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#BackToSchoolRx Part 2: Dr. Katasha Butler on the PharmD + MBA Combination

Katasha S. Butler, PharmD, MBA 

When she’s not talking Nexium® IV pushes by day and designing Kate Spade-inspired parties by night, Katasha S. Butler, PharmD, MBA is a pharmacist and an entrepreneur.  She is the Section Chief for Inpatient Pharmacy and PGY1 Residency Coordinator at Illiana Health Care System—Department of Veterans Affairs.  She is also the owner of The Conciergerie, a wedding and special event design agency and Social, an event venue and banquet hall in downtown Danville. 

Dr. Butler is a Danville, Illinois native who learned Chemistry and culture at Spelman College, the premier institution of higher learning for Black women.  She went on to obtain her Master of Business Administration in Leadership and Doctor of Pharmacy degree at Butler University.  Since joining the VA, Dr. Butler has been recognized for her leadership and hard work, including selection for the highly-competitive, national Health Care Leadership Development Program and graduation from the VISN 12 Leadership Development Program and Vermilion Advantage Class 26 Leadership Program.  She has also received the 2014 Director’s EEO Award, the 2014 VISN 11 Diversity Award, two Special Contribution Awards and numerous other recognitions.  Dr. Butler also serves as the Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion for the VAMC, fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce. 

When she’s not working with drugs, Dr. Butler can be found recommending the best lipsticks to her friends, following political news and current events, engaging in philanthropic endeavors and plotting her next takeover.  She also likes to read, shop, and travel the world.  Dr. Butler is very active in her community through membership and participation in numerous boards and organizations including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and The Links, Inc.

You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at: @thekatashashow

Direct download: BackToSchool_Part_2_Katasha_Butler.mp3
Category:Pharmacy -- posted at: 9:24am EDT


Interview with Maria Sibbel, a pharmacy student at Creighton University who is looking to complete a PGY1 hospital pharmacy residency after her fourth year. She is especially interested in teaching, clinical hospital pharmacy, acute care, infectious disease and emergency medicine.

Everyone’s leadership road is a little different; tell us what you are doing now and how you got there.

I did not start out in pharmacy. I was a medical illustrator working from home. My life changed when my son was born with spina bifida. He was life-flighted over to University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. All the doctors and nurses there where wonderful. They literally saved his life. When I was there I saw the impact the nurses, doctors and the rest of the health care team had on me and my family. I felt that I needed to give back in the same way by getting into the health care field. I was sort of in the health care field at the time as I was illustrating medical diagrams etc. for text books and journals. However, I wanted to do more, so I was looking to go back to school. I looked at pharmacy, PT and OT and with my skill set and background, I felt pharmacy would fit my personality and skills the best. I talked to a friend of mine who had gone through the Creighton University distance pathway and she raved about the program. I started looking into the program and getting more interested, but I still didn’t feel like I knew what a pharmacist did. So I went out and got a job as a pharmacy technician at a Hy-Vee drugstore to get a good feel for what pharmacist really do. The more I learned, the more interested I was in becoming a pharmacist. I applied to pharmacy school, got in, and now I am in my fourth year in pharmacy school and actually getting to do some of the things I have been studying. I just find it fascinating. The more I learn, the more interested I am in the field. I also went from community pharmacy to hospital pharmacy during my schooling, because I go an opportunity to get a job at a hospital. I wanted to learn what they do in the hospital pharmacy compared to the community pharmacy. So I started working one full day a week in the hospital pharmacy. The more I worked in the hospital pharmacy, the more I felt that’s where I belong. I really enjoy the clinical aspects, but I also enjoy being with people, working with the patients and their families. I enjoy working with the doctors and the nurses as an interdisciplinary team. So I feel that’s my path to take.


I have never been to your home but you told me your living room became your library/study place. Tell me about this professional study space you have created for yourself.

