Name: Janice Chung, Pharm.D
Title: Pharmacist in Charge
Location: Integrity RX - Los Angeles, California
When you work with VFP Pharmacy Group, you’re never just a patient. We believe in getting to know you and your unique situation so we can support you in a way that makes sense for you. A part of that is knowing who makes up your team and finding the right pharmacist whose expertise and experience will help you feel empowered throughout the course of your treatment.
As such, we sat down with Janice Chung from our Los Angeles, California, location to learn more about her work as a fertility pharmacist and how she guides patients through their treatment.
What Interested you in becoming a pharmacist?
Before college, I had a chance to attend a medical mission in Uzbekistan. During my time there, I noticed that people were using expired medications, and due to my inexperience, I wasn't able to help as much as I wanted. From then on, I decided I wanted to be a person who could educate people on how to properly and safely administer their medication.
Tell us about your journey to becoming a pharmacist.
I went to the University of California, Santa Barbara, for my undergraduate. There, I majored in Biology. Then, I moved to Baltimore, Maryland, and went to pharmacy school at Notre Dame of Maryland University. During pharmacy school, I took different leadership roles and was part of Rho Chi Society. I graduated pharmacy school in 2014, and after graduation, I got hired by CVS in Maryland for about six months before I wanted to come back home to California. I then studied for the California Practice Standards and Jurisprudence Examination (CPJE) and got hired by Target pharmacy in 2015. During my orientation with Target pharmacy, CVS had bought Target pharmacy, so I was back with CVS again. I continued to work at CVS for about eight years till I found an opening at Integrity Rx in CA. I am thankful I am part of Integrity Rx, and it’s been amazing so far.
Why did you decide to work within the fertility industry as your core focus?
I would study fertility medications as I was helping my friends, and I fell in love with this specialty and wanted to know more about it. Patients are already stressed out and burned out with complex regimens. I feel more valuable when I can relieve some of their stress and make complex regimens easy for them to understand.
In your estimation, why should patients choose a fertility pharmacy over a typical neighborhood pharmacy?
Fertility medication regimens can be complicated, and a lot of times, medications can be costly. Fertility pharmacies who specialize in these medications can make more educated decisions and can make complex regimens easier to understand. A specialized fertility pharmacy can better serve patients in a more professional way due to their resources and education about fertility medications.
What do you appreciate about our daily interactions with patients and /or nurses or physicians? In What ways do you work with them to make their lives a little easier?
I really appreciate how we work closely with doctors and nurses to ensure patients receive the right medications, and if changes are needed, they can be made in a timely manner. From my experiences at a retail pharmacy store like CVS, a doctor's office can be hard to reach. In the fertility field, doctor's offices are quicker to respond, and both the doctor and pharmacists are on the same page in terms of urgency and quick turnaround time. Working as a team is a must, and having that relationship with different doctors is key to patient satisfaction.
What advice do you have for fertility patients who are just getting started?
There are numerous resources out there that are available to patients. We provide informational and instructional videos, and reading materials, and pharmacists are easily accessible for any questions. The pharmacy, doctors, and patients should work as one team to provide the best care, and patients should not be hesitant to ask any questions. We all know regimens can be complicated and hard to understand, so we are all here to educate and be sure to utilize all the resources that are out there.
What misconception do you find people have regarding medications and fertility treatment? (What would you like to tell your patients?)
I was surprised at how many people are going through fertility treatment and the number of patients struggling with fertility. I noticed that many patients feel ashamed and try to hide the fact that they are infertile. I would like to tell patients that they are not alone and we are all in this together. We are here to help and share resources with them, and there is nothing to hide to be more open-minded and ask us any questions.
What do you like about working at VFP Pharmacy Group?
First of all, I am so thankful that I joined the VFP Pharmacy group and that everyone welcomed me with open arms. The team is amazing, and everyone is helpful and communicative. I enjoy the flexibility in my day-to-day tasks, and I can get things done in a timely manner. Building team synergy and communication within a team is very important to me as a manager.
Here at VFP, I get to plan out my day and work with the team in communicating with doctors and patients, creating a great work-life balance.
When you’re not behind the counter and/or instructing patients on proper medication use/applications, what do you get up to? What are your hobbies outside of work?
I love to be active outdoors by going hiking in the mountains or learning a new sport. During the winter times, I enjoy skiing at Big Bear and Mammoth Mountain. I'm also a big-time Dodgers and Lakers fan. I make it a mission to watch a live sports game multiple times a year. If I have the time, I would love to travel to places like South Korea and Japan.
We’re not just a pharmacy where you can go to fill your prescriptions. We’ll help make getting started a little easier and using fertility medications simpler. To learn more about working with VFP, contact us today!