With a toddler at home; a ride to and from Cortland; and research, teaching, clinical and curriculum oversight responsibilities, Erin Pauling has plenty of time to spare. It’s lucky she’s a puzzle solver who likes to figure out schedules.
As Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Pauling oversees the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences program with respect to accreditation standards. “It involves program mapping to ensure we are hitting all the required components with appropriate redundancy,” she said. “I work in partnership with all the department chairs, who actually appoint the faculty to teach the courses. I plan the courses and they plan the staff.
“At first I felt like I was taking on an administrative role very early in my career, but at the same time I felt ready because I was at a new school and had chaired committees, sat on task forces and been through COVID-related disruptions,” Pauling said, adding that she also worked with her predecessor in the role that made her feel like she could handle it.
The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) is updating all of its standards, which will be released in June 2024, with implementation required by July 2025, Pauling said. “There will be changes that will influence the components of our program or data that we need to look at. These probably won’t be global changes, but we’ll have to go through all of our documentation.
“It’s an interesting time to take care of academic affairs!” she says.
Pauling, a native of Berwick, Pennsylvania, received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy at Shenandoah University. After that, she completed a PGY1 Community Pharmacy Residency at Appalachian College of Pharmacy and a PGY2 Ambulatory Care Residency at Wingate University School of Pharmacy.
Locally, her clinical responsibility is as an outpatient pharmacist with UHS in her Vestal office, where there is some flexibility thanks to colleagues like clinical assistant professor Amanda Mogul and the nature of the job. “It’s good because it’s appointment-based, so we can block the appointment schedule if needed.”
Pauling said it can be difficult to manage such a hectic schedule, for herself as well as for the school’s course schedule, but there’s also a sense of accomplishment that comes with it, like when planning classes during the pandemic. “I enjoyed solving this logic puzzle of determining the COVID schedule in three classrooms, as well as IPE activities with 29 breakout rooms.”
Her life, she says, is “a matter of harmony between work and personal life. I am thinking of an orchestra or a group where sometimes the woodwinds take the lead, and other times the percussionists. Over time, there is harmony and balance.
She’s doing her best to stick to a regular schedule, including her daily hour-long commute to work, though the pandemic has occasionally caused twists and turns. Her daughter is in daycare in Johnson City, but “the first week of school I had to pick her up twice from there” because of the coronavirus.
And there is also his teaching schedule to consider. This semester, she teaches the Foundations of Interprofessional Communication course which includes public health, nurse practitioner, and social work students, in addition to doctoral students.
She also teaches first-year pharmacy students in the skills lab about vaccinations and initial interactions with standardized patients. “Standardized patients are community members and students who have been trained to play the role of a patient in order to give students experience in gathering information, educating and counseling patients, and making recommendations based on patient complaints,” Pauling said.
“A lot of this lab is for personal care and over-the-counter products,” she added. “Last fall we presented the didactic piece and this spring it’s more hands-on to prepare them for their community rotation this summer.”
Pauling also teaches a two-week IPE Geriatrics activity for SUNY Upstate sophomores and medical students who conduct annual wellness visits to assess patients for fall risk.
On top of all that, she also teaches half of a brand new family medicine elective course with Assistant Clinical Professor Kelsey Henning.
She is the hospital pharmacist and I am the outpatient ambulatory care pharmacist,” Pauling said. “We are talking about care transitions with very common disease states. One of the main things I do is an anticoagulation clinic, mostly with warfarin, to treat a clot or because the patient has a condition with a higher risk of developing a clot.
This care is highly individualized and requires a lot of follow-up and lab testing, Pauling said. “It plays into this whole piece of the puzzle that also fascinates me because warfarin is a very temperamental drug that doesn’t have fixed doses, that’s affected by food, alcohol, and an individual’s DNA, as well as other medical conditions.There is no one-size-fits-all dose of warfarin.
Pauling also works with some students on their capstone research projects.
On yet another front, she is thrilled to have her first publication, focusing on using pharmacists’ patient care process to address the social determinants of health in patients with diabetes.
The article resulted from connecting with people she met through the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and a speaker at the Food and Drug Administration Office of Minority Health and Health White Coat Ceremony Equity, she said. “I will also be speaking at the APhA meeting on Social Determinants of Health and Diabetes Management.”
With everything she has, how does Pauling stay stress-free?
“I bought a Peloton in March 2021 and I ride it every day. I feel mentally different now if I don’t,” she says. “People joke about it, but I choose each ride based on it. music. Sometimes I go loud and sometimes slow. It’s more about the mental aspect and centering. I can tell what kind of day I had if I get a personal best!