I wanted to have a bright area. Some people like to study in a cave, I do not. My living room has a big picture window, so I moved my desk in there. I have book shelves all around the room with my pharmacy books all lined up. I have my lap top and my desk top so I can multi task. I might have “Up to Date” up on one computer while I have the lecture up on the other. I am all about multi-tasking and I need a good environment for that. Yes, my living room has turned into a study/library. That’s what works for me.

How much were you or your classmates able to work during pharmacy school having a more flexible schedule and re-claiming hours not sitting in traffic? Incoming student may wonder “can I work extra hours, 10 hours, 20 hours”? What is your experience during the 3 years you were a distance student?

It really does depend on the person. Coming into the program, I hated it when people would say that because it makes it hard to plan. I have classmates that didn’t work at all and I have at least one classmate that worked full-time the whole time. That is not the norm. Working full-time would be extremely difficult. I think the majority of people would work anywhere from 10-20 hours a week. I worked one full day about 8-10 hours a week. I was able to do that on the day that the campus students had their labs. We as distance students do our labs for two weeks in the summer. We go to campus where we do labs back to back, but the campus students do their lab on one day a week during the school year. For example, all day Tuesday is lab sessions. So since I didn’t have any classes on that day, I would make that my work day and get of my work hours done in one day. That seemed to work for me so I didn’t have 3 evenings a week where I would work 3-4 hour shifts.

What are some of the disadvantages of an online program?

As an online student you have the choice if you want to be very independent and on your own or if you want to create a network for yourself with the other student. I know some students felt that they were kind of alone in the program in that they didn’t have the day-to-day interaction with the people they would see in class every day. For me, I took this a step further, and I think a lot of people did this in my class, we formed study groups of people we would keep in touch with on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. For example, I have a friend I got to know pretty well over the summer labs. We would keep in touch and study together for tests. We would ask each other questions that we would come up with to study for the test or maybe try to clarify questions that we had about class before we would ask the professor. Just because sometimes another person understands the material in a different way than you do. So there is that disadvantage of feeling alone if you are not used to being on your own studying, but I think that being on your own studying can be both a disadvantage and an advantage. You don’t have that distraction of other people either. I think it was a flexible thing as I could get in touch with people when I wanted to, but they weren’t distracting me to go out and party, for example.

Tell me about the rotations you have already taken and how they fit into your goal of becoming a hospital pharmacist. How did you decide on which 8 rotations you wanted to do, starting with the required ones and then go on to the electives?

We have to do 8 rotations total, each rotation being 5 weeks. The 5 required rotations for us are: hospital, community, ambulatory, acute care and MTM. The electives I chose were the academic rotation with you, hospital administration, and oncology. I chose the oncology rotation because when I did my 2-week IPPE at a hospital in Ames, I saw how much the oncology pharmacists did for those patients and what an impact they had on the patients and their families. So I wanted to learn more about it. I chose the academic rotation to see if I would like teaching and I have to say I really love it. I really like the interaction with the students, especially the pharmacy technician students. Probably because it is a smaller class and I get to know them better. The third elective I chose was hospital administration or management because I like being in a leadership role. I have gotten to know several pharmacists who are managers and I could see myself doing something like that in the future possibly. So I wanted to learn more about that too.

What are you most excited about today. I know you’ve got midyear coming up. What is really exciting you now?

I am really excited about mid-year. I have a poster that I am going to present at mid-year. I wrote up a case report on meningitis. We had an interesting case on my acute care rotation this summer, so I will be presenting that. I hope to meet with some of the residency directors and residents that are in this area (central Iowa). I do really like central Iowa, so I would love to get a residence in this area. I am originally from Norway, I came here as a foreign exchange student. I liked it so much that I went to Iowa State University. I have fallen in love with the people of Iowa, the places here and would like to practice in central Iowa. It excites me that I am getting close to being able to practice what I have been learning in school and at the same time excited about possibly doing a residency and getting to do more of those rotations. I don’t feel like I have enough electives for this year. So I would love to do residency in order to get to do more specialty hospital rotations. I would also like to do a residency because my dream job is getting to do both academics and clinical hospital pharmacy as a career.

What is your best daily ritual to keep you on track?

