Spotlight on new faculty — an interview with Shreya Patel

Interview by Madinah Muhammad
Photo by Madinah Muhammad

Shreya Patel, a board certified pharmacotherapy specialist, is welcomed by Fairleigh Dickinson University as a new associate professor of pharmacy practice for the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Patel holds a doctorate in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) from MCPHS University.

FDU: What brings you to FDU?

Shreya Patel: I was attracted to the new pharmacy program. I felt that this new program would provide me with a lot of opportunities to engage myself in different aspects of academia that may not be afforded to me at any other university.

I was also attracted to the culture, faculty and leadership team I met during the interview process. I gained a sense that the leadership team was very engaged with the growth of their faculty members. The key location of the University, along with its rich history, was also a driving factor in my decision.

FDU: Tell us about your new position….

SP: I am an associate professor for the pharmacy practice department in the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. My primary role is to teach in and coordinate a variety of pharmacotherapy courses for students in their first three years of the program. Pharmacotherapy is the design of a safe, effective and optimal medication regimen in collaboration with an inter-professional healthcare team.

In addition to teaching, I am a member of the assessment committee at the school and also engage in providing patient-care related community services. As an associate professor in the tenure track, I am also engaged in producing scholarly work like writing articles for publication and collaborating with faculty members on projects.

FDU:  How did you become interested in this field?

SP: I learned about my passion for teaching students during my residency at University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, where I had opportunities to teach students in the pharmacy program. My residency mentors often applauded me for how well I engaged with pharmacy students in advancing their learning and suggested I consider going into academia, which is when I started to think about it. After completing my residency a position in academia presented itself, which I accepted and I loved it — since  then I have been in academia.

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

SP: The School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences received accreditation this year, which is a big achievement. My plan is to contribute in every possible manner to ensure the pharmacy program remains accredited. I also plan to teach our students in a manner that will allow them to make a positive impact on patients’ lives.  

FDU: What is one piece of advice you can give to new students in your class?

SP: I would advise my students to be lifelong learners and critical thinkers. Learning does not end when they leave the classroom and learning does not end when they walk down the aisle after graduation. Information is constantly changing and drugs therapies are always evolving, so I think it is important that students learn to be lifelong learners and take that information to save lives.

FDU: What do you hope that your students will take away from your class?

SP: When students walk out of my classroom, they should have no doubt that they can make an impact on patients’ lives, no matter where they decide to practice pharmacy. Students will have the education and the skills needed to make a difference and they should not forget that.

I hope that when students start practicing they will recognize that the information they learned in the classroom and the application of it allows them to be experts in their area of interest, and the positive impact they are able to make in advancing patient care.

FDU: What additional information would you like to share with students about the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences?

SP: For the students there is such great opportunity here. Their training does not end once they leave us — there are opportunities for postdoctoral training and to get involved and network within pharmacy organizations. I hope students will utilize the faculty, deans and directors to grow the network that they want to be in, apply for postdoctoral programs and consider specializing in their area of interest. I want students to know that these opportunities are endless.