Panther Profiles are Q&A interviews that highlight Panthers of all stripes -- students, faculty, staff, alum, board members and anyone else in the campus community.
Associate Professor Katie Cardone, a 2006 graduate of ACPHS, is director of the pharmacy practice program. A nationally recognized nephrology expert, Dr. Cardone maintains a clinical practice and a research program focused on improving care in patients with kidney disease. She also serves as residency program director for the PGY2 ambulatory care residency. She received an alumni award last year, recognizing her for being student-centered in all her work.
Question: You were not always sure that pharmacy was right for you. What brought you around to the profession?
Dr. Katie Cardone: Are you familiar with Bob Ross?
The TV art instructor? Yes.
I think about him when I think about my career, because he always referred to "happy little accidents."
When I was in high school, I had no idea which college to go to, but I knew I wanted to do something in math and science. There was always a pharmacy table at career days, and I didn’t want to go over there. I really had the pharmacy shopkeeper image in my mind and I’m like, why would I want to do that?
But my guidance counselor suggested, “Why don’t you look at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences? It’s local. It’s not going to take too much effort.” I grew up about an hour away from Albany. So I came to campus – reluctantly.
I remember sitting in O’Brien 110 and knowing, I’m applying, I’m coming here. I fit in. I felt like: this place is serious about math and science, whether I choose to stay or not.
I was planning to transfer out. I thought, maybe I’ll build bridges, I’ll be an engineer. I really love physics.
And then I worked in a pharmacy. I figured out that I really like to talk to people about their medicines, try to be a problem solver for them, and also translate science into plain language for people. So I was like, all right, I’m staying here.
Tell us about your involvement on the national level in the Advancing Kidney Health through Optimal Medication Management initiative.
A few years ago, there was a federal executive order about advancing kidney health to look at how we can prevent the progression of kidney disease and improve care. There’s not a lot of pharmacists who have kidney disease as their practice area. So an international group of us got together and convened several work groups. I and (Associate Professor) Marissa Battistella at the University of Toronto headed up the Practice Standards Group. We’re focused on providing educational programming for pharmacists in any practice setting who see patients with kidney disease – which is basically all of them.
There’s quality improvement measures in dialysis, and there’s one around medication management. Several of the citations from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on that issue are from me, shared with my colleagues. It shows that the work we do in Albany can affect things on a national level.
Quite separate from that, you’re conducting research on the health consequences of last year's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing a right to abortion. What’s the connection between that and your other work?
There’s not a direct connection to my background in kidney disease. However, my first and foremost interest is in outpatient pharmacy and community pharmacy. So reading and hearing about the downstream effects of Dobbs got me thinking: who can we pull together to get the news out about the downstream effects in our profession?
I am our residency program director for our ambulatory care PGY2 training program. My residents spend time in kidney disease, but they’re also in family medicine, they’re in rheumatology, they’re in the community pharmacy. I also work closely with Dr. Jessica Farrell, who is in rheumatology. I also have worked with (ACPHS Associate Professors) Barry DeCoster, a bioethicist, and Wendy Parker, a public health expert, for many years.
So I had this idea. But I’m not the expert on the ethical ramifications or the public health impact or the rheumatology aspect. I know a little bit about each, and I know experts in each area with whom I can collaborate.
Is there any advice based on your varied experiences and paths to finding work that you would offer to a student?
Figuring out what you don’t like is just as important as finding out what you do like. Just keep trying things.
The other thing is, I put together all these little pieces. I did research with a faculty member and learned that I was interested in research. And then I learned I liked community pharmacy and working directly with patients. And then I figured out I liked kidney disease and dialysis. I also was a tutor for a long time at the college. And so, putting all that together, I have my faculty position where I worked in community pharmacy part time for many years, I work in an outpatient setting, I get to do research, I get to teach students. And so I was able to put all those little pieces together and build what I do now.
You are also known for being student-centered. What does that phrase mean to you?
I’m going to start with how I think about patient care. When we teach our students about patient care, we teach them about the guidelines and what is good for the population – for most people with diabetes, here’s what we suggest, for example. But then we also tailor treatment to the individual.
As the Pharmacy Practice Program Director, my job is like that – to look out for the population of students and then tailor it down to the individual needs of each student.
To go again back to how we care for patients: We’re thinking about their medical needs but also their preferences, their social determinants of health, things that impact their ability to succeed from a medical perspective. I think about the same thing with our students: What are their preferences? What kind of electives do they want? What kind of career paths are they looking for? What are the things affecting their success from a non-academic perspective? We’ve had students with financial troubles, we’ve had students with housing issues, personal issues, family health issues, medical issues. All of that is important – seeing the student holistically to make sure that they get what they need and want at a pharmacy school.
Tell us something we don’t know about you, personally or professionally.
I’ve been a runner for a long time, and during the pandemic, I determined I like to run on trails, which I had never done before. I am also learning different languages.
What languages are you learning?
I am right now learning Ukrainian. I decided I should learn the languages of my heritage. I started with Italian. I discovered that I like this Italian band Maneskin. So I was like, I’ve got to learn Italian to understand their songs in Italian. Then I was like, I should also learn Ukrainian and Polish. So I’m fumbling through that.