Creating a schedule really helps me. Especially, in the beginning when you are trying to set up that routine. I even had a schedule set up that said which subject to study for how many minutes each day. I pretty much had each minute planned out for the first semester and then adjusted it from there. So I think that something that really helps me is having that schedule to keep me on track

What is the best career advice you have ever received or given?

I try to approach things as if I was in that patient’s shoes or that co-worker’s shoes. How would I want to be treated? I would always want that person to go the extra mile for me, so that’s what I try to do. I try to go that extra mile, even if it is just to get the insurance to cover the medication, to make that extra phone call to the insurance company. Just doing that extra little bit goes a long way.

What inspires you?

I feel like there is so many things that inspire me, but I would say seeing how far my son has come in life already. We didn’t know if he was going to be able to walk, and yesterday I just saw him skipping down the street and I was running trying to catch up with him. He inspires me to keep going, to be better, because I know the challenges he faces every day.

Direct download: Pharmacy_Future_Leaders_-_Maria_Sibbel.mp3
Category:Pharmacy -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Special guest & Cardinal Health independent pharmacy owner & customer - Mr. Rob Cockman, PharmD with Midtown Pharmacy

The Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network:

Which pharmacies are ideal participants in CPESN?  Pharmacies that focus on PATIENTS instead of PRESCRIPTIONS Pharmacies that establish STRONG RELATIONSHIPS with their patients and members of the local health care community Pharmacies that provide ENHANCED SERVICES Services that transcend conventional pharmacy services. 

About Rob:

Rob Cockman opened Midtown Pharmacy in 2003, originally located in the Stoney Creek Village Shopping Center. Rob began with the vision of bringing back small-town pharmacy in an era trending toward big corporate box stores. After years of success, Rob reopened Midtown Pharmacy in a larger location in 2010. The new facility allows for a better selection of medical equipment, over-the-counter products, room for health and wellness classes for the community, as well as The Children's Boutique.

Midtown Pharmacy is purposefully patterned after the old-fashioned community pharmacy. It is an independent business, built on Rob’s philosophy that taking care of customers is the just the right thing to do. Midtown Pharmacy offers all the services of a modern “big box drug store,” but delivers excellent service with the attentiveness, good manners and personality of the pharmacy your parents and grandparents knew.

Direct download: RBC_2017_CPESN.mp3
Category:Pharmacy -- posted at: 4:34pm EDT

Is Amazon Your Next Pharmacy? This is a 3 part series from the Gavel & Pestle Podcast with Darshan Kulkarni, Pharm.D, MS, Esq.


PART 3 of 3

  • Where's Amazon fit in?
  • Are they just a potential wholesaler?
  • What about the PBM Play?
  • And how does their warehouse leverage play into the bigger picture?
Gavel & Pestle Podcast
Darshan Kulkarni, Pharm.D, MS, Esq.
The Kulkarni Law Firm
2929 Arch Street, Suite 1700
Philadelphia, PA 19104-7327
Office Number: 215-948-8183
Twitter: @FDALawyers
Direct download: the_Amazon_Effect_Part_3.mp3
Category:Pharmacy -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Welcome to the first episode of the newest segment of the Pharmacy Podcast Network, the INCOME OUTCOMES SHOW

ABOUT: Joe Casselman, ChFC

Co-Host Podcaster | Income Outcomes Show

“I absolutely love what I get to do every day, collaborating with amazing people and having the pleasure of witnessing financial achievement beyond what was thought possible. I believe that making the best money decisions is only possible through truthful education, thinking differently, and confident action.”

– Joe Casselman, ChFC

Joe Casselman is a Chartered Financial Consultant, focusing on achieving maximum financial potential for families and small business owners. Joe is the founding partner with Pharmacist Financial. Since 2005, Pharmacist Financial has been a leading provider of financial education and planning for the pharmacy community throughout Texas. Joe was an entrepreneur from an early age, and has the natural ability to befriend many people. This led him to an extremely rewarding profession; guiding others to confidently create financial security and wealth. Joe graduated from the University of Texas in Austin after several years at the University of Dallas, including six months abroad in Rome, Italy. Joe has fifteen years’ experience and regularly meets with seasoned and successful mentors to grow even more. Joe enjoys collaborating with many different types of clients under a no pressure effort, focusing on developing meaningful long-term client advisor relationships.

