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Q&A with ISPE Foundation Professional Development Grant Recipient Silas Tamufor

ISPE Foundation Professional Development Grant Recipient Silas Tamufor

Through the ISPE Foundation Professional Development Grant program, Silas Tamufor attended the 2023 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo in October 2023. Tamufor is a PhD student and ISPE Boston Chapter member who began serving as the ISPE Boston Educational Programs Committee Chair in December 2023. He, along with 87 other students and recent graduates, attended the conference thanks to the generous support of Gilead Sciences and ISPE, in collaboration with the ISPE Foundation. Here, Tamufor shares insights on his conference experience with Isabella Stoup, Foundation Development Coordinator with the ISPE Foundation.

Why did you want to attend the conference?

I anticipated establishing relationships that would benefit my professional development as an individual and a collective contributor. I wanted to adopt helpful options for career path development. I was eager to exchange ideas with experts on how the future generation of young professionals can set new standards for rising innovations and developments, such as artificial intelligence, single-use systems, and sustainability within the pharmaceutical and public healthcare sectors. I anticipated understanding the core functions and landscape of ISPE, and its vision and mission to foster global health, from the lens of a PhD student in public health epidemiology with a bachelor’s and master's degrees in biotechnology. I intended to connect with like-minded professionals, industry leaders, researchers, and experts from various sectors.

Can you share a specific moment or experience during the conference that is particularly meaningful?

The many different presentations, seminars, workshops, and educational panel discussions allowed me to learn about the latest research initiatives, advancements, and trends. I particularly enjoyed the session, “Reinventing Partnerships and Medicine for a Healthier World,” presented by Kyle Haraldsen, Chief Technology Officer, Lyndra Therapeutics. Haraldsen outlined methodologies in exploring potential public health solutions in the case of malaria and possible eradication initiatives proposed by Lyndra Therapeutics. I grew up in Cameroon, West Africa. In my earlier years of pursuing a PhD, I was interested in pursuing a dissertation on initiatives to eradicate malaria in the western and sub-Saharan Africa regions. Malaria has been a critical health issue, claiming lives and posing financial constraints on treatments, which has increased the rate of poverty in the area.

Furthermore, it was inspiring to hear Matthew Pearl, a patient advocate and inspirational speaker, share his battles with severe rare diseases and appreciate the work done to support and improve his well-being. I enjoyed having a one-on-one conversation with him and his mother. My passion for patients means prioritizing their well-being and striving to improve global health initiative outcomes. Maintaining a patient-centric mindset and understanding needs, concerns, and challenges is crucial to guiding my decision-making process toward aligning with opportunities to improve healthcare.

What skills or knowledge have you learned by attending the conference?

I had the opportunity to coach ISPE Emerging Leaders at the 2023 ISPE Emerging Leader Hackathon. It was a tremendous first-time coaching experience and ignited a new passion for equipping others with knowledge. Seeing its transformative impact on individuals, providing a supportive and empowering environment for personal and professional development, and helping individuals unlock their potential to achieve goals also fosters my personal growth. I learned much from the expo exhibit at this year's conference, such as the mobile trailer laboratory. This mobile laboratory provides an accessible, clean space in very remote regions in places like Africa. Lastly, I had the opportunity to play golf for the first time, and I developed a love of the sport. It was a great experience in which I established new networking relationships from a personal and organizational level. I was inspired by the objectives of the Annual ISPE Foundation Golf Tournament, which also helped support individuals like me in my professional growth.

How do you think the knowledge you gained at the conference will help you professionally in the future?

The knowledge gained at the ISPE conferences has helped me and will continue to help me stay informed, expand my network, enhance my skills, and stay at the forefront of my industry. By applying these learnings to my work, I can bring new ideas, approaches, and insights to improve performance and success in my chosen career paths.

Did attending the conference change your perspective on your career?

Attending the ISPE conference has provided fresh insights, offered new perspectives, fostered professional growth, and inspired me to think differently about my career paths and the interconnections between organizational platforms and global initiatives. It has broadened my horizons, challenged my assumptions, and opened doors to new possibilities, ultimately shaping and evolving my perspective on the impact of the pharmaceutical industry on public health.

What message would you like to share with potential donors and supporters about the importance of our program in the community?

I am thrilled to have this opportunity to share with you the profound impact the ISPE Foundation has had on the community and individuals like me, as well as why donor support is so crucial to its continued success. The ISPE Foundation is a catalyst for positive change, an instrument of empowerment, and a beacon of hope for those seeking knowledge and growth.

The ISPE Foundation provides educational and financial resources and supports individuals in pursuing professional development. The ISPE Foundation not only improves the lives of individuals, but also fosters a stronger, more resilient community.

The impact extends far beyond immediate assistance. The ISPE Foundation equips individuals with the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to break free from the generational cycle of adversity. It is a lifeline for individuals like me and a testament to the power of compassion and collective action. Donor support has the potential to change lives, inspire confidence, uplift communities, and create a brighter future with a lasting impact. It is essential to recognize that it would not be possible without the generosity and dedication of individual and corporate donors.

Finally, is there anything else you want to share or add about your conference experience or its impact on your life?

It was an amazing experience overall and I look forward to future conferences!

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ISPE Foundation Scholarships and Grants Program

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