Breaking Barriers and Pursuing Excellence: Mason Myers’ Journey to Pharmacy Residency at 23
May 16, 2023
At 23 years old, Mason Myers (they/he) is heading into a residency program with their recently obtained Doctor of Pharmacy- A feat most people do not do until their late 20s.
A native of Las Vegas, Nevada, Mason moved to Orange County for Chapman University’s APEx, an accelerated program that produces licensed pharmacists in just under 5 years using a 2+3 schedule. Typically, it takes a candidate four years of undergraduate studies alongside another 4 years of a Doctor of Pharmacy program, creating a typical 8-year schedule for pharmacy candidates.
“The career preparation and support I’ve gotten throughout my time in the accelerated experience is incomparable,” says Mason. “I would not have achieved the goals I have at such an early age without the incredible mentorship and support offered by the APEx program.” Besides Mason’s unique experience as an accelerated student, there was another aspect of their life that influenced their residency options- Having a true desire to make the world a better place through medical services and healthcare.
Mason’s interest in pharmacy was sparked by their childhood experiences with family members’ diagnoses and subsequent experiences in healthcare. Mason accompanied his brother to appointments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a severe form of progressive muscle fiber degeneration, and supported their mother both through breast cancer and iatrogenic leukemia diagnosis. As a member of the queer community, Mason had an interest in LGBTQ+ health and continually found concerns about the health disparities faced by the community, including HIV/AIDS, suicide rates, and the significant barriers to gender-affirming care.
“For a long time, I thought I was going to be a clinical researcher, but it was actually the clinical oncology pharmacist that worked with my mom who has largely shaped my clinical interests to this day. I hope to bring the same level of empathy and critical thought to each of my patients that I’d want anyone to provide to my family.”
Mason’s eagerness to get into the field and begin making a difference drew them to Chapman both for the APEx program, as well as the in-person and hands-on rotation styles that put pharmacy students of all years in the field. “During my first hospital IPPE, my preceptor asked me to start attending family consults with her and the medical team. After the first few Fridays of shadowing her, she asked if I’d feel comfortable leading one of the consults. I reviewed the patient’s chart and went over it with my preceptor, then embarked to represent the pharmacy at the patient’s bedside. I remember standing outside the room feeling overwhelmed when it suddenly hit me, ‘I’m about to do what I’ve dreamed about doing.’ And when I went into the patient’s room, I was able to follow along with what the attending physician was saying and was able to answer all the pharmacy-related questions quickly and accurately. When I left the room, I walked with my shoulders back and my head held high. It was the first time I felt truly competent as a pharmacy intern and was the first step to becoming the clinical pharmacist I still am becoming every single day.”
During their time at Chapman University, Mason has created a humble trophy shelf of accomplishments. Most notably, Mason Myers partnered with Mary Elkomos (she/her, PharmD ’23). He came in first place at the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists against the other 15 pharmacy schools in California. “Having the opportunity to work with Drs Amy Kang and Jerika Lam in preparation and to compete alongside Mary Elkomos was a dream. It was the perfect culmination of all the skills and knowledge I had gained at Chapman funneled into one event. Placing first at the state level and getting to bring home that pride to Chapman is something I’ll savor for a long time.” The pair then went on to the national stage at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, where they placed in the top 12% of competing schools nationwide.
“In all honesty, I’m incredibly grateful for the abundance of opportunities that Chapman has given me during my five years as a student here. They truly live up to their mission of offering personalized education and my career and personal trajectory are better because of it.”
How does Mason plan on following up on their legacy at CUSP? By matching into their dream and first-pick residency program in Portland, OR to begin a PGY1 Acute Care residency at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). “This program will give me the opportunity to further expand my clinical repertoire of skills and knowledge all while getting to serve a diverse and medically complex patient population.”
You can find Mason Myers on LinkedIn or Twitter.