18 marathons in 9 states.

What 3 adjectives would people use to best describe you?
Helpful, easy-going, friendly

Any words of advice to others?
Be grateful for what you have, remember those in need, and don’t take yourself too seriously.

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