2019 Emerging Leader Award Recipient: Dr. Jessica Conklin (PharmD, 2011)

As a true pioneer in the field of transgender care, Dr. Jessica Conklin's (PharmD, 2011) advocacy for the role that pharmacists play in caring for this population is earning her national - and international - attention.

In 2013, Dr. Conklin was hired with the UNM College of Pharmacy as a visiting assistant professor and as a clinical pharmacist for Truman Health Services. As a credentialed American Academy of HIV Medicine pharmacist and a certified diabetes educator, she was responsible for building a service at Truman that would provide cardiovascular risk reduction services to people living with HIV.

Two years later, the clinic began expanding their clinical services to include care for transgender/diverse patients. The goal was to have an interprofessional team provide gender-affirming care. "At this time, I insisted that a clinical pharmacist be a part of the team" Jessica says.

The interprofessional transgender care clinic at Truman Health Services is the first of its kind in New Mexico, and as a result, Jessica has become a national expert in her field. Her expertise has been recognized by both APhA and ASHP and she has gone as far as the Netherlands and Mexico to present on her clinical experience.

Jessica's inspiration in doing this work lays solely upon her patients and the providers she works with. What sets her apart, however, is the fact that she has gone above and beyond her role in providing pharmaceutical care for her transgender patients and has become an advocate for providing personalized care for this community.

As a trusted advocate and mentor, Jessica is never hesitant to show gratitude for her own personal and professional mentors. She credits her role models as "trusted advisors [who] have provided amazing guidance, grounding, and growth. To pay it forward, I try to emulate my mentors to all of my mentees."

Jessica's influence as a mentor cannot be understated. As a preceptor, her rotation is highly sought after by pharmacy students, and in 2016 she was recognized as the faculty preceptor of the year. She is also the faculty advisor for Phi Lambda Sigma, and was in fact nominated for this year's Emerging Leader award by her students.

While Jessica has demonstrated extensive leadership in her profession, she also serves as a leader in her community. She is a telehealth pharmacist for the Extension of Community Health Outcomes (ECHO), served as the central district representative of NMSHP, and still manages to find time to volunteer for Albuquerque Opportunity Center and One Hope Clinic.

Going forward, Jessica will surely continue to break new ground, but for now she is taking this opportunity to reflect on how far she has come since her graduation. "I am proud of my journey and growth as an educator and innovative clinical provider".