By: Mohamed Dungersi, Associate Student Editor
Dr. William Maidhof is an Assistant Professor and Industry Professional in the Clinical Pharmacy Practice department of the St. John’s University College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions. He is an alumnus of St. John’s University who graduated in 1999 with a BS in Pharmacy and again in 2003 with a Doctor of Pharmacy. Following graduation, Dr. Maidhof worked as a community pharmacist for Genovese Drugs©, J.C. Penny/Eckerd©, and the CVS Corporation©. He worked as a staff pharmacist and supervising pharmacist at a variety of locations in the Bronx and Westchester. During his tenure with the J.C. Penny/Eckerd corporation, Dr. Maidhof took a leadership position as a District Pharmacy Coordinator in addition to his supervising pharmacist duties. His district was comprised of approximately twenty pharmacy locations in the Bronx, Westchester, and Connecticut. Dr. Maidhof was responsible for the hiring and training of all new pharmacists, pharmacy staffing, pharmacy inventory and audits, and compliance in regards to company policies and initiatives. In addition to his role as a community pharmacist, Dr. Maidhof also worked as a consultant pharmacist for a number of group homes in the Long Island area. Dr. Maidhof began teaching at St. John’s University in the Fall 2006 semester. He is currently the director of the on-campus Rite Aid Community Pharmacy Laboratory and works with all second and third professional year students enrolled in the Simulation portions of Pharmacy Practice Lab and Biomedical Laboratory IV. His didactic teaching focuses on a variety of clinical topics and regulatory issues. In addition to his work with pharmacy students, Dr. Maidhof also works with St. John’s University Physician Assistant and E.M.S. students in the physical assessment laboratory. Dr. Maidhof’s primary area of interest is the incorporation of innovative technology into pharmacy education and practice. His current research projects include the role of human patient simulation in pharmacy education as well as interdisciplinary education, the utilization and benefits of carousel dispensing technology in a compounding laboratory when preparing parenteral products, and the use of iPad technology as an educational tool for patient counseling in the community setting.
This month, the Rho Chi Post had the immense opportunity to sit down with Dr. Maidhof and conduct an interview to speak about a variety of topics, from his recent awards and counseling patients, to watching TV with his daughter.
First of all, the Editorial Team at the Rho Chi Post would like to congratulate you on recently being chosen as professor of the year for the St. John’s University College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions. How does it feel to be the professor of the year, chosen by your very own students?
It is indeed a great honor. To first be named the Rho Chi honorary faculty inductee for 2012 back in January and now to be voted the professor of the year for the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, I can think of no two greater honors for a professor. And to receive both honors in the same academic year is just amazing. I would like to thank all the students for their hard work and support. One of the comments our dean conveys on a regular basis is that teaching at St. John’s University and serving our students is a privilege, and I truly believe that. The honors I have received this year serve as a strong reminder of the dean’s comment and I will continue to work hard for our students.
What are your teaching aspirations for the next school year and in the coming years?
In the next few years, I hope to build upon the solid foundations set in Simulation Lab and improve the learning experience for all students. I will work closely with our laboratory committee, as we work together to come up with new topics to introduce in lab. I know one topic about which I am very excited that will be new to Simulation Lab for the 2012—2013 academic year will be a discussion and hands-on activity introducing students to various surgical supplies.
Overall, I am very proud of the bar we set in Simulation Lab. I believe everyone teaching in the lab has a love for our students and works hard to make it a positive and challenging learning experience.
On a personal note when I think of my own aspirations and potential growth at St. John’s University, the sky is the limit. I plan to serve St. John’s University for a long time to come and with that said, will welcome any new challenge the college presents that will help me better serve our students.
Do you have any mentors? What are some examples of the guidance that they provided you?
I have quite a few mentors in my professional life. The first people I think of are Boris Tepper and Solomon Neier. I started working in a pharmacy when I was 15, for Boris. I think it was the best possible first experience a person could have working in a pharmacy. Boris knew all of his patients by name, knew their families, and knew about their lives. Patients had such respect for him. When I picture an image of a pharmacist, it is him that I think of. It was his professional example and attitude towards me that made me want to become a pharmacist. I wish I still kept in touch with him so he can see what I have done with my life. Sol and I worked together in my first Eckerd© store where I was the supervising pharmacist. He owned his own business, sold it to Eckerd, and came to work with me. Sol definitely taught by example. He taught me how to really listen to people and to always treat patients as if they were members of my family.
Another mentor in my life is Dean Mangione. I have tremendous respect for our dean and I admire his intellect, strength, and ability to captivate an entire room with the power of his words during speeches. The dean has put his faith and trust in me a number of times regarding various projects and I hope I have made him proud. I am already grown up so I cannot use that line anymore, but as time goes on the best compliment I think I could receive is: “You remind me of Dean Mangione.”
And finally, all of my colleagues in the Clinical Pharmacy Practice Department are my mentors. They have all taught me little ways of how to become a better professor. I consider them all part of my family and am grateful to have them in my life.
What has been your favorite clinical block to teach?
I feel that this is a question that is impossible to answer as I enjoy all the clinical blocks I teach. However, if you were to ask me which moment I look forward to each year, I would have to say it is during the Neurology section where we watch a video on Parkinson’s disease.
(For those who have never seen this video, it shows a patient with Parkinson’s disease and how the disease limits his functionality. The video then goes on to compare the behavior of the same patient while on drug therapy and illustrates the profound positive impact that pharmacological interventions can have on such patients.)
Every year, when I play the video, I turn around and watch the students’ faces as they watch the short clip. Seeing their faces as they view the profound impact the drug provides to the patient is really priceless. Regardless of the number of times I watch the students’ reactions, I still find the outcome amazing, almost palpable.
