Hannah Berg, a native of Mound, Minnesota, started her pharmacy journey at Ohio State University, where she earned a bachelor’s in pharmaceutical sciences. Before attending Ohio State, Berg wasn’t interested in pharmacy. She was just a girl who enjoyed growing up on a lake. The coursework of her degree intrigued her, though, and she decided to pursue pharmacy.
“I love having the knowledge of how drugs work and the education that I can provide to others about how to use drugs safely and effectively,” Berg said. “I also like that pharmacists are truly the drug experts and can bring value to care teams inclusive of many different disciplines.”
Berg’s desire to be with her family again helped her make the decision to attend the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. The school’s high national ranking and the presence of many health care innovators in the area made the decision an even easier one.
Since returning to Minnesota and joining the college, Berg has made the most of her time by participating in as many clubs and internships as she can. Among her endeavors, was an internship at Prime Therapeutics which started in June 2017. She spent her first summer attending strategy, operations, and reporting meetings with her manager. She also gained clinical skills by making outreach calls to Medicare Part D members. The goal of the outreach calls was to educate members on the benefits of taking diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol medications as prescribed to improve their health and improve Medicare STAR ratings for Prime Therapeutics’ health plans.
Before her internship, she didn’t have the best understanding of how different aspects of a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) fit together. By attending meetings with her manager and getting opportunities to shadow in different departments, she learned about how their highly clinical department contributes to the overall goals of the company.
“At the end of my first summer, I was given the opportunity to present an intern project to the senior leadership in our department and I chose to discuss the value of bringing more pharmacy interns into the department,” Berg said. “After getting the approval to expand the internship, I was able to work closely with the intern director and coordinator to develop a comprehensive internship and give more students the opportunity to work at a PBM.”
During her time at the college, Berg has participated in many extra curricular activities. She is currently the director of Managed Care in the college’s AMCP Chapter and has been heavily involved in the organization since she started school. She has participated in the organization’s Drug Monograph Committee, Conference Planning Committee, and competed in their local Pharmacy and Therapeutics Competition. In addition to her involvement in AMCP, Berg is a member of the Minnesota Pharmacy Student Alliance (MPSA), the Rho Chi Pharmacy Honor Society, the Industry Pharmacists Organization (IPhO). She also volunteers at the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic.
“I have loved the opportunities that I have been provided at the college,” Berg said. “Our students and faculty do a great job of setting up lunch meetings to continuously expose us to different aspects of pharmacy, and everyone is very supportive of student interests. I feel fortunate to be surrounded by students who aren’t only bright, but also friendly and willing to help each other.”
The opportunities afforded to Berg go beyond involvement in student organizations and her internship at Prime Therapeutics. She has also been able to intern at Walgreens Pharmacy and M Health Fairview in the inpatient pharmacy and emergency department.
The biggest thing Berg has learned through her experience in and out of the classroom is how to be resourceful.
“Beyond all of the clinical knowledge that I have gained, I have learned how to be resourceful and collaborate to answer any question that a patient or colleague could throw my way,” Berg said. “This adaptability will help me in any role in my future career, especially as new drugs continue to come to the market that I didn’t have a chance to learn about in school.”
Berg is part of the class of 2021 and is currently working on a research project with Fairview Home Infusion regarding the clinical, financial, and patient satisfaction outcomes in patients receiving specialty medications in the home versus hospital-based ambulatory infusion center. After she graduates, she hopes to pursue a residency in managed care pharmacy and continue to learn more about the field.