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Traveling the Road Less Traveled as the 2022-2023 BPS Executive Resident

by Aneesh Asokan, PharmD, MBA
BPS 2022-2023 Executive Resident



In July of 2022, I embarked on my postgraduate journey in pharmacy as the 2022-2023 executive resident for the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS). I remember my initial excitement when I first saw the residency opportunity and knew that it would be a great step in my career after graduation.


I graduated with my Doctor of Pharmacy and Master’s in Business Administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) in May 2022 and continuing my learning after graduation was important to me. One could say that pursuing a pharmacist career outside of traditional patient care was always in the cards for me. Early on in my pharmacy education, I was introduced to the many practice settings a pharmacist can pursue. I learned that some pharmacists did not take a linear path to pharmacy practice or find themselves in a direct patient care setting. This also implanted the idea of the “road less traveled” within the pharmacy realm, where I could explore my role as a pharmacist outside of direct patient care. One example of this was my internship at KloudScript, Inc, a specialty pharmacy.


Once I learned of the multiple ways I could continue my pharmacy career outside of the well-known direct patient care realm, I spent time researching and networking with others to gain new perspectives and to better understand what this pharmacy career “road” entailed.


To gain a solid foundation for my career, I sought out leadership experiences such as School and Class President, a chapter level executive board member in the American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists, as well as many other internal organizations for the School of Pharmacy. I realized that I enjoyed maintaining relationships and pursuing leadership opportunities. I gravitated towards different leadership roles because I wanted to be “in the room where it happened.” As a student, I sometimes felt like I was at the mercy of other’s decisions rather than being able to forge my own path. However, by actively seeking opportunities to be involved and foster new relationships, I was able to have a say in the decision-making process and understand the value of the student’s voice.


The two ideas of the “road less traveled” and being “in the room where it happens” came together – almost perfectly – as I searched for post-graduate opportunities and landed the executive residency position within BPS. BPS appealed to me because of the focus on specialization and advanced practice of pharmacists across the globe. To me, BPS certification empowers pharmacists to be a knowledgeable and respected voice in the “room” where healthcare decisions are made.


Now, three months into my role, I cannot fathom a better position to continue my growth as a pharmacist. The executive residency program offers new ideas, perspectives, and avenues to explore my interests. So far, I have been able to learn about continuous professional development (CPD) and how it pertains to pharmacist certification and engage in Specialty Council discussions. I look forward to sinking my teeth into topics such as organizational finance, strategic planning, and governance within professional associations.


While I may have been one of the few students from my school to pursue a post-graduate training program at the intersection of association management and professional certification, I believe that the experiences and knowledge I’m gaining from this executive residency will be highly beneficial, no matter my future trajectory. I encourage students to reflect on their interests and passions. If association management or professional certification are areas of interest, I highly recommend the various postgraduate training opportunities that are available. For me, being on the “road less traveled,” led me to BPS, now it is up to me to get myself into the “room where it happens” and grow as a pharmacist.


For more information about this post graduate training program, including the executive residency position with BPS, visit this webpage.