Meet Evans Pope III, first-year PharmD student and co-founder of an early-stage startup, PrescribeDTX. Here, the Nashville, Tennessee native shares how he became interested in pharmacy, his experience moving to Los Angeles, and his aspirations for his career and the future of pharmacy.
You obtain a bachelor of science in nutrition and a master of science in biomolecular sciences. What attracted you to the field of pharmacy?
I’ve always had an interest in the human body because I grew up playing sports; track and field being my ultimate favorite sport in high school. I suffered a fairly serious hamstring injury during my junior year of high school which heightened my interest in the human body. In college, I was a nutrition major and a pre-medical student at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. As far as the field of pharmacy is concerned, I actually have to thank my mom who encouraged me to take my resume to our local Walgreens and speak to the pharmacists about available positions when I was seeking employment after obtaining my bachelor’s degree. Luckily, I was hired as a pharmacy technician and began to learn more about medications and patients and their medical needs. My experience at Walgreens encouraged me to pursue occupational and academic opportunities in the field of pharmacy.
What are your future educational/career goals and how do you think your course of study will help you reach them?
I’m strongly considering the PharmD program with a master’s in business administration to pursue a career in business development. My goal is to work at the intersection of innovation, research, and business development within the pharmaceutical sphere.
I also have a desire to be a positive role model for minorities, especially black students who are considering higher education in any form or fashion. I want to become a pharmacist that is a positive representation in the field of pharmacy while also being a beacon of hope for other black students and professionals.
What has your experience been like co-founding PrescribeDTX? What are the goals of your startup company?
PrescribeDTX came about in a few conversations last year during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when I was working at Cleveland Clinic – Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas as a research coordinator. My coworker, Joel Adu-Brimpong, and I had several conversations about how things were rapidly changing due to COVID-19 as it related to digital health. In our respective roles at Cleveland Clinic, we saw that digital medicine continued to spark discussion and so we decided to look more into digital therapeutics; a field that healthcare providers have limited information about. From there, Joel and I began to strategize ways to create an AI-powered web and mobile-based application to aid healthcare providers in prescribing emerging evidence-based digital therapies. More people began to join our team and we have begun to work diligently on this new project. We are still in the very early stages but we are hoping to build the platform we want and hopefully unveil it to the world pretty soon.
How has your experience been living in Los Angeles?
We have access to a truly diverse patient population. If you are someone like myself who is interested in impacting the underserved populations, specifically racial and ethnic minorities, you have a lot of access being in Los Angeles, specifically on the health sciences campus. There are a lot of current initiatives being undertaken by USC School of Pharmacy, as well as some initiatives that are undergoing active planning and development to make a genuine and meaningful impact with those populations.
I enjoy the proximity to a lot of the other areas of Los Angeles, however, I definitely want to explore more. I spend a lot of my time in Boyle Heights because it’s so close to campus but I would like to visit some of the areas in South Los Angeles and learn about some of the clinics in those respective neighborhoods and interact with the people.
Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective students about your experience at USC?
To any prospective students, do your due diligence in comparing and contrasting what you see at other schools with USC. But also, understand that USC offers something that a lot of other schools, unfortunately, do not; which is the opportunity to get hands-on experience in so many areas of pharmacy. I’ve been here for two and half months now and I’m already benefitting from being a member of the Trojan Family.