Faculty Spotlight: Matt Silva, PharmD, RPh, BCPS

Alma Mater: Northeastern University (2001)

Post-Graduate Training: UMass Medical Center, Worcester, MA; PGY1 Residency

Position at MCPHS: Professor of Pharmacy Practice; Director of Post Graduate Training (2009-2013); Fellowship Mentor and Faculty Lead, Genzyme (2005)

Do you have any advice for current or incoming fellows?

Everyone is different; each person needs different kinds of support, at different times, for different reasons. There are some common themes generally helpful for early career professionals. The world is your classroom – avoid specializing too early, despite what your boss said. Read broadly, real books and not just news or company memos. Do your own thinking and don’t believe everything you think. Be choosy about your goals and your friends. What and who you listen to is formative (good and bad). Make some time to be very quiet and make some time to be very alive. 

Can you tell us about the projects you’ve worked on with the fellows?

1) Introduction to the Biopharmaceutical Industry Course (2005-2020, W/M Campus)

This course was the idea of Michael Ku, Steve Kay and Michael Malloy. I helped coordinate this with fellows starting in 2005 and learned then and there how much was missing in my own education, exposure and training. The fellows and those helping with this course taught me how much there was for pharmacists to do in the industry and that this was an important and previously missing aspect of professional role development. The course has run yearly to give students insights into the lives of new fellows, taking on their roles and responsibilities. Fellows are some of the most influential, positive, professional role models who offer a preview into important, meaningful work. 

2) Helping fellows plan and conduct their own scholarship or research

Planning and conducting scholarship and research is an extension of the problem solving skills we acquire. It is important to keep learning though experience, observation, and by trial and error. Ideally, in a team. All of us are smarter than one of us and having a dedicated, thoughtful and effective team focused on addressing some important question or issue is a way of creating insight for yourself and others. Whether the findings are positive or negative, supporting the null or alternative hypothesis – it’s the process that creates thinkers who can also do things. There have been so many bright, capable fellows with ideas. We regularly evaluate new ideas that we tried in the classroom. Clinical topics are most fun for me and so are public health related issues. There have been fellow-initiated posters and papers on teaching, clinical, policy and cost-related topics, all of which have been really interesting. The best ideas, always have originated with the fellow.