Dr. Elizabeth Autry is still early on in her career, but that doesn’t mean that she hasn’t had the chance to accomplish great things already, including taking an active role within PPAG. She is currently the clinical pharmacist for the Pediatric Pulmonary, Allergy, and Immunology services at the University of Kentucky – Kentucky Children’s Hospital with an emphasis in the management of pediatric cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. In addition, she is an adjunct assistant professor with the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy and serves as the Assistant Program Director for the PGY2 Pediatric Pharmacy Residency program at UK.
The groundwork for her involvement with PPAG began in her final year of pharmacy school with a rotation in the NICU. That rotation helped her to expand her pediatric interest and understand the networking opportunities PPAG offers. It was her second-year specialty residency where her involvement really began as her mentors and preceptors stressed the benefits of PPAG and helped her discover all that the organization had to offer. After all, her program director at the time, Dr. Robert Kuhn, was in the second class of fellows for PPAG. Since that time, Dr. Autry has gotten a chance to discover all that the organization has to offer. Among the aspects that she appreciates most are the networking, mentorship, and educational components of PPAG. She also likes the close-knit nature of the group. She has joined several Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and had the opportunity to present at the Fall Meeting in Tucson in 2016. This opportunity for professional development helped make that meeting one of her favorite PPAG meetings thus far (the other being the 2017 Annual Meeting in Charlotte for being one of her first meetings out of residency). Her organizational involvement also assists her on a daily basis. She notes that the collaboration in the listserv helps to present solutions to complex clinical cases or institutional practice changes.
Dr. Autry believes that PPAG’s future is particularly bright and is excited about all that is to come in the years moving forward. The organization’s strategic plan presents exciting opportunities for each of PPAG’s four pillars: collaboration, advocacy, research, and education. She would encourage students and new practitioners looking to be more involved in PPAG to find ways to be present and active members. Many ways to get involved exist if you are just open to them and willing to ask. New members should identify the areas that they are most passionate. This includes identifying particular interest areas of patient care and getting involved in the SIGs that best reflect that. She also recommends taking advantage of the networking opportunities at the national meeting. Finally, she would recommend not overextending oneself in the beginning.
My conversation with Dr. Autry was truly enjoyable as her passion for the organization was evident throughout the conversation. I also asked Dr. Autry to share an interesting fact that many of us might not know about her. It turns out that her fourth year NICU rotation included an opportunity to practice intubation skills on ferrets, and she was able to successfully accomplish the intubation. Dr. Autry is a true inspiration for many new practitioners like myself and I hope that many of you will get the chance to get to know her at a future meeting!