UMKC School of Pharmacy: Where Opportunities Abound

UMKC School of Pharmacy alumna, Janelle Sabo, shares insight on the ever-changing field of health care and pharmaceuticals with a look inside her profession during these unprecedented times.
Photograph of Janelle Sabo.

As the world becomes more aware of the growing skill sets of today’s pharmacists, the roles they play in health care will continue to evolve and expand. Our UMKC School of Pharmacy graduates are working in a vast array of health care fields.

Janelle Sabo, Pharm.D., R.Ph., M.B.A., is a 2000 graduate of the UMKC School of Pharmacy. An executive leader in clinical research design, development and delivery, she serves as the global head of clinical innovation, system and clinical supply chain at Eli Lilly and Company. She is accountability for the overall development, registration and launch of anti-COVID-19 therapeutics across the globe.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

In my role, I leverage virtually every aspect of my education, including physics, calculus and the full pharmacy curriculum. The key difference is that I am not evaluating known information and data, but helping design and deliver critical information to inform health care professionals how a new treatment may be useful and practically utilized in a given disease state. 

What does a typical day look like in your role? 

My typical day involves four key focus areas: Portfolio and clinical research design and delivery, development and scaling of critical capabilities to enable clinical research, developing people, and external engagement with industry groups, vendors, regulators and other key partners.

Why did you decide on pharmacy as a career choice? 

I have loved science since I was young and wanted to help people. While I considered being a doctor, I was quickly drawn to the way medications can fundamentally improve and/or cure those who need help the most. I wanted there to be more options, especially in unmet medical therapeutic areas and pediatrics.

How do you see the role of pharmacists evolving in the future?

There is a world of roles beyond the traditional pharmacy that is growing. I have pharmacists in virtually every aspect of my organization – from data to clinical investigational pharmacy, from mobile and decentralized research to investigator training, from clinical trial design to clinical trial development and delivery. The pharmacy curriculum combined with in-clinic experience is invaluable in drug development. It opens many opportunities.

What do you do outside of work for fun? 

I enjoy time with my family and friends, traveling both domestically and internationally, hiking, and time by the pool in the summers.

What is your best advice for someone thinking about a career in pharmacy? 

Pharmacy is not just what you see today behind the counter or in the hospital. There are many opportunities in industry, academia, research, consulting and related industries. These broader opportunities require a solid foundation academically and exploration early in your schooling as internships, externships and exposure will increase your ability to pursue them post residency or fellowship.

Why would you encourage someone to pick the UMKC School of Pharmacy? 

UMKC has been well-ranked for more than 30 years, with a strong history of producing excellent graduates that have gone on to be leaders in their field. UMKC graduates have been successful in a variety of pharmacy settings and blazed new career paths. The masters and Ph.D. programs are solid with excellent scientist who care deeply about their areas of research.

How did your time at the UMKC School of Pharmacy prepare you for your current role? 

UMKC School of Pharmacy provided me organizational leadership opportunities, and supported and recommended me for critical internships in the summers. It also provided me an excellent academic and clinical foundation to build from as I launched into my career in clinical research and drug development.

Learn more about School of Pharmacy

Published: Dec 17, 2020

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