Every year, you teach us about a variety of OTC products. What is your most favorite OTC product?
[Laughs] I really do not use OTC medications, so I will tell you the best OTC product I used when it came to my daughter. I will go with Triple Paste® used for diaper rash. As a father, I found that it works very well and gets the job done every time. I would however give the ear thermometer a close second. Comes in very handy in the middle of the night with a crying baby.
What’s the best counseling advice to give any patient?
This is a very hard question. There is so much information we as pharmacists need to share with our patients and only so much they can take in. However, if there was only one piece of counseling I could give to my patient, it would definitely be to call the pharmacy in case they had any questions or concerns. If they notice something different or have any doubts, they should know and feel comfortable to call their pharmacist for help.
What are some of the technological advances that we can expect (and/or have seen) in the simulation lab?
We continue to grow in order to provide the best experience available for each and every student. In the near future I hope to find a state-of-the-art software system for dispensing medications that will also be compatible with tablet technology, so we may regularly utilize iPadÒ technology in the lab. I strongly feel tablet technology will assume a greater role in pharmacy practice and we must embrace this technology here at the college.
I remember being a part of study that was being conducted in the Rite Aid® community simulation lab not too long ago regarding the use of iPads and counseling. What is the status on that study?
Currently, I am working on a poster presentation with Dr. Gillespie for the upcoming American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (ACCP) Annual Meeting. The compiled results will be available shortly. Later this year, we hope to present our results as a journal publication.
What is one thing that you would like to add or remove from Simulation Lab?
Again this a tough question to answer. I do not feel any of the components covered in lab should be removed. Each component is very important.
However, I do believe that there are some areas where we can improve. For instance, the amount of time spent learning about OTC products should be increased. As a pharmacist, it is vital for each one of you to have the training to be able to answer the self-care questions put forward to you by your patients. I also feel that learning about durable medical equipment (surgical supplies) would be very useful to students.
What’s your favorite inhaler?
[Laughs] I will give you two answers.
If I had to choose one based on level of importance, I would choose a rescue inhaler such as Proventil® (not to take anything away from any other inhaler). It is so vital to remember how to properly use an inhaler such as this in the case an emergency arises. All pharmacy students should know how to counsel on a rescue inhaler like the back of their hand.
If had to choose one based on a feature, I feel the Maxair AutohalerÒ is very cool. The fact that it is breath-activated makes it much easier for patients to use, not having to worry about inhaling and releasing the medication at the same exact time. A great idea.
Acetaminophen or ibuprofen? Which do you prefer?
[Laughs] Well, personally, I tend to use them based on what I am treating. I have found that using ibuprofen works well to treat any sports injuries I may get. In case of a headache, I use acetaminophen and find that it works very well.
It is pretty evident from when you teach and use examples of your experiences self-treating your daughter that she is constantly in your thoughts. What is your favorite TV show to watch with your daughter? [For readers who are unaware, Dr. Maidhof has daughter named Ava. She will be turning 4 in May.]
For those students who do not know this, I am a huge music fan and student, [in the past, Dr. Maidhof has volunteered as a DJ at APhA-ASP’s on-campus events] so Ava has been exposed to a variety of different music. I cannot wait to teach her how to DJ. I want her to embrace music and the art form like I do because I feel it is a very important part of life. And I want her to be the coolest kid in Floral Park.
In regards to the favorite show, I will classify it into two categories. Our favorite adult show is The Voice while our favorite kids show is Fresh Beat Band.
Do not be surprised if one of these days you see Ava on The Voice or American Idol. Moving on to a more serious note, do you have any practical advice to current students?
As a matter of fact I do. When learning about medications, do not lose sight of the bigger picture. I know it is hard but try not to just memorize facts. Be sure to understand the disease state well, which will then allow you to understand the theory as to why certain medications are used. It will provide for you a better all-around understanding of the drugs themselves.
Remember to keep balance in your activities. Spend some time participating in hobbies that you love, which will allow you to not burn out and focus better on your studies.
College is about finding yourself. Be sure to spend enough time analyzing your progress as a person as well as a professional. You only go to college once.
Once you graduate, do not lose touch with your friends and faculty. After six years, you are a family and it is important to remember your journey and the memories that that you created while you were at St. John’s University.
See the world! Life moves quickly so make the most of the opportunity while you are able to. It gets tougher to travel as the responsibilities pile up.
[Putting the father hat on]
Pay back those loans (if you have them) as soon as possible. If you could afford to pay a little more each month, do. Be sure to be responsible and save some money, you never know when you are going to need it. But also spoil yourself a little. You worked hard for it.
Spend some time talking to your parents and learn from their experiences. They have a wealth of knowledge and they love you more than anyone or anything.
As pharmacists, remember to be human and avoid being robots. Try and learn each patient’s name and take a genuine interest in him or her. Be sure to speak to them on a personal level and be compassionate. Patients may be under a lot of stress when they visit you. Be a source of comfort for them.
I am sure the students that read your advice are grateful for it. Do you have any closing comments?
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Rho Chi chapter for all that it does. Being nominated as an honorary faculty member in January was one of my proudest moments and I will forever cherish the pride my family had for me when I was given this honor.
I would like to thank all my students for wanting to learn and for making me proud to be their professor. It is your enthusiasm to learn that keeps me going.
Lastly, I would like to thank the Editorial Team here at the Rho Chi Post. When I was in pharmacy school, we never had a publication of this sort. Your efforts in putting out this newsletter are truly worth it. You should be so proud. Work hard to ensure the legacy of this newsletter is maintained.
The Editorial Team of the Rho Chi Post would like to thank Dr. Maidhof for taking the time to sit down and conduct this interview with us. If any students would like to contact or reach Dr. Maidhof, feel free to email him at: [email protected]