The founder of a podcast network strives to amplify pharmacists’ voices
(republished from Pharmacy Today)
Todd Eury isn’t a pharmacist. So why does he run the Pharmacy Podcast Network, which features dozens of pharmacy podcasts (including two featured below)
Despite a background in telecommunication, “it wasn’t really about the podcasting. It was about educating myself about a sector of health care that I became immersed in when I joined SoftWriters [a Pittsburgh-based pharmacy software company],” Eury said. His work at SoftWriters kept him on the road, and Eury longed for talk radio that would give him a more comprehensive understanding of the entire pharmacy industry.
“[In 2009], I decided to start interviewing thought leaders and subject matter experts to learn from them and share the interviews with pharmacy operators and owners,” Eury said. “It was simple at first, but it just duplicated and expanded and grew into an entire podcast network [covering] so many pharmacy verticals and subjects.
Podcasting, Eury said, is very important to gathering news, sharing knowledge, and amplifying voices. “The Pharmacy Podcast Network is the number one podcast about pharmacy because we started so early, and now we’re recognized as one of the top 25 podcasts in business,” he said. “It’s amazing to be in the same category as Bloomberg Law and The Economist. The Wall Street Journal has four podcasts that we compete with to get that top-25 spot.
The podcasts’ topics, as well as pharmacy’s increasing relevance to American lives, are contributing to a higher profile. “We want to make sure that people outside of pharmacy are listening to the best material that we can put forward,” Eury said. “That’s the reason that we sound so professional, and there’s music and there’s intro and there’s show notes. We’re doing it as a true publication—because we want it to be the highest quality information available.
The Pharmacy Podcast Network has a board of advisors that explores future podcasts and themes around which it can build a limited series—one about sickle cell disease is in production right now. The board also examines metrics to identify popular issues and will seek out a pharmacist who is passionate about it to host a related podcast. “Maybe it’s pain management, maybe it’s pediatrics, PBM reform, or policy development, but regardless, we’re going to be open to partnering with any pharmacist that wants to amplify their voice and their passion and their commitment to better health care.
Authenticity defines a young pharmacist and podcaster
It all started with a guest appearance on Pharmacy Future Leaders—another show on Eury’s Pharmacy Podcast Network—in January 2019. “I had so much fun recording the episode, I made a mental note that maybe one day I would get into podcasting,” said Madeline Acquilano, PharmD.
Acquilano, 25, already had a sizable following on Instagram when, a few months later, she matched to a PGY-1 residency in clinical pharmacy. “The number one topic my followers were asking about was residency, but these were not questions that I could easily respond to in my DMs on Instagram. I wanted to give thoughtful and thorough answers to my followers just like I could to my students and friends in person.” The Luxe Pharmacist Podcast was born.
Authenticity is crucial to Acquilano. “[The Luxe Pharmacist Podcast‘s] mission has been and will always be to share my experiences and advice to help serve and inspire the next generation of pharmacists.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the show. “In early March, when COVID-19 hit the Northeast hard, I was a resident on my second ICU rotation and it completely consumed my life. All of my content creation and podcasting came to a dead halt,” Acquilano said. “I think anyone who has been on the front lines of this pandemic may also be at a loss for words to try and explain the chaos and destruction that it has brought.
She will never forget the day she encountered her first positive patient, not only because it was a face-to-face experience, but also because this patient was younger than she was. “The hospital felt different ever since that moment. Looking at a patient younger than yourself in the prone position due to [acute respiratory distress syndrome] is a hard image to get out of your head.
There are so many moments she will never forget: watching young, otherwise healthy patients leave families behind; caring for couples who were both infected, but only one of them made it back home; the hospital transforming into a war zone, with makeshift ICU units scattered throughout. “Obviously these aren’t exactly ‘happy’ moments, but they are the reality and have made me a better clinical pharmacist,” Acquilano said. “The truly joyful moments of this pandemic for me were watching our first patient, the one younger than me, finally leave the hospital after almost 40 days on the ventilator—I admit, I sobbed uncontrollably.
And she’s treasured the time working alongside her preceptors, Zachary Binkowski, PharmD, and Joseph Faulhaber, PharmD, whom she calls her heroes. “I would like to honor them this American Pharmacists Months for making me the clinical pharmacist I am today,” Acquilano said. “Your dedication to patients will forever inspire me.
Rachel Balick, reporter
© 2020 American Pharmacists Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.