As a local TV show host and director of UB's Pharmacy Residency Program, UB alumna Tammie Lee Demler ’92, PHRMD ’02, has left her mark in her field both at UB and throughout New York State.
For Demler, putting her focus on the single dream of becoming a pharmacist opened new doors of opportunity she never knew existed.
"A family friend was a pharmacist and he just loved what he did," Demler said. "This was inspiring for me."
Demler knew that she wanted to help people in the field of health care. She graduated from the UB Pharmacy School with her BS in 1992 and began working in managed care as a staff pharmacist.
Years later she returned to UB to earn her doctorate in pharmacy. It was during her last clinical rotation at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center that she landed the top position as director of pharmacy services. The previous director was retiring that year creating the perfect opportunity to fill his shoes.
"I like to believe that everything happens is for a reason," Demler said.
She accepted the challenge of launching a post-doctoral pharmacy residency program, which received accreditation from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. In continuing to enhance her expertise Demler became board certified in psychiatric pharmacy in November 2005. In May of that same year she became certified as a master psychopharmacologist.
Ever an enthusiast for learning, she is now looking to earn her MBA, a degree that will enhance her work with the School of Management.
"My goal is to help people who cannot help themselves," Demler said.
This objective led her to develop a program for pharmacy students who have graduated, but are still waiting to take their board examinations. The program consists of students working directly with mentally ill patients.
"Most people are afraid to deal with the mentally ill," Demler said. "It is important to show students that these people are not scary and we can help them."
Throughout each phase of Demler's life she has embraced opportunities to better herself, and her hopes are that students will do the same in their own lives.
"I would advise that students take every opportunity they can get," Demler said. "I never limited myself. I always took every opportunity that came my way."
Her professional skills in pharmacy have given her the chance to host her own TV segment on WNY Tonight, which airs Wednesday evenings at 8 p.m. on Lockport Community Television channel 20.
"I was offered the opportunity to appear as a guest speaker, the producer liked what I did and offered me this position," Demler said.
One of Demler's greatest accomplishments however, is winning the presidency of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York for raising legislative awareness. Now in her third term, Demler is the second woman in 117 years to hold the title.
As president, her goal is to act as an intermediary between patients and companies, ultimately creating a better experience for both.
"Legislatures see dollars and so do the people buying health care," Demler said. "There are ways such as increasing immunization that can save money on both ends, and more importantly it can save lives. "For now, Demler stands as the director of pharmacy services, something that has expanded her leadership opportunities within the health care system. She also remains involved at UB teaching substance abuse awareness, while continuing in her position as residency program director.
"My advice to anyone interested in health care is to consider pharmacy as a profession. If pharmacy, consider the field of psychiatric pharmacy," she said.
Demler is adamant that she got to where she is today in two ways: "Exposing myself to as many opportunities as possible, and never accepting never as an option."
Written by Sarah Eid