Medical Communications

The University of Southern California, School of Pharmacy/ ISTA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Fellowship Program in Medical Communications is a one-year mentored traineeship designed to provide the pharmacy professional with the opportunity to develop competency in a pharmaceutical industry-based medical communications setting.

The program is a challenging post-doctoral education and training program where the fellow will acquire the teamwork and leadership skills along with gaining proficiency in both verbal and written communication skills necessary to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry.

Learning Objectives

The Fellow (classified as student) will execute an individualized training program that he or she creates under the guidance of the faculty mentor and respective Medical Communications staff with hands-on participation opportunities to accomplish the following with the understanding that fellows do not perform work as employees.

The Fellow will identify a research activity or project depending on the Fellow’s background and experience and through discussions with the mentors from the USC School of Pharmacy and ISTA Pharmaceuticals. He/she will write a research/project proposal, collect and analyze data, and disseminate findings by the end of the year. The research activity/project will allow the Fellow to apply the learning from the didactic courses and practical experiences to problem solving in medical communications and to develop reporting and presentation skills including:

  • Effectively communicate details of medical information both orally and in writing to health care professionals, consumers, and industry personnel.
  • Demonstrate competency in evaluating medical literature and editing of publications.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in handling inquiries regarding products.
  • Participate as a scientific resource to the promotional review committee to ensure accuracy and fair-balance as it relates to Publications, Marketing and Advertising materials.
  • Participate in the review and development of drug information responses/ standard response letters.
  • Actively interface with the field-based Medical Affairs Managers and interact with external thought leaders
  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the role of Medical Affairs and the collaboration with other departments including Clinical Research and Marketing
  • Participate in opportunities for personal and professional development by attending and participating in training sessions and meetings.
  • Complete selected courses and seminar related to the pharmaceutical industry

Learning Activities

The Fellow will interact with and learn from other professionals in the company, including those in regulatory affairs, clinical research, marketing, drug safety, and legal. The program is designed to provide the Fellow with skills and experiences that serve as a springboard for a successful career within the pharmaceutical industry

Time will be also be allocated to the USC School of Pharmacy for meetings, coursework and seminars tailored to the fellow’s interests and needs. The fellow will be taking coursework from the USC School of Pharmacy each semester as appropriate

Company Overview

ISTA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a rapidly growing ophthalmic pharmaceutical company based in Irvine, California. ISTA is currently the fourth largest branded ophthalmic pharmaceutical business in the U.S. and is developing one of the healthcare industry’s most comprehensive late-stage therapeutic pipelines to treat diseases of the eye.

ISTA Pharmaceuticals is dedicated to research and development of products to treat serious diseases and conditions of the eye. Despite our rapid growth, we are focused on maintaining our core cultural values which recognize the individual and team contributions that make our business grow. As the Company continues to progress, ISTA will position itself as a fully integrated specialty pharmaceutical company with a focus on ophthalmology, addressing substantial patient populations.

Training Sites

The primary training site for the Fellowship program is at ISTA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. located in a professional complex in Irvine, California. The fellow will have opportunities at the USC School of Pharmacy to participate in the learning and teaching components for the fellowship program.

Upon successful completion of the fellowship, the candidate will receive a certificate of completion from the USC School of Pharmacy.


The fellowship program starts July 1 and ends June 30. Candidates for the fellowship position must have completed Doctor of Pharmacy degree from an ACPE-accredited college of pharmacy and be eligible for licensure to practice pharmacy in the state of California. Completion of a PGY1 residency is preferred.

The candidate should have strong written and oral communication skills. They are expected to effectively correspond and work with other team members of various backgrounds. Strong candidates are independent, proactive, and show an interest in developing current as well as new skills through the fellowship.

The Fellow will be selected from a national pool of applicants on a competitive basis and the decision will be made by the Fellow selection committee, to be composed of representatives from USC School of Pharmacy and ISTA Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

For further information or an application, please contact:

William C. Gong, PharmD, FASHP, FCSHP
Director, Residency and Fellowship Training
Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy
University of Southern California
School of Pharmacy
1985 Zonal Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90089-9121
Telephone: (323) 442-2625