He currently lives in Arlington, Texas with his sweet two-year-old son, Dylan.

Pharmacist Financial is an assumed name of Uniqueconomics LLC, a Registered Investment Advisory in the State of Texas, providing fee-based consulting, planning, and investment advice. Pharmacist Financial and their representatives do not promise any performance results, nor do they guarantee against any type of economic risk or loss of principal. Pharmacist Financial does not render tax or legal advice, and request that you seek the proper counsel in those respective areas. Pharmacist Financial also does not sell commissioned-based insurance products, however, Joe Casselman is an independently licensed life & disability insurance agent in the State of Texas, and can facilitate the purchase of certain insurance products when appropriate.

Contact Joe at or 512-294-7046

ABOUT: Benjamin Coakley, CFP, ChFC, CLTC

Co-Host Podcaster | Income Outcomes Show

Co-host of the Income Outcomes Show, where helping pharmacists, pharmacy employees and pharmacy owners make better financial decisions.

Ben is a business owner and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience working in the independent pharmacy industry. He is the author of many articles in America’s Pharmacist magazine and is a nationally recognized speaker in the pharmacy industry. He currently publishes a blog for pharmacists, pharmacy employees and pharmacy owners called, Waypoint Unscripted. 

Ben received his Bachelors of Science Degree in Marketing from Clemson University in 2000. He is a Golden Key Honors Society Member. He is the past president of the Summerville Jaycees and the Summerville Evening Rotary Club. He was instrumental in the remodeling of the Dorchester Children’s Center for abused children in Dorchester County. He is a current member of the Commerce Club in Greenville, SC.

Contact Ben at or call 843-873-4420 ext. 13.

Direct download: Income_Outcomes_Show.mp3
Category:Pharmacy -- posted at: 1:30am EDT

The 6th episode in our MPTS Pharmacy Podcast series features Senior Director of Pharmacy Performance Advisory Solutions with McKesson MPTS Holly Lewis and Pennington Apothecary Pharmacy Owner Chris Castagna.  
Holly shares her expereinces as a 16+ year veteran with McKesson and outlines how innovation has kept the independent pharmacy owner competitive.
Pennington Apothecary Pharmacy's Chris Castagna delivers a powerful testimony of a 15+ year relationship with McKesson Technologies and how the Idea Share will bring back several new tools to shape the bringht future of his 3 community pharmacy locations. 
For all the McKesson Pharmacy Technology Solution's podcasts, click here: 

Is Amazon Your Next Pharmacy? This is a 3 part series from the Gavel & Pestle Podcast with Darshan Kulkarni, Pharm.D, MS, Esq.

PART 2 of 3

There are many different types of pharmacy, and other places where a trained pharmacist may work. This includes:

  • community pharmacy
  • hospital pharmacy
  • clinical pharmacy
  • industrial pharmacy
  • compounding pharmacy
  • consulting pharmacy
  • ambulatory care pharmacy
  • regulatory pharmacy
  • home care pharmacy

Where's Amazon fit in? Are they just a potential wholesaler? What about the PBM Play? And how does their warehouse leverage play into the bigger picture? 

Gavel & Pestle Podcast
Darshan Kulkarni, Pharm.D, MS, Esq.
The Kulkarni Law Firm
2929 Arch Street, Suite 1700
Philadelphia, PA 19104-7327
Office Number: 215-948-8183
Twitter: @FDALawyers
Direct download: the_Amazon_Effect_Part_2.mp3
Category:Pharmacy -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Interview with Jocelyn Paonita, who is the founder of The Scholarship System, a 6-step process that helps families pay for college with scholarships and avoid student loan debt. She has helped families secure over $805,350 in scholarships with her online course.

