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Fast Start: Growing a career at PharmaSmart

Rochester Business Journal
July 5, 2013

Shauna Delahanty's heart is in the right place.
The health and wellness supervisor at PharmaSmart International Inc. is excited about her career prospects at the Gates manufacturer. PharmaSmart builds and distributes the blood-pressure kiosks found in pharmacies and medical clinics-and the firm is growing steadily. The company holds 90 percent of the Canadian market and is making inroads into the competitive U.S. scene.
Delahanty, 26, produces marketing and informational materials to pharmacies. She likes being part of the excitement of a growing company.
"I think (my inspiration) comes from my family's values," she says. "That's what drives me. Working hard through tough times: If there were things I wanted I would work hard for them. I feel this is the kind of thing nobody can take away from you."
Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. With its kiosks, PharmaSmart is at the forefront of the focus on monitoring blood pressure. It's not like the old days, when the machines offered a one-time reading and a slip of paper and a pencil to jot down results. Now individuals use a smart card obtained from the pharmacist. The card allows previous readings to be stored. This provides a comprehensive record of blood pressure results that can be shared with the pharmacist and doctor, who incorporate the data into the patient's profile and can make recommendations on medication and other treatment.
If the monitor is hooked up to the Internet, PharmaSmart's Blood Pressure Tracker web portal lets users access 10 previous readings online. Glucose and cholesterol levels can be added as well. The tracker links directly to the Department of Health and Human Services' Million Hearts campaign, a nationwide effort to lower blood pressure and reduce hypertension by getting patients and pharmacists to work together more closely. With a goal of decreasing U.S. heart attacks by 1 million by 2017, the Million Hearts campaign works with the tracker to warn patients who are at risk for heart attack.
"The pharmacies and the physicians are starting to realize how valuable this information is," Delahanty says.
The company also offers educational materials on its website to consumers, doctors and pharmacists. Continuing education credits are available to pharmacists through an online class on their role in hypertension management.
"We're about comprehensive health management," Delahanty says. "How can we help improve patient outcomes and patient compliance?"
Delahanty originally thought she wanted to become a physician's assistant. But her interests took her down another path; she ended up earning an interdisciplinary B.S. degree in political science and business.
"It's kind of interesting to see where I ended up: on the business side of health care," she notes.
Delahanty put herself through Arizona State University working in customer service for a large real estate and maintenance company. In 2009, she joined PharmaSmart right out of college in the customer service department. From there she moved on to operations-dealing with issues related to shipping, installation and the like.
"Because of where I started with the company, it's really given me (an understanding of) the base of the business and the process flow," she says.
Last year, when she was promoted to health and wellness supervisor, she dove into marketing responsibilities. Among her projects: building a marketing kit promoting the smart card to pharmacies.
"I've learned so much in the past six months. I love learning-I get to help the company grow and help pharmacies grow and help their patients," she says.
Delahanty grew up in Brockport and graduated from Brockport High School. During her senior year, her mother moved to California and her grandparents moved to Arizona. (Her mother has since joined them in Arizona.) Delahanty was very close to her grandparents, so when it came time to pick a college, she chose Arizona State.
When she graduated she knew she wanted to return to Rochester. She lives in Chili and will marry Jay Thomas, whom she knew in high school, in a couple of weeks.
"Arizona is my second home," she says. "I like Rochester because this is where I grew up. Both Arizona and Rochester have beauty in different ways."
Eager to move ahead in her career at PharmaSmart, she expects to enroll in a strategic leadership master's program at Roberts Wesleyan College.
"We have a lot of young vice presidents in our company. It's very inspiring to see that. And because we're such a small company, I've had the opportunity to work with them," she says. "No matter what level you're at with the company, you all kind of work together on projects. So you have that inspiration on a daily basis."
She says her mom's career drive and her father's optimistic outlook on life both had an effect on her.
"Both of them meshing together I think made me the way I am today."

7/5/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email


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