CAPT Marisol Martinez, PharmD has been in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps for 17 years and is currently serving a non-traditional pharmacist role with the CDC. If you’re a pharmacist or a pharmacy student exploring your career options, you need to listen to this interview with Public Health Service Pharmacist CAPT Marisol Martinez, PharmD!
CAPT Marisol Martinez, PharmD, MBA, currently is the Senior Clinical Pharmacist Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), World Trade (WTC) Center Health Program and works from Atlanta, GA. She earned her PharmD from the University of Houston College of Pharmacy in 2005, and her Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2016.
CAPT Martinez began her career with the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) in 2005 with the Indian Health Service in Santa Fe, NM. There, she was an outpatient and inpatient pharmacist, while also managing the hospital’s Hepatitis C clinic and the Vaccines for Children Program. She then transferred to the Department of Defense, Defense Health Agency, Formulary Management Branch, in San Antonio, TX, where she supported their National Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee. In 2016, CAPT Martinez began working as a pharmacy formulary manager and clinical subject matter expert for the CDC’s World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program. This Program provides medical monitoring and treatment of WTC-related health conditions for 9/11 responders and survivors.
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Highlights from our interview
This is my first CDC Pharmacist interview! Thanks for being my guest, CAPT Martinez!
How did CAPT Martinez get from Pharmacy School to the CDC?
As a pharmacy student, Marisol Martinez thought she might become a compounding pharmacist. However, when one of her pharmacy school Deans (a retired Public Health Service Captain) talked about his job with the Indian Health Service, she became interested in public health. He recommended she look into a rotation with the Indian Health Service in Sitka Alaska.
After her summer job experience with the Department of Interior as a Park Ranger in Skagway, Alaska, CAPT Martinez really wanted to go back. She secured a rotation in Alaska and helped the Alaskan Native population there. She enjoyed the direct patient care aspect of the experience.
As graduation approached, she applied to the PHS Commissioned Corps. She became a PHS Pharmacist and started in Santa Fe with the Indian Health Service. CAPT Martinez has changed roles and locations since her time in Santa Fe. She currently lives in Atlanta, GA and is the pharmacy formulary manager and clinical subject matter expert for the CDC’s World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program.
Public Health Pharmacists are problem solvers.
From researching the right drug to collaborating with experts, it’s all about helping patients.
Retire after 20 years of service?
Public Health Service Commissioned Corps pharmacists can retire after 20 years of service. CAPT Martinez has served 17 years and doesn’t have any plans to retire yet. She is interested in a research role at the CDC next.
Being a pharmacist Mom in the PHSCC
Having a family makes life interesting! CAPT Martinez and her husband David have two children. He is a stay-at-home parent and very supportive of her career. David’s support makes her deployments less stressful, especially since their two children are in a hybrid homeschool program.
What are deployments like?
CAPT Martinez described two deployments:
- A 30-day deployment in California at the beginning of the COVID pandemic
- A remote deployment at the beginning of the pandemic in which helped plan the release of the first COVID vaccines.
Recommending the PHSCC as a career option for other pharmacists
According to CAPT Martinez, being a PHSCC pharmacist is a very different career path than a traditional pharmacist role. PHSCC pharmacists serve underserved populations. She said, “…It can bring you a sense of achievement and a sense that you’re doing something good for the world….I would recommend joining the Public Health Service if you’re looking for opportunities to act in a public health role, and act on behalf of a Commission Corps whose mission is to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of our nation.”
Advice for pharmacists from CAPT Martinez
If you’re interested in a public health pharmacist job, work on a public health project or do public speaking that improves public health outcomes. Take health and health education to your community in a way that helps them learn about water, sanitation, food, nutrition, etc. Improving literacy (especially women’s literacy) can improve public health too. Dip your toes into public health to see if you’re passionate about it.
A challenge PHSCC Pharmacists face
Leaving a role and pivoting to something new after working so hard in that role for a time.
One of CAPT Martinez’s favorite things about being a PHSCC Pharmacist
- Having a diverse career, working with different agencies in different key capacities.
- Interesting projects and missions
- Making a huge impact on the nation’s health
One of CAPT Martinez’s hobbies is taking improv comedy classes and stand-up comedy classes. She believes the classes have helped her be a better communicator.
Links from this episode
Email for CAPT Marisol Martinez, PharmD firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service https://www.usphs.gov/
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) https://www.cdc.gov/
Other podcast episodes featuring PHSCC pharmacists:
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Thank you for listening to episode 209 of The Pharmacist’s Voice ® Podcast!