By Rachael Rovniak
“Go into pharmacy,” they said. “You’ll make a lot of money,” they said. I don’t know why I listened to “them” — but I did. I started pharmacy classes, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that my calling was not behind a pharmacy counter – talking to doctors and insurance representatives over the phone, compounding and counting medications, or doing anything a pharmacist does – even if most start with a six-figure salary.
I was facing a bit of a dilemma. Yes, I liked the idea of helping others improve their personal health, and I consider myself friendly and approachable, as health care professionals should be. However, my desire to utilize my people and leadership skills drove me to look at another side of health care: administration. I had an overwhelming feeling of YES! when I decided to pursue pharmacy administration. It was the perfect blend of schooling for me. I was happy to be studying and discussing trends in the health care environment while expanding my knowledge in pharmacology. A mix of business, science and leadership courses equipped me with the perfect set of skills for my internship at BioEnterprise Corporation.
BioEnterprise is a complex organization to explain. As a biomedical startup accelerator, this nonprofit assists entrepreneurs interested in developing new biomedical companies in Greater Cleveland. For example, if you’re an engineer with a revolutionary idea – maybe it’s for knee replacement — how do you bring it to market? How will you raise money to fund the project? Where will you test and develop your idea? How do you know there’s a need for your idea? Will doctors, payers and patients find value in it? Starting your own biomedical company is daunting, to say the least, but Cleveland has been nicknamed “The Medical Capital” with reason. BioEnterprise has access to world-class institutional collaborators such as Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University.
In my first few weeks at BioEnterprise, I have toured the Global Center for Health Innovation – a project still in its early stages, but mind-blowing nevertheless. I’ve had thought-provoking discussions with everyone from entrepreneurs to other interns at fun events in Ohio City. I manage BioEnterprise’s social media platforms, and I’m astonished by the vast amount of technology that comes out of Cleveland. It’s exciting to spread the word about groundbreaking biotechnology.
Gaining broader knowledge of the health care environment is eye-opening. If you had asked me what I knew about venture capital four weeks ago, I would have raised an eyebrow and tilted my head in confusion. Now, as I put together overviews dealing with federal trends in incentives and funding, I acquire a better understanding of the complexities of commercializing biomedical products. Continuing to learn each day, I am proud to say I work in the health care sector, supporting the expansion and development of biotech startups that will change the medical world as we know it.
Rachael Rovniak is a senior at the University of Toledo, majoring in pharmacy administration and business administration.