The Life of an MSL–the First Month: DUSA’s Amy Joseph

To get a fresh perspective on the role of medical science liaisons, the MSL Society Blog recently sat down with Amy Joseph, a newcomer to the profession after serving for nearly 12 years as a clinical and retail pharmacist.  After completing her PharmD at Northeastern University in 2000, Amy worked in the greater Boston area at CVS Pharmacy, Women and Infant’s Hospital, Kent Hospital, Care New England, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Amy is in her first year as an MSL at DUSA Pharmaceuticals, a company focused on dermatology treatments, and she was kind enough to share some of her insights on the MSL role after completing her first month on the job.

MSL Society:  What drew you to the MSL profession?

Amy Joseph:  The main draw for me was a new challengeundefineda change. Remaining stagnant or reaching a plateau is not good for the human spirit; therefore, my mindset has always been to incorporate some degree of change in all aspects of life, including work. The MSL role interested me because it incorporates my clinical practice experience in a unique way for me.

MSL Society:  How did you prepare for the leap from clinical pharmacy to working in pharmaceuticals?

Amy Joseph:  My preparation involved updating my CV and doing a lot of networkingundefinedthat’s how I found Dr. Samuel Dyer and the MSL Society. It was a happy coincidence that the first society meeting took place just one month into my search for a MSL position.

I found this meeting extremely helpful, along with reading online about how to be successful in the role. I thought the timing for the transition was ideal, as the MSL role is becoming increasingly recognized for its value to the pharmaceutical industry.

MSL Society:  What were your first impressions of the role and working in pharmaceuticals?

Amy Joseph:  My first impressions aligned with my expectations that this role would be challenging and exciting.  So far, I’ve felt that I made the right choice in pursuing this position at DUSA.

MSL Society:  What have you enjoyed most about your new role as an MSL?

Amy Joseph:  I have most enjoyed the new challenges brought about by this change. Also, I enjoy the flexibility, driving my own schedule independently,  the travel, and meeting new thought leaders.  I am grateful for all of these aspects of my roleundefinedit’s been very fulfilling.

MSL Society:  Has anything surprised you about the MSL role?

Amy Joseph:  I’ve been most surprised by the depth of the relationships that I’ve been able to form in a short amount of time in the MSL position.  I am fascinated by how much impact these relationships have on the dissemination of scientific data among the medical community, which ultimately leads to improving patient care. Although building these relationships often takes time and patience, proving the value that MSLs provide gives me a surprising level of fulfillment each time.

MSL Society:  If you could give any tips to other newcomers facing early challenges in the MSL role, what would they be?

Amy Joseph:  The strongest challenges that I face in this still very new transition right now are many, but certainly not insurmountable!  First, you have to figure out how to meet the set of expectations that are required to demonstrate to your company’s leadership your value as an MSL

Second, you have to navigate regulatory and compliance guidelines while still remaining effective in your role.  Third, you have to accept that this position is not something you can master solely by studying materialundefinedthat’s important, certainly, but you also learn so much with each thought leader interaction as you’re building relationships in the medical field.

Fourth, you need to realize quickly that it will just take time to feel comfortable in the role, and that you need to be patient with yourself, along with getting patience from your employer.  Finally, you have to learn how to integrate your company’s unique business strategy with the medical minds of your thought leader panel, within the allowed regulatory confines and only with the resources available to you.

Written by MSL Society. Posted in MSL Interviews