Fellowship Combines Public Health and Pharmacy

November 10, 2022

This year, Dr. Martha Poe joined St. John Fisher University as the 2022-2024 Public Health Pharmacy Fellow a program sponsored and directed by both the Wegmans School of Pharmacy and the Monroe County Department of Public Health (MCDPH).

Dr. Martha Poe

Poe earned her Pharm.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy in spring 2022, and holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental horticulture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She brings experience in public health that includes prior work during a global health rotation in Arlington, Virginia. She also served on the Public Health Committee of the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation.

Poe chose to pursue this fellowship because of its emphasis on health outreach programming, public health research, and clinical care of underserved populations. Strengthening her skills as a researcher and clinician are just a few of her short-term goals; she also plans to pursue a master’s degree in public health. In the future, Poe would like to work in public health both domestically and internationally as a pharmacist and public health program manager. She hopes to draw awareness to the role of pharmacy in public health in hopes to expand pharmacy’s contribution to population health.

This Public Health Pharmacy Fellowship between the School of Pharmacy and the MCDPH began in 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic. This timing provided an environment that showcased the abilities of a pharmacist to aid in a pandemic setting and add value to the health department.  During the two-year experience, fellows work at the School and MCDPH sites, and spend time in patient care at a clinical site in the Rochester community. Fellows are involved in many facets of public health as the fellowship includes hands-on work in areas of advocacy, research, patient care, and teaching.

“This fellowship is a great way to bring awareness to how instrumental pharmacists are in the public health sector and the great benefit that comes from partnering with our local health departments,” said Dr. Kelly Conn, associate professor at the School of Pharmacy and director of the fellowship. “We are delighted to be working with Dr. Poe as she brings her experiences and enthusiasm for this role to our School and our community.” 

Along with Conn, Poe is mentored by Dr. Joy Snyder, chief pharmacist at the MCDPH, and Dr. Shawn Fellows, associate professor at the School of Pharmacy. Snyder is excited about this program’s establishment. “The public health workforce is shrinking, and pharmacists are excellent candidates to assess issues and solve problems,” Synder said. “Dr. Poe joins us with a great passion for public health, and she has many ideas to initiate and sustain the growth of public health pharmacy programs.”

This article was written by Grace Valenti ’24, an English major at St. John Fisher University. Completing a Certificate in Public and Professional Writing, Valenti also serves as the PR Writing intern in the Office of Marketing and Communications.