Houston, We Have a Phenom

Houston, We Have a Phenom

UNH Manchester bio alum completing residency at top cancer hospital

by Kassidy Taylor

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Adam DiPippo performing research on his computer at his residency at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston

Adam DiPippo grew up in Sandown, went to high school in Derry and chose Manchester for college and pharmacy school. But for the past year, the New Hampshire native has called Texas home.

In the summer of 2015, DiPippo began a residency at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, consistently ranked the best cancer hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

A typical day depends on which service he’s training with, but DiPippo said he primarily works with alongside physicians to counsel patients on cancer therapy and write medication orders for treatments. In addition to the experience he’s gained, DiPippo said he is especially grateful for the mentorship from pharmacists and relationships he’s formed over the past year.

“Everyone from the nurses, physicians, midlevel practitioners, co-residents and patients were able to give me a different perspective, not just in my career, but in life as well,” DiPippo said.

While the bulk of the residency focuses on patient care, DiPippo had opportunities to complete a retrospective research project on infectious diseases in leukemia patients, work with colleagues to publish an article on new therapies for metastatic breast cancer and deliver cancer treatment-related presentations to audiences small and large.

“Perhaps some of the more personally rewarding experiences were the opportunities to teach and educate students and fellow healthcare workers on a variety of cancer medication-related topics,” DiPippo said. “I really enjoyed the collaboration and participating in an environment that is committed to continued discovery and learning.”

DiPippo has always been interested in medical science, but the idea of dealing with blood turned him away from the idea of being a doctor. When his high school chemistry teacher mentioned pharmacy, everything clicked.

“Pharmacy ties math and science together with the medical profession,” DiPippo said. “It made sense to start on that path, and it sounded really interesting.”

After graduating from Calvary Christian School in 2008, DiPippo enrolled in the biological sciences program at UNH Manchester. While location and affordability were the major factors of his decision, DiPippo found that the student community, faculty guidance and opportunities to get involved were a bonus.

“I came from a smaller school, so it was nice to come to a smaller school that still offered the education and support of any larger university,” he said.

Another bonus DiPippo discovered: An accelerated path to pharmacy school, thanks to an affiliation agreement with MCPHS University (formerly Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences). DiPippo spent his first three years at UNH Manchester completing requirements for both general education as well as pre-pharmacy through the biological sciences curriculum. From there it was onto MCPHS University in Manchester, where he completed the final requirements for his bachelor’s while in his first year of professional school.

“My group was one of the first people to take part in the agreement with the MCPHS Manchester campus,” DiPippo said. “My first year of pharmacy school counted as my last year of school at UNH, which worked out really nicely.”

After graduating with his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2014, DiPippo accepted a year-long residency at Concord Hospital. The rotation allowed him to experience the different opportunities available at a hospital pharmacy, from the emergency department to infectious disease to intensive care. DiPippo found that his interest in oncology only grew during this experience, so he decided to pursue a residency at a cancer center. The entire application process, he said, was a pretty nerve-wracking.

“You formally apply, interview onsite, submit rankings of different places and their programs rank you, then match day scrambles everyone together to see where you fit,” DiPippo said. “You have no idea where you’re going until that day, so it’s pretty intense.”

On March 21, 2015, DiPippo got his assignment at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Three months later, he and his wife were Houston-bound.

“I was thinking I would have to come to work every day in a cowboy hat and some big old boots,” DiPippo joked about adapting to Texan culture. “That’s not the case at all. Houston is a very diverse city, and I think my experience at UNH Manchester and being integrated into the Manchester community really helped with the social and cultural transition.”

Each opportunity DiPippo has had, he said, has been built upon his solid foundation of education and experience. He said many larger universities are sheltered in their own communities, but being a city allowed him to build out his professional connections inside and outside the classroom.

“I got the best education I think I could have possibly gotten, but also with the added benefit of having connections in this urban setting,” DiPippo said. “We get thrust out into the Manchester community, so we’ve already started to establish a network before we graduate.”

DiPippo officially graduates from his residency on July 11, and has accepted a position as a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in the Leukemia department at MD Anderson. He also plans to take an examination to become a Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties.

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