Autumn Walkerly, Pharm.D., earned her Pharm.D. degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University and completed her PGY1 pharmacy residency at Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. Currently, she is a PGY2 psychiatric pharmacy resident at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As a psychiatric pharmacist-in-training, she is learning to provide care for patients with psychiatric and neurologic disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and epilepsy. In addition to multidisciplinary, interprofessional patient care rounds, Walkerly leads medication education groups for patients on the inpatient psychiatry unit and in the partial hospitalization program. She educates patients about the important roles of both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatments for their disorders. Her other responsibilities as a resident include precepting APPE students and PGY1 residents, teaching at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy, performing research, and working in the University of Michigan outpatient psychiatry clinics.
Walkerly has always been fascinated by the interactions between drugs and the body, specifically those in the brain. Her close experiences with mental illness and substance abuse encouraged her to explore career options where she could improve the lives of those who shared the sufferings of her family and friends. Learning about the career of psychiatric pharmacists in college led her to pursue a Pharm.D. degree. During pharmacy school, she had the opportunity to work alongside pharmacists in psychiatric hospitals and community mental health centers. These pharmacists played a major role in medication management, which established Walkerly’s interest in clinical pharmacy. Becoming involved in ACCP solidified that interest.
Her young pharmacy career has been influenced by Chris Paxos, Pharm.D., BCPP, BCPS, BCGP, and Sara Dugan, Pharm.D., BCPP, BCPS, both of whom supported her venture to form a student chapter of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists on the Northeast Ohio Medical University campus. In addition, their invaluable mentorship and education contributed to her ability to complete a PGY2 psychiatric pharmacy residency. She credits the support of her mentor and faculty adviser, Mate Soric, Pharm.D., FCCP, BCPS, for encouraging her involvement in ACCP and the value of ACCP membership in her professional development. Walkerly has written for ACCP StuNews, served as her college of pharmacy’s student liaison, collaborated on committees for her state affiliate of ACCP, established a research committee and acted as primary investigator on a project for her student chapter, served as a member of the National Student Network Advisory Committee, and, most recently, worked on ACCP’s ad hoc Task Force on Transitions of Care to update an ACCP white paper. This year, Walkerly is excited to be appointed as a member of ACCP’s National Resident Advisory Committee. She appreciates these opportunities to learn from others, contribute to the advancement of clinical pharmacy, and align her professional identity with ACCP’s mission and core values.
Because Walkerly has had such fine mentors in her professional development, she enjoys paying it forward by serving as a mentor and providing advice to her peers. She encourages them to get involved, especially in ACCP, and to take chances on professional development opportunities. Her aim is to instill confidence and build resilience, modeling her motto of “if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off, and try again.” Her most important advice is to remind others that well-being and mental health matter. Walkerly believes that the same concepts she learned in Al-Anon family groups – that we must take care of ourselves before we can effectively help our friends and family in recovery – hold true for health care professionals taking care of patients. She knows that being a pharmacy student or resident is stressful and that finding something to help us unwind can make a world of difference. For Walkerly, this entails setting aside time to connect with her family and friends. Her advice is to choose to do something fun with someone else, which can create accountability for a mental and/or physical break.