What is PILs?:
Bridging the Gaps...
Pharmacy Initiative Leaders (PILs), Inc. is a non-profit corporation which seeks to establish quality connections within the pharmacy profession and serve as a premier resource for the success of aspiring pharmacists. With the exciting progressions of pharmacy today, the PILs program was developed under three major principles:
1) Develop a culture of inspiring leaders dedicated to the progression of the field
2) Increase the awareness of pharmacy amongst society
3) Assist in the professional development of aspiring pharmacists particularly in under-represented communities and those who may be deprived of adequate resources
Members of PILs range from pharmacists in various sectors of the field to pharmacy students who have traversed all the rigors of the pre-pharmacy process. One common principle that unites all members of the PILs community is the genuine excitement for the profession.
Our site provides information on the many exciting PILs initiatives across the country as well as resources for aspiring pharmacists. Our newsletter, “The Package Insert” provides interesting topics in the field of pharmacy as well as insights from various leaders in the field. Contact us to learn more about our services, initiative, and opportunities to connect with various individuals in this profession!
Bryan Sackey, PharmD
Dr. Sackey, founder of the PILs program, received his Doctorate of Pharmacy from Howard University. He was raised in the DC metropolitan and completed his undergraduate training at the University of Maryland College Park where he received his B.S. in Biological Sciences. During his pharmacy school tenure, Dr. Sackey established the PILs program and was a founding member of several other initiatives including “Tutor the Youth” and the first ever pharmacy focused Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) in the nation.
After receiving his PharmD, Dr. Sackey pursued a Post Graduate Year-1 (PGY-1) residency training at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Houston, Texas and completed a PGY-2 in Psychiatry at the Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital. Dr Sackey currently serves as a Psychiatry Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at the Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital as well as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy. He is also involved with several national pharmaceutical organizations and currently serves on the Certification Affairs National Committee for the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) as well as the Student Affairs Committee for the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP).
Joshua Blackwell, PharmD
Dr. Joshua Blackwell received his Doctorate of Pharmacy from Ohio Northern University and double-minored in Business Administration and Management. With a completed PGY1/PGY2 Health Systems Pharmacy Administration Residency program at CHI St. Luke’s Health – Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and a Masters of Sciences in Pharmacy Administration and Leadership program at the University of Houston, he has professional interests that include operational and health-system leadership, strategic planning, transitions of care, and quality improvement. Dr. Blackwell currently serves as a Clinical Pharmacy Manager at Johns Hopkins Home Care Group.
Joshua has a strong passion for serving his community and being involved within the profession. As the National Executive Chairman of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA), he focuses on the organization’s internal operations to ensure the membership possesses the necessary tools to impact their local communities and further the success of the organization. Outside of SNPhA, he hopes to be involved on both the local and national levels to help advance the profession of pharmacy.
George Okpamen, PharmD
Dr. George Okpamen is a graduate of Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences in Houston, Texas. He has been a member of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) since his pre-pharmacy days at the University of Houston, where he was initiated into the Eta Mu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. George has had the unique privilege of serving SNPhA on the national scene for the past five years and was recently appointed the Assistant Executive Director.
George is living in Indianapolis, Indiana where he recently completed the Eli Lilly Visiting Scientist Fellowship in Global Public Policy and Corporate Affairs. As he transitioned from the fellowship to his full-time role, he was appointed to the executive teams of both the African American Network (AAN) and Early Career Professionals (ECP) where he still serves today. Currently, George supports two oncology brands in payer marketing focusing on pricing, reimbursement, and access strategy execution
Onye Amaechi, PharmD
Dr. Amaechi completed a Bachelor of Science in Allied Health and Diagnostic Sciences at the University of Connecticut. She received her Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of the Incarnate Word – Feik School of Pharmacy in San Antonio, Texas. Her passion for clinical work compelled her to pursue a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC.
Dr. Amaechi is currently a Hematology/Oncology Clinical Pharmacist at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, Texas. As a Clinical Pharmacist, she is responsible for verifying oncologic medication regimens, medication reconciliation, drug information, rounding with a clinical care team, patient safety, nursing unit inspections, etc.
Dr. Amaechi loves being a pharmacist and desires to be an HIV & Oncology Clinical Pharmacy Specialist and eventually, to open up her own consulting firm.
Message from the Founder
Are you sure you want to pursue Pharmacy? That was the phrase that played countless times in my head as I pursued a career that I was unsure I was built for. As my own self-doubt consumed me, I nearly gave up on a passion destined to impact so many individuals. It is true that no one path is the same, however my journey to pharmacy school was a particularly discouraging one. Through my pre-pharmacy endeavor, I never really received appropriate guidance on the necessary steps to take and was left to blindly traverse the process. After repeating several courses to attain a GPA barely sufficient to graduate, my self-confidence severely wavered. At one point, I was even told by my school “advisor” to forgo pharmacy school and become a full time technician because I did not “fit the mold” of this profession. Thankfully, I searched beyond that advice and now proud to call myself a member of this exciting profession.
So the question becomes, does everyone have to go through similar difficulties in their pursuit of this profession? Absolutely Not. Unfortunately, there are many potentially great health practitioners out there in the pre-professional world whose aspirations may be derailed as a result of this. Through my personal experiences, I felt it was a duty incumbent of me to prevent others from experiencing such demoralizing outcomes. This became the inspiration for the development of the Pharmacy Initiative Leaders (PILs) program. I essentially wanted to provide an opportunity for others who may not exactly have the “roadmap”, to continue pursuing their dreams. One of the most prominent components of failure is the inability to recognize your own potentials. Sometimes, all it takes is for one person to believe in you and provide the necessary guidance. Being a leader is all about embodying these principles and possessing the ability to bring out the best in others. The passion of the PILs program is to develop a culture of leaders which promotes the idea that success is attainable regardless of where your journey started. Together, leaders can develop future leaders and ensure a bright future for the field of pharmacy!
-Bryan Sackey PharmD
“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you”