Written By: Leslie Feldman
Rachel Flurie, PharmD ’12, grew up in the same neighborhood as her grandfather and, more importantly, right near his family medicine practice. She and her brother would run around his office, play with his stethoscopes, and accompany him to many drug company lunches.
“His passion for medicine and patient care [he didn’t retire until age 86] inspired me to go into pharmacy,” says Flurie, an assistant professor of internal medicine in the Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Pharmacy. “While in pharmacy school at the University of Maryland, my grandfather would frequently comment that I ‘could always go back and get my MD next’. He really wanted another physician in the family, but I knew I could make just as much of a difference in health care and be just as useful to patients with a PharmD.”
As a native Marylander, Flurie knew the exemplary reputation of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report. “Being challenged and surrounded by inspirational faculty was important to me. My grandfather got his medical degree from the University of Maryland, so there was also that familial tie,” she explains. “I always recommend it to aspiring pharmacy students. Being located in a city where you can work with underserved patients and also military veterans was rewarding.”
Flurie knew from the beginning of pharmacy school that she wanted to complete a residency and work in a hospital. The School’s joint residency and fellowship program with the University of Maryland Medical Center offered many strong specialty tracks. “The newness of the two-year pharmacotherapy residency and opportunity to mold the program was what ultimately drew me to apply,” she explains.
Flurie’s residency program experience was tailored to her interests and set her up for success afterward. “I had more ambulatory care training than most hospital residents and also trained heavily in the medical intensive care unit. I think that practicing in both the outpatient and inpatient areas made me a more well-rounded and thoughtful internal medicine pharmacist,” explains Flurie,
who recently expanded her clinical practice to an outpatient nephrology clinic. “Without this experience, I’m not sure I would have been as confident going into academia right after residency.”
Sandeep Devabhakthuni, PharmD, BCPS – AQ Cardiology, an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, first met Flurie when she started her postgraduate year one pharmacotherapy residency and “was blown away by her interpersonal skills. She had such an enthusiasm for educating health care professionals and patients on medication use. She often received unsolicited, positive comments from her patients and nurses who she worked with. We were fortunate to have her as a resident at our institution because of her passion for pharmacy practice and hard work ethic.”
During her residency, Flurie was involved in the Maryland Society of Health-System Pharmacy, so when she got to VCU, she joined the organization there. In 2017, Flurie was selected as the Virginia Society of Health-System Pharmacy’s (VSHP) New Practitioner of the Year.
“I headed up a program that published clinical articles regularly in the VSHP newsletter and have been running it for the past four years,” she says.
As a faculty member, Flurie is constantly refreshing her knowledge to be able to teach students. “In pharmacy school, I was voted Most Likely to Be on Faculty at Maryland and during residency, many preceptors commented on my teaching skills during presentations. So I guess it was meant to be,” she says.