Author: [AUTHOR] Published on 1/1/2023 12:00:00 AM
Mari Cayabyab, PharmD, Assistant Professor, California Northstate University, Elk Grove, California
What does being recognized as a Presidential Trainee mean to you?
I am absolutely honored and humbled to have received ASCPT's Presidential Trainee and the Jason Morrow, MD Trainee Awards. As a pharmacist by training, I had a lot to learn in terms of study design, coding, and biostatistics. My first year as a fellow at the University of California San Francisco's Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics program was like a crash course in these topics, but I had so much support from my PI Dr. Akinyemi Oni-Orisan, the other members of the Oni-Orisan Lab, and my Fellowship directors, Drs. Jennifer Cocohoba, Leslie Floren, and Esteban Burchard. Receiving recognition makes me feel even more empowered and determined to use my clinical training and research skillset to understand how we can minimize harm and maximize benefit in everyday therapeutics (like statins) for all our patients.
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
My proudest moment was when I graduated from UCSF with my PharmD. I am a first-generation Filipina-American; my parents did not have a chance to finish college, even though they both had dreams of working in the sciences. When I graduated with my PharmD, it represented the culmination of all my parents' and my ancestors' hard work and sacrifice. My great-grandfather and grandmother were farmers who had elementary and middle-school educations – I've been blessed with the opportunity to graduate from one of the top universities in the world.
What is the most important leadership lesson you have learned the hard way?
The most important leadership lesson I've learned is to become more assertive and communicate, but it also goes hand-in-hand with prioritizing mental health. I'm naturally introverted and would love nothing more than to sit back and let others take the lead. However, I'm quickly learning that to advocate for change and help my patients, I need to speak up because my ideas are valid! I have continued to encourage myself to take leadership positions and practice public speaking, but it can be exhausting. On the flip side, I have also learned how to rest and recharge after my social and mental battery has been drained. It is a never-ending cycle of “work hard, play hard” – taking risks to improve myself, and then engaging in self-care, but this is the only sustainable way I have found to keep up the daily grind while minimizing burnout.
When you aren't working, how do you spend your free time?
I love trying new cuisines. I have been experimenting in the kitchen and learning more about different techniques and ingredients from other cultures. I believe that food is the ultimate unifier – everyone enjoys great eats!
What's one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I have been singing in choir since I was 5!
Mari has been a member of ASCPT since 2020.