Ph.D. Student Internship Testimonials

The Department of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy’s program prepares graduates for successful careers within the pharmaceutical academic and industry sectors through not only didactic training, but an emphasis on gaining real-world research and practice experience.

These are a few testimonials from our students with internship experience in 2016.

Xi Wang

Year and Program: 3rd Year Ph.D. Candidate
Specialty: Pharmacoepidemiology
Internship Site: Amgen Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA
Project Sector: Observational Research

Xi was a member of Amgen, Inc.’s Cardiovascular Disease Group for her summer 2016 internship. She had the opportunity of developing pharmacoeconomic models measuring carsiovascular events among ASCVD and was inspired by Amgen’s knowledge of unmet needs in patients and their desire to bridge this gap.

This past summer, I worked with the cardiovascular disease group in Amgen, Inc.’s Center for Observational Research department. My main project was to develop a prediction model for recurrent cardiovascular events among ASCVD patients by using a claims database. I particularly enjoyed seeing the impact of pharmacoepidemiology on different stages of decision-making in the pharmaceutical industry. Using real world data at the population level, there is no better organization that is more informed of patients’ unmet needs. From this intern experience, I have been able to gain valuable insight into the unique roles, challenges, and opportunities for health outcome researchers to have meaningfully impact population health outcomes.

Yasser Albogami

Year and Program: 2nd Year Ph.D. Candidate
Specialty: Pharmacoepidemiology
Internship Site: World Health Organization, Switzerland
Project Sector: Patient Safety and Quality Improvement

Yasser was a part of the WHO Switzerland’s Third Global Patient Safety Challenge on Medication Safety, a project hoping to launch in early 2017.

I had the opportunity to work with the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Unit, which is part of the Service Delivery and Safety Department. I was a part of the team working on The Third Global Patient Safety Challenge on Medication Safety, which they hope to launch in early 2017! The project intended to analyze the global baseline of medication errors, strengthen the global monitoring system to improve tracking of medication errors, develop a multi-modal strategy to engage government, professional and patient safety organizations and healthcare providers to improve medication safety, and develop guidelines and materials to reduce the incidence of medication errors.

It was enriching and eye-opening experience to work in global health! Since medication safety is a global issue, this experience provided me the opportunity to examine and compare different tools and policies used by countries to mitigate medication-associated harm. This experience helped me as a Ph.D. student in Pharmaceutical Outcomes & Policy to expand my knowledge regarding medication safety and what can be done in high, middle and low income countries to improve public health.


Wei “Vivian” Wang

Year and Program: 4th Year, Ph.D. Candidate
Specialty: Pharmacoeconomics
Internship Site: Genetech, San Francisco, CA
Project Sector: Real World Data Science

Vivian’s work with Genetech as a member of their Breast Cancer Research Team helped her grow as a future researcher and pharmacoeconomist through her various projects and tasks.

This past summer, I received the opportunity to intern with the Real World Data Science department in Global Product, Genentech in south San Francisco. I was a member of the breast cancer research team working on the project titled, “The Patterns and Predictors of Taxane Use for Metastatic Triple Negative Breast Cancer Patients in U.S.” As an intern, I was assigned specific tasks, and was in charge of writing the analysis plan, collaborating with and directing the work of the data analysts, and interpreting and presenting the results to the Real World Data Science Division and Breast Cancer Team. My experience helped me develop my communication skills with various audiences and increase my strategical thinking skills. It became my job to identify the tasks and delegate to get them completed or complete it myself, so it helped me grow as an independent thinker and researcher.


Yanmin (Zoe) Zhu

Year and Program: 5th Year Ph.D. Candidate
Track: Pharmacoepidemiology
Internship Site: FDA
Project Highlights: Surveillance and Epidemiological Analysis

“My summer internship experience at the FDA enhanced my understanding of the incredible reach and impact of divisions of Epidemiology. During the three-month internship, I was working on two major projects involving analyzing the Prescription Behavior Surveillance System database, as well as assessing data/results from IMS Health Sales Database and Sentinel Database. Through working with other reviewers and analysts from different teams, I gradually learned how to evaluate a drug safety issue with evidence from a regulatory perspective. My internship experience helped me understand how the work epidemiologists do at the FDA is crucial to the field of public health, and now, more than ever, I am determined to focus on my current research and become an independent researcher in this field!”


Chao Chen

Year and Program: 5th year Ph.D. Candidate
Internship Site:
 Biogen, Cambridge, MA
Project Highlights: Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR)

Chao’s 12-week internship this past summer provided him with ample opportunity to use his skills through experience on multiple projects, including comparative effectiveness and exploratory research.

I worked as a summer intern at Global Market Access (GMAx) Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) at Biogen in Cambridge, MA. In the 12-week internship, I had an opportunity to get involved in several research projects: a comparative effectiveness research on the treatments for multiple sclerosis, a utilization study on anti-TNF medications, and an exploratory study on patients with spinal muscular atrophy.

I quickly realized the training I received from the POP program at UF program had provided me a solid educational and practical skills foundation I needed to succeed in the industry of my choosing! I also learned to view things from business perspective and how to communicate my research to audiences with different backgrounds. Overall, I can say my experience with Biogen benefited me a lot in regards to applying my training in a real-world setting!