Pharmacy Alumnus: "Helping Our Patients Get the Right Kind of Care'

Pacific University School of Pharmacy alumnus Matt Maglalang PharmD ’09 strives to help patients the way a pharmacist once helped him.

“My venture into pharmacy, I discovered that pretty early, as early as high school,” said Maglalang, now a pharmacist with Providence Portland Medical Center. “When my grandmother was aging and had diabetes … her medications were all mixed up. She had open syringes in a drawer, and her glaucoma had progressed to the point where she couldn’t see very well.”

He called a local retail pharmacist, who helped walk him through all of medicines and reorganize her care.

“I always appreciated the ease of access of a healthcare provider being one phone call away.”

In 2006, Maglalang joined Pacific University’s first class of prospective doctor of pharmacy students in its College of Health Professions in Hillsboro, excited about “the opportunity to be different and bold and take a calculated risk on joining a new program that had a wonderful vision.”

Pacific’s School of Pharmacy offers a rare three-year path to a doctor of pharmacy degree, with students taking an innovative curriculum in which they study each topic in intensive blocks and also work collaboratively with students in Pacific’s other health professions programs to develop a deep understanding of interdisciplinary, patient-focused care. The school now also offers students the opportunity to earn their master of healthcare administration or a research-based master of science along with the PharmD degree, and it hosts several post-graduate pharmacy fellowships. The school also recently developed a bridge program for University of Oregon students to enter the PharmD program, as well as a three-year route to the pharmacy program for qualified Pacific undergraduates.  

In 2009, shortly after graduating from Pacific, he was awarded the USPHS Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Practice Award for the creation of an oral contraceptive patient brochure, and in 2012, he received the President’s Award for Excellence through his employer for the Providence Sepsis Bundle Implementation Program.

The role of pharmacists in healthcare today is evolving, and while the retail pharmacists — like the one who helped with his grandmother’s medications — are an important part of the profession, pharmacists also work in a wide range of settings, providing both direct and interprofessional patient care.

Maglalang now specializes in critical care medicine at Portland Providence Medical Center. Providence is the largest healthcare employer of Pacific University alumni.

“In the ICU, we participate in codes. We round with the team in the morning — physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and we provide the best care we can,” he said. “Essentially we’re an assist to helping our patients get the right kind of care.”

Each summer, Maglalang refreshes himself by devoting time to serving on medical missions around the world with the organization Faith in Practice.

And, he remains actively involved with Pacific University alumni activities and as a preceptor, mentoring current Pacific pharmacy students.

“The opportunity that Pacific University provided me was surely priceless,” he said. “The program, their curriculum, really provided the foundation that I needed to be able to do what I do here at Providence.”

Jul. 12, 2018