Alumni Spotlight: LCDR Tabitha Dillinger, MS Pharmacy Leadership Graduate

UC MS Pharmacy Leadership Graduate Leading Team at Whiteriver Indian Health Service.

United States Public Health Service (USPHS) officer LCDR Tabitha Dillinger, 2019 UC Pharmacy Leadership graduate, is the acting Director of Critical Care Pharmacy Services at Whiteriver Service Unit with Indian Health Service in Whiteriver, Arizona. She is responsible for the direct oversight of 10 critical care credentialed pharmacists, including scheduling, leave approval, credentialing, evaluations, and career progression planning.

In addition, Tabitha delivers patient-centered pharmaceutical care as part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team to the White Mountain Apache Tribe (population ~ 17,000 people) at a 40-bed, Joint Commission-accredited Indian Health Service hospital with about 210,000 outpatient visits, 250,000 prescriptions, and 920 inpatient admissions annually.

Tabitha recently shared her thoughts about her career and experience at the University of Cincinnati and the Pharmacy Leadership Program. She provided her perspective on the Pharmacy Leadership program and how it prepared her for a leadership role.

Q: What year did you graduate?

I graduated with my PharmD from the University of Findlay in 2014. I graduated from the University of Cincinnati with my Master’s in Pharmacy Leadership in 2019.

Q: What motivated you to seek a master’s degree?

Within the United States Public Health Service, there is a strong emphasis on continued education and strengthening our forces through advanced education. I have always been very passionate about leadership and being the best steward of my abilities. This passion led me to want to pursue more knowledge on how to be an effective leader within a field I was already practicing.

Q: Why did you select the Pharmacy Leadership program at UC?

I am originally from Ohio and was familiar with UC. I was debating between completing a master’s in healthcare administration or an MBA. However, I met Dr. Sobotka at ASHP midyear, and she explained how the program was a mix between an MHA and MBA with a focus on pharmacists, which sounded exactly like what I was looking for. I immediately started researching the program and figuring out how to utilize my GI Bill to pursue this degree

Q: How did you handle the school, work, and life balance while in the program?

My Erin Condren Planner. J I quickly recognized that I had a lot going on, and to keep everything straight, I had to write it down in a physical planner. While going through the program, I worked full-time as an active supervisor at my facility and had a 1-year-old daughter. I was able to get into a groove and ensure I was keeping up with all my work by working on schoolwork during my lunch breaks and in the evening after my daughter went to bed. My husband was also extremely supportive and helped with many things around the house to make sure everything ran smoothly.

Q: What is a favorite memory or a proud moment during the program?

I think my proudest moment during the program was presenting my capstone project. I was able to complete the Master’s program in one year, and I am sure many people doubted it was possible along the way (maybe even myself at some points). I think being able to give my presentation, recognizing the impact I was making in my practice at the hospital, and accomplishing that impact in such a short time frame made me proud and motivated me to keep chasing my dreams and not sell myself short

Q: How has your degree helped you in your career?

My degree and the things I learned through the courses have propelled my leadership roles within my career. Since transferring service units within the IHS, I have held several high-level leadership positions and currently serve as the director of critical care pharmacy services. I have also used what I learned to improve my relationships with my employees and ensure I am the type of leader I would want to have.

Q: Is the Pharmacy Leadership degree a good option for those working in government positions? Why?

The government sector is very competitive and promotes continued education. This degree gives you the knowledge needed to navigate leadership positions where you may not have formal training.

Q: Who is a good fit for the Pharmacy Leadership program?

I think anyone looking to advance their career in pharmacy to the leadership level. There are so many concepts that can be learned through this course to improve your leadership and management skills. This degree program is invaluable if you are interested in leadership or currently in a leadership role.

Q: Do you have any advice for future students looking into the program?

Don’t let fear hold you back. Fear is a healthy response, but not if you let it prevent you from experiencing what is out there for you! You never know what you are capable of until you take that leap of faith and try.

Q: For someone who may have never taken an online course before, how would you describe the experience?

After COVID, I’m sure everyone is more comfortable with online platforms and online learning. I am not technologically advanced, but the online format for this course is very easy to adjust to. You receive all the information up front, and the classes are flexible to be adjusted to your schedule.

Learn More About the MS Pharmacy Leadership Program with UC Online

The MS Pharmacy Leadership program from the University of Cincinnati James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy is flexible and 100% online. Build your business management skills and advance your career as a pharmacy leader with a custom-built program for busy working pharmacists.

Learn More about the Pharmacy Leadership program with UC Online.

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