My UMSOP Story: Jan Sieluk, PhD ’18, director of worldwide health economics and outcomes research, hematology, Bristol Myers Squibb

Written By: Lydia Levis Bloch

Growing up in Warsaw, Poland, Jan Sieluk, PhD ’18, knew by the age of 6 that he wanted to be a pharmacist. Inspired by a local pharmacist, the profession became, and still is, his passion. While studying at the Medical University of Warsaw, a favorite professor of Sieluk’s asserted that every pharmacist should know the economic aspects of their profession.

“This observation guided my career, and I became fascinated by the intersection of pharmacology and economics,” says Sieluk. Majoring in pharmacoeconomics, for the equivalent of a PharmD degree at the Medical University of Warsaw, Sieluk won a highly coveted and competitive award that allowed him to study in an accelerated learning track at the university and work at GlaxoSmithKline in Warsaw.

He furthered his training in Hungary, Israel, and Singapore, increasing his understanding of the mechanisms governing the European market of medicines from an economic perspective. This experience underscored for Sieluk the observation that innovations within the pharmaceutical industry are not introduced locally, but on a worldwide scale. Along the way, besides being fluent in his native Polish and in English, Sieluk picked up the basics of German, Russian, Hungarian, and Spanish.

In 2018, Sieluk earned a PhD in pharmaceutical health services research (PHSR) within the pharmacoeconomics track from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. Following graduation, he worked for four years at Merck & Co., Inc., as associate director of outcomes research in oncology. In 2022, he joined Bristol Myers Squibb, where he is director of worldwide health economics and outcomes research, hematology.

Much of the knowledge Sieluk depends on daily — pharmacoeconomics, health services, outcomes research, pharmaceutical sciences, international research consortia, patient access to drugs in the U.S. and Europe — was acquired during his education at the School of Pharmacy.

“I left the University of Maryland a different person than who I was in Europe,” says Sieluk. “The PHSR program is so comprehensive and internationally recognized along with its expert faculty. Furthermore, the School of Pharmacy’s proximity to Washington, D.C., provides students with exposure to major policy-related issues. The program gave me all the tools to prepare for a career and leadership role in global pharmacoeconomics in American multinational pharmaceutical enterprises.”

C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, professor of practice, sciences, and health outcomes research at the School, was Sieluk’s doctoral advisor. “Jan was one of the most inquisitive students I’ve mentored,” Mullins recalls, “and curiosity and inquiry are the hallmarks of an outstanding PhD-trained researcher. He was committed to doing whatever was necessary to achieve success. He proved to be capable of success as a student and continues to do so as a professional in the pharmaceutical industry.”

Meanwhile, in the little time that remains after a full day (and sometimes, evenings) of demanding work, Sieluk turns to his hobbies — collecting books, working out problems in quantum physics, and studying astronomy — to unwind.

Due to a loving family, he says, he acquired values from home. For the last six years, Sieluk has been a generous donor to the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy because, he explains, “it’s the right thing to do.” By participating in an employer-matching donor program, Sieluk’s generosity has been enhanced.

Although he never asked for it as a student, Sieluk understands the importance of outside help. His classmates and faculty at the School of Pharmacy became his new family, making sure he had proper housing, food, and plenty of support.

Says Sieluk: “Thanks to the School and grants from philanthropists, we were able to function and thrive as students. I’m glad to continue that tradition.”

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