Looking for a fellowship?
Definition: A pharmacy fellowship is a directed, highly individualized postgraduate training program that is usually research based and less clinically oriented than a residency program. A research fellowship is designed to prepare the participant to function as an independent investigator.
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Fellowships versus residency
Fellowships are similar to residencies in that they are both paid, intensive, postdoctoral training programs that allow for the opportunity to build on the skills and knowledge acquired in pharmacy school. In both programs, PharmDs are generally expected to participate in a multitude of tasks involving presentations, research, critical thinking, and team communication. Even though residents and fellows are training and learning, they are fully integrated and considered equally contributing members of their practice setting. Just as there are 1-2 year residencies, there are also 1 or 2 year fellowships offered. It is up to applicants to choose the length of the program they wish to pursue, which also depends on what is being offered. There are several differentiating factors between a residency and a fellowship that could assist students in choosing one path over another. A resident assumes more of a practitioner role, involving direct patient interaction and a strong clinical focus. In contrast, fellows are based primarily in a corporate setting and interface with company employees, partners and stakeholders. PharmDs in a fellowship supply indirect care by serving patients on a larger, global scale with the development of and access to medicine.
Notably, Fellowship programs offer positions in several different core areas of expertise, also referred to as functional areas (FAs). Depending on the employer, these can remain generalized or be broken down further. A key advantage of fellowship programs is that there is often opportunity for fellows to rotate across FA within the company as well as possibly externally in an academic, government, or hospital setting. The flexibility and the depth of fellowships programs provide felloes with a platform to develop themselves both personally and professionally once a stable foundation in their core department is established.
Prominent FAs in which fellows may play a role include:
Regulatory affairs: participation in health authority interactions and submissions related to the regulations and guidelines of the drug development process.
Clinical research and development: clinical trial planning, design, and execution, trial-related tasks such as study start-up, protocol development, medical monitoring, study closeout, and clinical study reports.
Medical affairs: translation of clinical trial information into a more concise manner to be shared with other health care professionals, review of promotional material for accurate clinical information, exposure to medical writing for medical inquiry responses.
Commercial: participation in the business and marketing side of the drug development cycle, strategic planning to bring a new drug into a competitive market.