For the past 40 years, 2/3 of practicing pharmacists in the United States are women. Yet, only about 25% of them are granted leadership titles and given a chance for a C-Suite position. One of the few who have earned this huge honor is Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS, and the current Chief Academic Officer (CAO) of the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs (ACMA).
Suzanne's journey to becoming one of the most influential female pharmacists started with the habits she developed while in school. Even as a student, she always aimed for excellence and got involved in extracurriculars as much as she could. This allowed her to build her leadership skills at an early age.
When she attended the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy (UIC-COP) to get her PharmD doctorate, she faced numerous personal challenges. She lost both her grandparents, and her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Witnessing her father fight through his illness to spend more time with his family taught Suzanne the importance of never giving up. Instead, she vowed to stay persistent, no matter what obstacles she encountered from then on.
This determination for greatness led her to accomplish numerous notable things. After earning her doctorate, Suzanne continued her training at Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy and completed a residency in primary care. Afterward, she proceeded to the UIC College of Medicine to complete her teaching fellowship. Suzanne has accomplished this all while working as a clinical pharmacist and professor throughout her career. She has held numerous faculty appointments including Assistant Dean at UIC and has worked in the pharmaceutical industry space for Abbott as a medical science liaison (MSL) and trainer for three years.
Currently, she is the CAO of ACMA, tasked with assessing the curricular development of the company's Board Certification Program in Medical Affairs (BCMAS). She also has faculty appointment at both St. John’s University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences and Rutgers University-New Brunswick where she educates the next generation of pharmacists. The BCMAS program is the first and only accredited board certification for medical science liaisons and medical affairs professionals in the world. In her role as CAO, Suzanne works globally with BCMAS professionals from the pharmaceutical industry as well as the healthcare sector.
The busier she became with her career, the harder it was for Suzanne to balance her time with her husband and children. Her demanding work schedule caused her to miss some of her children's activities, and she felt regretful about it. Assuming she wasn't the only one who had been through such an experience, she went to Facebook and created a group for pharmacist mothers to discuss the challenges, and joys, that come with their careers.
That was the start of "What Is Now," the largest organization for female pharmacists in the United States, Pharmacist Moms Group (PhMG). Currently, the group has more than 35,000 members and 85,000 followers on social media. Suzanne, along with other pharmacist mothers in the community, is actively advocating for the recruitment and advancement of women in pharmacy.
Suzanne's influence has reached numerous news outlets and spans across different social media platforms. She actively posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok, and has inspired many people on her journey. Suzanne is also finalizing her book, which is expected to be published in December 2021.