Everyone’s leadership road is a little different; tell us what you are doing now and how you got there.

She created a system to not only work full-time as an entrepreneur, but helping others afford college.

What are some of the misconceptions students have about getting scholarships? Many students say “I will never get that scholarship”. What would you tell them?

Jocelyn talks about making sure to wait for the rejection to come rather than rejecting oneself outright.

We have three groups in our listener base: students who are going to be in pharmacy school, graduate students in pharmacy school, and parents with children who will be going to school. Starting with the parents, how can they tell their kids to fill out scholarship applications at 16?

She gives great details about these three larger categories.

Have you had any professional (nursing, medical, pharmacy) school scholarship applicants? What is your expertise in these types of scholarships?

Jocelyn tells us specifically how these types of scholarships might be a little different.

Where does scholarships start with a high school student and can you tell me a little about scholarship season?

She outlines the best time to start looking for scholarships.

Is there any advantages an on-campus student could have by talking to people in getting scholarships and do you have any negotiation tips?

Jocelyn outlines some key tactics on campus and off.

What is the best way to contact you?

Jocelyn has a lot of free stuff, like the free essay writing guide, free webinar and the three-step writing method that makes essay writing so much less painful and more creative.

This podcast was sponsored by "Memorizing Pharmacology: A Relaxed Approach"  

Direct download: Pharmacy_Future_Leaders_-_Jocelyn_Paonita.mp3
Category:Pharmacy -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Is Amazon Your Next Pharmacy? This is a 3 part series from the Gavel & Pestle Podcast with Darshan Kulkarni, Pharm.D, MS, Esq.

PART 1 of 3

The Drug pipeline. A drug pipeline is the set of drug candidates that a pharmaceutical company has under discovery or development at any given point in time. This involves various phases that can broadly be grouped in 4 stages: discovery, pre-clinical, clinical trials and marketing (or post-approval).

Gavel & Pestle Podcast
Darshan Kulkarni, Pharm.D, MS, Esq.
The Kulkarni Law Firm
2929 Arch Street, Suite 1700 
Philadelphia, PA 19104-7327
Office Number: 215-948-8183
Twitter: @FDALawyers
Direct download: the_Amazon_Effect_Part_1_.mp3
Category:Pharmacy -- posted at: 2:31pm EDT

Incredible opportunity to talk with Dr. Kyle Hogarth who's an expert in pulmonary diseases -- including alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency. He is also involved with the minimally invasive diagnosis, management, and staging of lung cancer through bronchoscopy.

Dr. Hogarth was one of the first doctors in Illinois to work with the superDimension system -- an electromagnetic navigation system that uses 3-D imaging technology to detect and biopsy nodules and masses. He uses endobronchial ultrasound to biopsy lymph nodes, place stents in cancerous airways, and perform all other minimally invasive techniques to help patients with lung cancer. 

Specialty Pharmacy Co-Host:

Christopher W. Kennedy, MSM

Chief Operating Officer

Heritage Biologics, Inc.

About our content sponsor:

Heritage Biologics rare tradition of care starts with the patient at the center. The HB team brings a collaborative care approach to all aspects of patient management. We are redefining the expectations in the home infusion and specialty pharmacy space by empowering patients in their own care.

Every patient is rare and our Wheel of Commitment is built to provide the rare care necessary to reach positive outcomes. Our resources are allocated in a way that puts our patients before the business. At Heritage Biologics, the patient is always at the center!

Specialty Pharmacy Podcast Sponsored by Keycentrix, Inc

KeyCentrix is dedicated to the pharmacy industry offering best in class technology, thought leadership, world-class solutions consulting, and hands-on support ensuring our customers are equipped with solutions to advance their pharmacy practice. Our innovative technology systems, NewLeafRx pharmacy management software that is EPCS certified and FlexTrax point of sale with EMV support, transform businesses through actionable data, streamlined operations and profitable growth.
Direct download: Heritage_Biologics_Dr_Hogarth.mp3
Category:Pharmacy -- posted at: 6:00am EDT