By: Erick Ward, MSHC Class of 2017
Where did you grow up and long have you been in Chicago?
I’ve been in Chicago for my whole life. I was actually born at Northwestern Hospital and I’ve been here ever since.
Where did you do your studies before Northwestern?
I did my undergrad at DePaul and then I got my Doctor of Pharmacy at Midwestern University in Downers Grove.
What attracted you to the Northwestern program?
The fact that it was Northwestern. It was on my bucket list to have a degree from Northwestern University. I’m a pharmacist by trade. I was a pharmacist at CVS and I saw there were a lot of communication problems. When I heard about the program at Northwestern, I saw an opportunity to tackle some of these problems.
Where do you currently work?
I’m the Director of Pharmacy Initiatives at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. I’ve been there for five months and I got the job through the program.
How has the program helped you in your new role?
It gave me the tools to communicate with different healthcare providers. I deal a lot with doctors and scientists and executives. I can help coordinate among them, in terms of lowering costs and improving quality of care for Blue Cross Blue Shield patients. The program gave me a new way of looking at things that I never would have thought of before.
What did you enjoy most about the program?
My classmates and the people I met. They were all fantastic people from different backgrounds. I still keep in touch with a lot of them. That’s probably number one—I made some friendships that I know will be life long.
What advice do you have for current or incoming students?
Keep an open mind. You just never know what will fall in to your lap or what the next day will bring. I never thought I would get a job like this.
What surprised you the most about the program?
The fact that they actually took the time to help you find new jobs and opportunities. I thought it would be more straight-forward going in to the program, but they did so much to help with my resume, interviewing skills and job searches.
Is there anything else you’d like to say about your time in the program?
The program changed the course of my career. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I don’t regret one bit.