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Wantanee Phuapradit '85GP, '89Ph.D. Sees Pharmacy in a Social Context

Monday, November 18, 2013

For as long as she can recall, Wantanee Phuapradit ’85GP, ’89Ph.D. wanted a career that would allow her to make a significant difference for society. That’s the reason she initially became a Pharmacist, and why today she takes such pleasure from her position as Executive Vice President for Research and Development at Kashiv Pharmaceuticals.

“The best part of my job is that I’m doing different things to help people every day,” she said. “When the drugs I work on finally get Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and go to market, that is my reward. That’s better than a pay check. I love that I can bring the better medicines to the people and do my part to address the clinical needs that are challenging the health of our society. My job is really all about making people’s lives better.”

Phuapradit always enjoyed science, and by the time she was 13 had made up her mind to become a Pharmacist. When it was time to pursue her graduate education, this dynamic young woman looked to the United States as the ideal place to study. Ironically, it was the influence of her mother that ultimately led her to St. John’s University.

“At that time my brother was living in New York, and my mother would not let me go to any other state for my education,” she recalled. “Once I started looking at the graduate programs in the area, it became clear that St. John’s was the best place for me. Coming to the University was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m so grateful to St. John’s and I can tell you that my career would not be what it is today were it not for the help that I got from this very special University. All of the professors who taught me were absolutely wonderful, and they really cared about every student as a person.”

For this successful double alumna, St. John’s is as important today as it ever was. She willingly shares her time and talents as a member of the Industrial Pharmacy Planning Committee of St. John’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and frequently participates in the Dr. Charles I. Jarowski Industrial Pharmacy Symposium. The Symposium is an annual event that brings industry professionals and academics to the University to discuss the latest research findings and product applications in Industrial Pharmacy.

She also supports St. John’s as a member of The Loughlin Society, the University’s leadership donor recognition group.

“I’m so proud to be a graduate of St. John’s,” she said, “and I’m always ready to do whatever I can for the University. I especially love being a part of the Jarowski Symposium, and I enjoy making sure that it gets better and better every year. Pharmacy at St. John’s is so exciting, because of all of the cutting-edge things that are happening here. And I’m happy to be involved in any way I can. It’s a way for me to show my appreciation for what the University did for me. Coming back to St. John’s is like coming back to the family.”

Phuapradit is excited about what she perceives to be the future of Pharmacy. She believes that Pharmacists will have an expanded role as members of medical treatment teams, particularly by recommending therapeutic alternatives for patients that will become available because of the new drugs and medication delivery systems currently being developed.

“My son is in his first year studying Pharmacy at St. John’s,” she remarked, “and by the time he’s ready to begin his career, the profession will be very different from what it was when I began. It will have much more of a focus on serving people, even at the corporate level, and that’s a really good thing. Young people need to study and learn what they like, but they also need to study things that will have an impact on society. People just starting out need to have a focus that goes beyond them, and St. John’s does a good job in providing that focus. My career in Pharmacy is a great example of the University’s Vincentian values. Those values tell us how important it is to serve the needs of others, alleviate suffering and make the world a better place. I’m glad to be doing that now, and happy that my son will be doing the same because of what he’ll experience at St. John’s.”