Spotlight on new faculty — an interview with Sybil Cherian

Interview by Kaidi Ilves

Sybil Cherian is the newest member of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s School of Pharmacy. Cherian holds a Pharm.D. from St. John’s University and specializes in geriatrics.

sybil cherian
FDU: Tell us about your new position at FDU…

Sybil Cherian: The School of Pharmacy brought me on board as a clinical assistant professor. FDU was the perfect choice for me because the School of Pharmacy seeks to be unique and innovative, the administration is open to new ideas, and the University is very dynamic in its approach to be connected with the community.

FDU: What kind of experience do you have in pharmacy?

SC: After finishing my pharmacy doctorate, I completed a general pharmacy practice residency in Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in New York, followed by a specialty residency in geriatrics at Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. Since I wanted to hone in on my teaching philosophy and prepare myself as a lecturer of pharmacy in both classroom and clinical settings, I completed a couple of teaching certificate programs while carrying out my residencies.

FDU: How did you become interested in this field?

SC: Pharmacy seemed like a natural choice — I never thought too much about it. During my experiential rotations at hospitals, I got to work with a range of physicians and patients. However, I found I always enjoyed assisting the geriatrics population the most, which led me to my specialty residency. Many of the older patients are underserved, and may be overwhelmed with the healthcare they are receiving. I find it especially rewarding to provide them with patient counseling and optimize their pharmacotherapy.

FDU: What is something that you would like to contribute to FDU?

SC: I was fortunate to have found my niche, and work with excellent mentors who helped me gain relevant experience and knowledge. I want to do the same for my students, and to ignite their passion through teaching based on their interests.

FDU: What is something you hope your students will take away from your classes?

SC: Hard work and dedication to patients, as well as your own professional growth, are essential. My experiential rotation is designed to teach independence, while taking into account the students’ limitations. It will allow students to learn from a multidisciplinary team, and gain skills for teaching other healthcare professionals and patients.

FDU: What is one piece of advice you would like to give your new students?

SC: No matter where you may end up working (community, hospital, industry, etc), your value to the field of pharmacy and to healthcare is significant. Don’t underestimate that.