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Employee Spotlight: Tram Thai, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist

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Learn more about Tram Thai, Cureatr's Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, who is responsible for implementing and expanding Cureatr's clinical pharmacy services. She works directly with patients, our team of pharmacists and pharm techs, and monitors our performance and delivery of our telepharmacy service.

employee spotlight Tram Thai Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. I grew up believing that I am half Vietnamese, half Chinese, but my great uncle who I met for the first time recently let me know that I’m 100% Vietnamese. My parents came to the United States in the 1980s. Back in Vietnam, my dad had a chemistry shop and when he and my mom emigrated the United States, he started making his own sauces and eventually opened his own restaurant which we ran as a family business. Like many immigrant parents, my parents stressed the importance of education and encouraged me to pursue a career in medicine or law. I went to school for medicine for a short time, but I didn’t have much passion for or interest in becoming a doctor. I went back home and spent some time working at the family restaurant. While working back home, I met a pharmacist who got me interested in pharmacy and I went back to school to become one.

When did you start here at Cureatr?

I officially started at Cureatr on April 19th, but I was splitting my time between Cureatr and Mount Sinai Hospital for a little while because of Cureatr’s current focus on scaling its telepharmacy operation.

What is your role at Cureatr and what does it entail?

My official job title is Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, but my job mainly entails two things. The first entails leadership projects focused on implementing and expanding the clinical pharmacy services we offer. We have contracts in place with some major players on both the payer and provider side of healthcare to perform MRPs (Medication Reconciliation Post-Discharge) and CMM (Comprehensive Medication Management) for patients on their behalf. I work with our clinical leadership team to come up with innovative ideas of how we can scale and deliver these types of clinical services.

The second part of my job is working directly with patients and our team of pharmacists and pharm techs and monitoring our performance and delivery of our telepharmacy services. I perform the services I mentioned before and train the pharmacists and pharm techs on how to preform them. I also make sure that our clinical service agreements get off to a good start before handing them off to my fellow pharmacists and pharm techs.

What day-to-day activities do you perform to make all of this important work happen?

As we are still waiting to kick off some of the big services contract that I mentioned earlier, a lot of my day-to-day has been putting in the work to make sure that we are set up for success when the projects kick off. I’m currently creating a pharmacist portal that will serve as our team’s main source of truth and reference for the delivery of our services. It contains content that will explain things such as our policies and procedures, training documentation, troubleshooting information, workflows specific to clients and answers to frequently asked questions to name a few things.

What is your favorite part of your job so far?

Working at a smaller company is new to me. Most of my career has been spent working for big health systems. In larger health system, pharmacy exists in a bit of a vacuum, and there isn’t a ton of opportunity to work with and interact with people outside of the pharmacy team. We didn’t typically have the knowledge and expertise of people outside of pharmacy at our fingertips. Being at Cureatr, I’ve found the opposite to be true. In the first two weeks of being here, I’ve been able to work with and have a direct line of communication with every department of the company. Having the opportunity to hear the perspectives of people outside of pharmacy has been exciting and the type of interdepartmental transparency that exists here really makes our work successful. That has been my favorite part so far.

Why do you like working at Cureatr?

Apart from the problems we are trying to solve, I love the fun environment at Cureatr. The people are awesome. My husband and I are both working from home right now and he wonders if I’m working because I’m laughing all the time. The fact that Cureatr has strong values we actually live by makes work feel fulfilling and fun at the same time. In previous roles, I often felt that leadership believed we couldn’t enjoy ourselves and have fun while still being productive. Here, we are encouraged to bring fun into our work, and there is a belief that having fun makes us more productive.

What do you find most challenging about your role?

What I find most challenging is also what I find to be most interesting. Given my clinical background, I haven’t had much exposure into all the other factors at play that make an operation like Cureatr’s successful. So, getting familiar with those factors and perspectives has been a bit of a learning curve. But it is a challenge that I’ve enjoyed. It’s also been a fun challenge to work on something where the goal is clear but how to accomplish it isn’t. We know where we want to go as an organization, but we understand that it will take everyone’s unique perspectives and expertise to get there.

If you had to describe curator in three words, what three words would you choose?

Innovative. Fun. Patient Centered.

What is your proudest moment at Cureatr so far?

So far, I’d say my proudest moment would be the work our team has done to complete Cureatr’s digital portal to service our team of pharmacists and pharm techs.

What is one unique thing about you that people might be surprised to learn?

One thing people are surprised to learn about me is that I have a bunch of sports book apps on my phone so I can bet on prize fights, sporting events and horse races. While I like, it I’m definitely a responsible gambler. I just think sports are a little more fun when you have a little stake in the game.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I love doing anything outside. I love spending time with my family. I love to travel. I love to cook. I love to bake. I love having fun and laughing.

What is the first app that you check in the morning?

The first thing I usually check is my email, even though I’ve been told I should not do that. I once met this world-renowned meditation expert and she told me the worst thing you can do is check your phone within the first five minutes of waking up. She told me I should lay in bed and listen to the sound of my breath for five minutes as it can really set a good precedent for the rest of your day. I did it for two days, but I slipped back into my old habit of checking it right away. I don't know why I do it. I know it can wait, it's just habit of mine.

I also check my email first thing because in I opened a restaurant with my brother and sister as a tribute to our late father who passed in 2017. So, I want to be on top of what’s going on there as well as on top of work here at Cureatr. Sometimes it feels like work never stops but when you do something that is fun and something that you love, you never work a day in your life. I love pharmacy, I love patient care, I love culture, I love food, and I love travel, so I feel really fulfilled and don’t mind the work.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was young, I always wanted to be a pediatrician, mainly because my parents had it in my head to be a doctor. So, I thought, “I love kids, that’ll be easy!”

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