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Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy

East Tennessee State University

Student Lee Holland experiences Xcenda rotation

Lee HollandLee Holland, class of 2018, completed an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) at Xcenda in May.

Lee earned a Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Public Health degrees concurrently through the college’s PharmD-MPH dual degree program. She was selected by Xcenda from a pool of student applications from pharmacy schools throughout the United States. Xcenda is a strategic consultancy that provides real-world expertise in health economics and outcomes research, reimbursement, stakeholder insights, and market access consulting and communications. Xcenda helps biopharmaceutical companies and pre-commercialization phase firms demonstrate the value of their products, and assists manufacturers with commercializing innovative medical treatments and technologies in global markets.

The Xcenda rotation provides students with an insight into the roles, responsibilities and daily activities of pharmacists within the pharmaceutical industry. While at Xcenda, students learn about the clinical, economic and humanistic outcomes of healthcare interventions with a focus on pharmacoeconomics and health care quality assessment. During the course of the rotation, students gain exposure to the various steps involved in conducting quality-focused, outcomes-based research – from proposal development to analysis and manuscript preparation.[1]

How did you first hear about the Xcenda rotation? 

Rachel Brown, PharmD/MPH Class of 2016, was the first Gatton student to be accepted for a rotation at Xcenda. She shared her experiences and encouraged me to apply. 

What made you decide to apply for the Xcenda rotation?

I have about a decade of experience in the medical insurance industry and that prompted me to enroll in the articulated Masters of Public Health Program. There is an amazing number of careers open to people with this combination of degrees. Xcenda has given me both information and networking opportunities to pursue a whole range of careers outside of traditional pharmacy. 

How will the Xcenda rotation assist you in future career goals?

Currently, I am considering targeting a career in managed care, pharma industry, medical consulting or medical communications.  The idea of becoming a medical science liaison to healthcare facilities involved in clinical trials has recently been suggested to me. My time with Xcenda will help me towards any of those goals. 

Did you have a mentor that helped you pursue this rotation?

I feel incredibly lucky that so many of the Gatton faculty and administration have been mentors to me. As both a second career and dual MPH student, I am a bit of an odd duck. However, Dr. Katelyn Alexander, Dr. Nicholas Hagemeier, Dr. Chuck Collins and Dr. Sarah Melton have always had their doors open to me when I needed advice. Dean-emeritus Larry Calhoun has also been incredibly supportive. My mother-in-law, Brenda Blackburn Skipper, who first suggested pharmacy school, was also a major influence. My only regret is that she recently passed away after a long battle with cancer and I wish she could be here. She would have been so excited about this rotation

How would you describe your overall experience at Xcenda and would you recommend it to other students?

My overall experience with Xcenda was life changing. Everyone was so willing to take time out of their day to speak with me about career options I didn’t even know existed before now. My preceptor, Dr. Victor Nguyen, has been great in helping me see what I can do with my combination of experience and education. I was given the opportunity to work on new business development with one of Xcenda’s vice presidents, research Health Technology Assessments (HTAs) at an international level, and network with other pharmacy students. My advice to other students is if you are interested in any career field outside of traditional pharmacy, you want to apply for this rotation!

[1] (AmerisourceBergen Corporation, 2017) 

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