Meet USC School of Pharmacy alumnus Vinson C. Lee, MS ’01, PharmD ’06. In addition to his career as Director of Reimbursement, Access, and Value at Amgen, Vinson is President-Elect of the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA), a part-time USC School of Pharmacy faculty member and represents the school on the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors. He’ll be installed as CPhA President on February 26, 2017, at the Western Pharmacy Exchange.
Here, he talks about the power of mentoring and why he gives back to the USC School of Pharmacy.
Can you tell us about your “day job”?
In a nutshell, my job is to ensure patient access to Amgen products. Specifically, I develop the marketing strategy around access and coverage for a biologic therapy FDA approved for rheumatoid arthritis and plaque psoriasis amongst other indications. This job allows me to combine my experience in managed care and the pharmaceutical industry with my commitment as a pharmacist to serve patients.
You’ve created an endowed scholarship and are active in other ways. Why are you so involved at the USC School of Pharmacy?
I have been blessed with incredible mentors at USC who throughout the years have become my confidants, life-long friends, and colleagues. Above everything, they have instilled in me the value of staying engaged in the pharmacy profession through involvement in professional associations and the School of Pharmacy. Despite the hustle and bustle of life and work, giving back to USC and the profession remains a top priority for me.
We have to think beyond ourselves and consider the next generation of pharmacists. As educators and mentors, we must instill the right values and motivate our pharmacy students from day 1 so that we continue to advance our profession.
How did your experiences as a student at the school guide your career?
I credit my current professional success to the many leadership and development opportunities at USC. In addition to learning from great faculty and mentors, I benefited greatly from the wide array of extracurricular activities. I served as Vice President of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), President of the Alpha Iota Pi Professional Pharmacy Fraternity, and President of the Phi Lambda Sigma Pharmacy Leadership Society. I pursued and completed numerous summer internships in managed care, which subsequently turned into my first job out of pharmacy school.
I am still actively involved with AMCP, often serving as a mentor to pharmacy students via the AMCP “Buddy Program”, which matches managed care professionals with student mentees nationwide. And, at USC, I love to see students apply what they learned in the classroom to the real world as they develop and jumpstart their careers.
As an adjunct faculty member, what is your advice to students?
The career options in pharmacy are limitless. I advise students to take initiative and find their purpose and passion in pharmacy. Ultimately, it’s an investment all students should make early on to ensure a fulfilling and meaningful career. Dig deep and explore.
The mentors I am indebted to were generous with their advice, time, and made the effort to open doors for me. Now, as I help mentor students, I remind them how vital it is to help the next generation when they become pharmacists. Pay it forward and lead by example.
Do you have any other connections to the Trojan Family?
My wife, Anna Deng, also a pharmacist, graduated from the USC School of Pharmacy in 2012. And my sister, Doris Lee, is the Administrative Director at the USC Roski Eye Institute.
Did you meet your wife at USC?
We met through the USC Pharmacy network at a CPhA annual meeting. So USC, Alpha Iota Pi, and CPhA are near and dear to our hearts. Every CPhA annual meeting is a celebration of our “anniversary”—the 2017 annual meeting, Western Pharmacy Exchange, will be especially meaningful as I will be installed as President of CPhA.
Why should students consider the USC School of Pharmacy?
In addition to being a premier academic institution with a stellar reputation for over 100 years, the USC School of Pharmacy continues to innovate and improve upon its student offerings. The new pathway programs are really expanding experiential learning opportunities. The student organizations give a broad perspective of pharmacy, as well as many chances to learn through volunteering. Lastly, the Trojan network – it’s far-reaching and impactful in many ways that will benefit your career and life.
Why is supporting the Alumni Association so important?
It’s important to ensure that students have access to all the advantages we had as students — and more. We have to continue to evolve, not just our curriculum, but also the way that we teach our students. Changes in healthcare and pharmacy are inevitable and we must stay ahead of the curve.
We have so much value and expertise in our Alumni Network. I hope that alumni who aren’t currently involved will be motivated to reconnect and give back, either financially and/or with their time and experience as mentors.