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ACCP Member Spotlight: Christie Schumacher

Published on: Oct 31, 2023

Christie Schumacher, Pharm.D., FCCP, BCPS, BCACP, BCCP, BC-ADM, CDCES, is a professor of pharmacy practice and the director of the PGY2 ambulatory care residency program at Midwestern University College of Pharmacy, Downers Grove Campus. She also serves as a clinical pharmacist at Advocate Medical Group - Southeast Center (AMG-SE) in Chicago, Illinois.

Schumacher obtained her B.S. in biochemistry and Pharm.D. degrees from the University of Michigan. After her academic accomplishments, she completed a PGY1 pharmacy practice residency at Midwestern University College of Pharmacy.

In her current position, Schumacher maintains a split role between Midwestern University College of Pharmacy and AMG-SE. Her expertise lies in providing comprehensive medication management (CMM) for various internal medicine disease states, including heart failure, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma. She spends 4 days a week at AMG-SE, embedded in a primary care clinic alongside physicians and fellow clinical pharmacists. Through broad collaborative practice agreements that have been established at the site, pharmacists are responsible for optimizing and monitoring guideline-directed medical therapy, providing patient education, and addressing barriers to patient adherence.

Schumacher has built her clinical practice around the following quotation: “To create an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust, you must be present daily [and] show empathy, and through continuous follow-up and discussion of personal goals, you develop trust.” Her commitment to health equity is reflected in her long-term relationships with her patients and practice site. She has learned the importance of responding to the needs of the community in addition to treating some of the same patients for up to 14 years, focusing on their individual goals and values to create personalized care plans that prioritize their health and well-being.

In addition, Schumacher plays a pivotal role in mentoring and precepting various learners at the clinic, including PGY2 ambulatory care residents, PGY1 residents, and APPE and IPPE students. She also dedicates 1 day a week to Midwestern University, where she contributes to didactic courses, serves as a course director for an advanced clinical diabetes elective, facilitates workshops, conducts research, and engages in scholarly activities. Her research is currently focused on adverse event identification and mitigation of sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors, continuous glucose monitoring in primary care, and clinical outcomes related to the treatment of patients with diabetes and heart failure.

Schumacher’s passion for pharmacy stems from her mother, who is also a pharmacist. Her early exposure to the field through her mother’s guidance inspired her to explore different areas within pharmacy. While pursuing her pharmacy degree at the University of Michigan, she realized the need for disease state management in the outpatient setting, which motivated her to pursue a PGY1 pharmacy practice residency with an ambulatory care focus. Schumacher acknowledges the immense influence on her career of two individuals: her mother and Mary Ann Kliethermes. Her mother’s unwavering support and encouragement have been instrumental in her professional growth. Mary Ann Kliethermes, Pharm.D., BSPharm, FAPhA, FCIOM, an experienced mentor, played a crucial role in helping Schumacher establish a pharmacist-managed heart failure service at AMG-SE and navigate her shared faculty role.

Schumacher has held several leadership positions within ACCP and currently serves as chair of the Board of Pharmacy Specialties Specialty Council on Ambulatory Care Pharmacy. She has previously served as chair of both the Endocrine & Metabolism and Ambulatory Care PRNs. When reflecting on her experiences, Schumacher emphasizes the importance of taking advantage of resources and networking opportunities provided by organizations like ACCP. She encourages students and residents to participate in educational sessions and leverage the Annual Meeting as a platform to learn about different career paths and find mentors.

As a result of her extensive involvement with ACCP and personal experiences in building a service from the ground up, Schumacher advises:

The best way pharmacists can advocate for the profession is to demonstrate value to the health care team. The best advice that I can offer pharmacists, students, and residents is that advocacy efforts should go beyond our profession. We must establish our worth to our non-pharmacy colleagues so that every provider says, “I want a pharmacist on my team.”

In addition to taking advantage of resources and networking opportunities, she encourages her colleagues and learners to consider volunteering for interprofessional organizations to increase awareness of the profession in different areas of patient care. She is a strong supporter of campaigns such as Get the Medications Right and believes that “creating a standard of care such as CMM will increase consistency in pharmacy services provided if every pharmacist is responsible for individually assessing each medication to determine if it is appropriate, effective, and safe, given comorbidities and other medications being taken.”

Outside her professional endeavors, Schumacher has a love for travel and her dog, Barkley. She is looking forward to a beach vacation sometime soon and, in the meantime, is enjoying running, playing fetch, and participating in agility classes with Barkley.