Dr. Mary Ngo, a two-time CUSP graduate, has been one of the most active alumna in the institution’s history. Since graduating in 2019 with her Doctor of Pharmacy, Dr. Ngo has served as the CUSP Alumni Advisory Board Chair for the 21-22 academic year and was awarded the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award. Today Dr. Ngo serves as a clinical pharmacists at Edward R. Roybal Comprehensive Center in Los Angeles.

Recently Dr. Ngo sat down with the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists to discuss her ongoing involvement in the professional community and how that has helped her remain up to date on best clinical practices, expand her network, and mentor the next generation of pharmacists. Her full story is below, or can be read on CSHP’s website.

Hello everyone! My name is Mary Ngo, and I am a clinical pharmacist at Edward R. Roybal Comprehensive Center, an ambulatory care clinic with Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. I’ve been involved with CSHP ever since my graduation in 2019 from Chapman University School of Pharmacy and have been keeping involved with the pharmacy professional ever since. Throughout these years out of school, I’ve made so many transitions: from being an outpatient/discharge pharmacist straight out of graduation, to pursuing and completing pharmacy residency 3 years out of school, and to finally practicing as an ambulatory care pharmacist present day. Having to keep involved has been helpful in building and maintaining my network, expanding my knowledge to the most updated clinical changes in practice, and giving back to the next generation of pharmacy!

This goes out to all those who are trying to transition in the pharmacy job market, regardless of whether you’ve just graduated or are trying to switch from one role to another. The job market for pharmacists can be rough, and pharmacy intern jobs don’t come by easily either. I attended CSHP Seminar 2021 where they had a Career Transitions session and the panelists were all former or current residents/fellows. I don’t mean to critique the panelists there; they did an amazing job sharing. My biggest take on the session was that it wasn’t a good representation of the 70-80% of students in their graduating class that’s going straight into the workforce if not for post-graduate training (residency or fellowship); since then, my role in the New Practitioners Executive Committee (NPEC) has gotten me strongly involved in creating programming, advocating that there are many ways to achieve your professional goals!

I remind students about that statistic, and that regardless of where you may end up after graduation, you will still become a PharmD by the time you graduate. It makes you no less valuable in serving the health profession and community you already serve especially during these crazy times. Also, to new practitioner colleagues especially, to keep building your network! The saying “pharmacy is a small world” almost feels so literal because you’ll keep hearing the same names ever so often! Whether you build professional relationships through conferences, LinkedIn, organizations, health fairs, events, or even in your classroom, these relationships become a great asset that can help you later and even help you explore your interests. One final piece of advice to all pharmacists and student pharmacists is to really “be a sponge” and take all the opportunities provided to you to learn about something that intrigues you: you might find it something you want to do and pursue it.