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Dallas P4 Benefits from CVS Leadership Rotation

As he entered his final year at the SOP, Brett Noteware had a basic understanding of his career options as a pharmacist. Today, that understanding is much deeper due in large part to the CVS Caremark Pharmacy Leadership Rotation.

In November, Noteware became the first TTUHSC-SOP student to complete the rotation, which introduces students to the CVS Caremark business model. The company has employed that model to successfully combine CVS/pharmacy stores, mail order pharmacy service, specialty pharmacy and retail clinics under one umbrella and become the nation's largest pharmacy health care provider.

"I didn't know all this existed a month ago," Noteware said. "I'm realizing this is a very versatile profession and there are quite a number of avenues to go into with a pharmacy degree."

The seeds for the rotation were planted about a year ago in a discussion between SOP Dean Dr. Arthur Nelson and Texas Tech alumnus David Joyner ('86, BBA, Finance) about the SOP's joint Pharm.D./M.B.A. program that seeks to meet the growing complexities in health care by balancing clinical expertise with strong business acumen.

Joyner, who is the executive vice president of sales and account services for CVS Caremark, recognized the synergy between the school's goals and CVS Caremark's values. He proposed a collaborative rotation in which SOP students work with CVS Caremark leaders in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Joyner shared his idea with Jeff Garbe, CVS Caremark's director of sales operations, and Steven Reynolds, the company's talent acquisition supervisor. Garbe and Reynolds then spent the next several months developing the six-week program.

"We purposefully built this leadership rotation to be a reflection of our integrated business model," Garbe said. "As a result, Brett gained leadership perspective that he quite frankly couldn't get anywhere else because of our unique capabilities."

Joyner said the program reflects an aligned area of interest between industry and academia to develop the next generation of pharmacy leaders.

"We're investing in the future of pharmacy through activities like this and we were very pleased to open our doors to Brett and support his learning experience," Joyner said.

Noteware, who will receive his Pharm.D. in May, learned about the CVS rotation while earning his M.B.A. through the Pharm.D./M.B.A. program. He said he signed up because he thought it offered a unique opportunity to learn about managed care pharmacy and observe how pharmacy benefit managers help control costs while ensuring quality. He compared the experience to learning a new language and said the rotation enhanced his overall pharmacy education.

"First, I was able to meet many outstanding people and I know the relationships I developed will serve me well in the future," Noteware said. "Secondly, the rotation allowed me to gain in-depth knowledge about an area of pharmacy I had very little knowledge of going in. All of the leaders at CVS Caremark were very generous with their time and extremely patient and helpful."

Noteware said he isn't sure yet if, or how, the rotation will ultimately influence his career goals. He intends to pursue a residency position and become a leader in the profession.

"I feel like I am now more aware of the many different and unique job opportunities that the managed care area of pharmacy has to offer," Noteware said. "Managed care entities employ roughly 18,000 pharmacists nationwide; I wasn't truly aware of this fact before the rotation."

Noteware said the experience with the CVS rotation has also spurred his interest in starting an Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy student organization chapter at the SOP.

"I want to help other students learn about managed care, the tools used to ensure appropriate use of medications and the many job opportunities that it offers," Noteware said. "If any SOP students reading this are interested, they can contact me directly or go to www.amcp.org/studentcenter."

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