What can you do with a Memorial University education in pharmacy?
Just look at Dr. Abdul Kader, the 2023 School of Pharmacy Alumni Achievement Award recipient, the highest honour the school bestows on one of its graduates.
Dr. Kader is also the first graduate of the school’s Master of Pharmacy Program to receive the prestigious award.
The award recognizes Dr. Kader’s leadership and passion for advancing community pharmacy practice in his role as health and wellness senior director II for Walmart USA.
As well, he provided strategic support for marginalized communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically seasonal farm workers. He was instrumental in providing clinics at their worksites, resulting in thousands of vaccines for the migrant population.
Dr. Kader took some time from his busy career which has taken him all around the world to answer a few questions for the Gazette.
KD: What are some of your most memorable moments during your time as a graduate student at Memorial University?
AK: Many of my memories center on teamwork with fellow graduate students, as well as off-campus visits with friends. When I came to Memorial from Norway, I was impressed with how all my fellow graduate students were dedicated to their projects.
We would work long hours, but the time would pass by quickly as we were all mission-driven, carrying out experiments and looking for great results.
I loved the collaboration across other departments, too. I was able to work with Dr. Phil Davis in the Department of Biochemistry and Dr. Alan Pater in the Faculty of Medicine.
KD: What do you think would attract you to Memorial’s School of Pharmacy if you were a prospective pharmacy student today?
AK: One of the reasons I chose Memorial was because I received a full research grant scholarship during the winter semester. This was unique, as most students applied during the fall semester and received funding then.
I was also impressed with the amount of support from the Pharmacy dean at the time and Dr. Hu Liu before coming to Memorial.
World-class research with a focus on current trends also provides name recognition for graduate programs.
I remember I was attracted to the drug-targeting and drug-delivery research, which was my interest at the time, and the school was particularly focused on this area.
KD: How can Memorial’s PharmD students broaden their views regarding their future employment opportunities in areas such as retail, hospitals, industry and governments?
AK: It is important to do rotations, summer research and internships in different areas so that students can match their passions and find out where their interests lie.
Seminars and symposiums are also great for giving students exposure to new areas in the pharmacy profession.
KD: What are your top three accomplishments/achievements that you are most proud of in your education and/or career?
AK: I was very fortunate to receive the University Medal for Academic Achievements for my master of science in pharmacy degree at Memorial and was able to do research with the Faculty of Medicine under Prof. Alan Pater.
In the U.S., I was able to develop a product, Lidomer, while working at Guilford, a biopharmaceutical company in Baltimore, Md., that went to phase I clinical trials. While working, I was able to do both my PharmD at the University of Maryland and MBA from Johns Hopkins University.
In my current role, I mentor and guide many pharmacists and develop them for higher levels of responsibilities in retail business management.
It is exciting to see pharmacist roles in new areas like immunization, testing and treatment and comprehensive medical reviews to improve health outcomes.