Prepare for Change

Ashley (Gray) PhilibertAshley (Gray) Philibert, PharmD

Clinical Pharmacist, Mercy-Unity Hospital 
LEA Class of 2010

By Justin Anderson, LEA Class of 2012

Ashley Gray entered pharmacy school with a head start in her leadership development. While preparing for pharmacy school she participated in the prestigious Tom Burnett Advanced Leadership Program at the University of Minnesota. When deciding to enter the Leadership Emphasis Area (LEA), she was hoping to discover areas in pharmacy where leading change was necessary. It is clear today, one and a half years post-graduation, that she has found those areas and immersed herself fully in them.

The Year Long Interview

Ashley entered a PGY1 residency at Mercy-Unity eager for whatever leadership projects that would come her way. She took on a project creating a tool to measure pharmacists’ productivity in terms of clinical and operational activities. One goal of the project was to better communicate the clinical productivity of pharmacists with administration. During this process, Ashley learned an important lesson: change can happen slowly in large health systems. She states “It is very helpful to understand the process of change, so that you can avoid the things that make you start it all over”. The process often takes significant effort and it is important to increase your chances of success by being prepared.

Ashley worked on several projects in collaboration with her co-resident Stacey Rewitzer, including starting a leadership book club, conducting leadership Interviews with health-system managers, creating personal mission statements, and reflecting on Myers Briggs assessments. Ashley valued each of her projects during residency because they were opportunities to make unique contributions to and have an impact on the environment around her. Additionally, they have helped her to prepare for post-residency. Ashley often shares with students that residencies could be considered as “year-long interviews”. She emphasizes the importance of establishing one’s ability to contribute to the team and to be seen as positive force for change.

Reducing Readmissions Through Medication Therapy Management (MTM)

Ashley succeeded in being viewed as a contributor to her team and that was part of the reason she was offered her current position with Mercy-Unity as a clinical pharmacist. Today she is working to expand MTM services focusing on improving transitions of care. She is passionate about reducing readmissions and is using her skills to help improve the health-system’s performance in that area. Today she is working strategically on selecting the right patient population that would benefit most from pharmacist visits prior to or after discharge. This strategy would represent a significant change to pharmacy operations and would bridge patients’ inpatient and outpatient care. She is abiding by her own advice by doing her homework before approaching management with her ideas for change. When approaching the change process, Ashley is intentional and forward thinking.

The Value of Leadership Development

Ashley offered some advice to students considering the LEA. She explained that pursuit of the emphasis is an excellent choice for those who “often are not content with the way things are and enjoy seeking new ways of doing things”. To that end, she believes that most students can benefit professionally from studying leadership. Furthermore, she believes that lessons in leadership apply to one’s personal life. To her, lessons in leadership create a toolbox for people that desire to create change. Her story highlights the results of intentionally pursing change and deliberately applying leadership lessons.