ICHP Board of Directors Profile: Sheila M. Allen, Director, Division of Marketing Affairs

by By Nora Flint, ICHP member and former Director of Marketing Affairs
November 17, 2010

Where did you go to pharmacy school?

I went to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Pharmacy and am a proud graduate of the class of 2003.

Trace your professional history since graduation. Where have you trained/worked? Any special accomplishments?

After graduation, I completed a Primary Care Residency with a Focus on Education (now a PGY1 Pharmacy Residency) at Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy. Upon completion of my residency, I took an Assistant Professor position at Midwestern University in conjunction with a Clinical Pharmacist position at Advocate Health Centers Sykes in antithrombosis. In 2006, I became board certified in pharmacotherapy. I realized with time that my passion was working with students and teaching the practical skills needed for practice. In 2008 I accepted a position as a Coordinator in Experiential Education at UIC College of Pharmacy.

What initially motivated you to get involved, and what benefits do you see from being active in a professional association such as ICHP?

I was always actively involved in various professional organizations as a student. As a new practitioner and faculty member, I was eager to continue my involvement within the profession and network with peers outside of the work environment. I was encouraged by colleagues to pursue opportunities within ICHP.

I joined the organization in 2004 and became an active member in the New Practitioners Network (NPN). It was really a great way to meet other pharmacists within the profession that were in the same stage of their careers and facing similar adjustments and challenges. I served as the co-liaison to Organizational Affairs. It was a rather benign time commitment; I just called into the Organizational Affairs conference call, listened and commented with ideas as necessary and then reported back to the NPN. It was a great way to learn about the organization, an unintimidating way to network among well established pharmacists of various areas, and a nice outlet outside of work to meet other young pharmacists.

In 2008, I was invited to my first ICHP Leadership Retreat and admit although flattered by the invitation, I was somewhat intimidated. Those feelings of intimidation quickly disappeared upon my arrival to the retreat as I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with how welcoming all the various board members were and very excited by their display of passion for the profession. Soon after, I became a member of the Division of Marketing Affairs in an effort to assist with getting the word out to others about what ICHP has to offer. Recently, I was elected to the office of Director of the Division of Marketing Affairs.

When I became involved as a new practitioner, I was looking for a voice as a clinical pharmacist and faculty member in the state of Illinois. ICHP has been instrumental in providing me with that voice and has allowed me to network with extraordinary pharmacists within the state through my active involvement in several of ICHP’s divisions. I continue to look for additional ways to become involved in ICHP so that I can give back for all that it has and continues to give me.

What advice would you give to a student currently involved in ICHP?

Stay involved. Your pharmacy organization involvement should not end upon graduation. Yes, time management can be a challenge as you transition from student to new practitioner, but your time involvement within a professional organization such as ICHP is time well invested. You will be given an opportunity to network with mentors that can help you to guide your career path as well as access to toolkits on various topics to assist with your professional development. These resources will be invaluable to your career.

From a pharmacist’s perspective, I think most people are concerned with the time commitment involved, and I found through my organizational commitment to ICHP that I was able to control the so-called volume level of involvement as needed. I think some others just do not know how to get started, but it is only a matter of calling in and listening to a conference call or talking to people at the Spring or Annual Meeting to get started.

I really have met some great people in ICHP both on a professional and personal level. These are people that I am not sure I would have had an opportunity to meet or even just get to know. This is why I stay involved. I also believe if you want to invest in your profession’s future, you have to be willing to help steer the boat, and I think involvement in organizations such as ICHP allows you to do so. I definitely feel that in ICHP my voice is heard and valued, and I have also grown professionally and personally from listening to others.

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