When Dr. Sean Chitwood was in eighth grade, one of his good friends was diagnosed with cancer and died.
He struggled to understand his friend’s treatments and wanted to know exactly what the doctors did to try to help him.
That experience, among others, led him to pursue a career in pharmacy, and in 2013 he earned his combined Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Business Administration degrees through Mercer University’s School of Pharmacy and Stetson-Hatcher School of Business.
Now, Dr. Chitwood is the director of workers’ compensation at Tempe, Arizona-based OnePoint Patient Care, a full-service pharmacy benefits manager, and he recently was awarded the 2021 Spirit of Volunteerism Award from professional organization AMCP. The award recognizes AMCP committee members who have demonstrated outstanding service to support AMCP programs.
Dr. Chitwood first got involved with AMCP as a pharmacy student at Mercer and for more than 10 years has held regional and national leadership roles with the organization. He was chosen for the Spirit of Volunteerism Award because of his involvement in the creation of a roundtable for preceptors who teach pharmacy students the principles of managed care.
The idea was for preceptors to gather and talk about “the best tactics and products for managed care preceptors … and pool this (knowledge) and teach and learn,” he said.
Dr. Chitwood said he enjoys his job and the fact that it is a niche field. It’s one in which he uses all his degrees, including his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Arizona State University.
“I’m using the science to determine if the drug is good, the clinical piece to know does this drug make sense over this one, and then the business principles,” he said. “Just marrying all of that, having the perspective of a bioscience person, a clinician and a businessperson.”
Mercer’s combined Pharm.D./M.B.A. program allows students to pursue their M.B.A. alongside their Pharm.D. degree. Dr. Chitwood said the program was part of what attracted him to Mercer.
He said Mercer gave him the room to stretch and grow and provided a wide variety of clubs and experiences, including international rotations.
“I built some strong relationships with some of the different deans and different administrative people and such that when I was looking (for a job), they were incredibly helpful in providing advice,” he said. “This is not a ‘you’re a number’ kind of school. They invested in me.”