Jeffrey Fudin is Clinical Pharmacy Specialist and Director, PGY-2 Pharmacy Pain Residency Programs, at the Stratton Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albany, New York, and is Adjunct Professor of Pharmacy Practice at several universities.
What inspired you to become a healthcare provider?
I was most inspired by my father and great uncle, both of whom were pharmacists and attended my alma mater. I can remember my father coming home from the “drug store” smelling like camphor, menthol, and vitamin supplements, probably thiamine. Everyone in town knew him. My great uncle used to tell me stories of how he was called “Doc” and stayed up all night during cough and cold season compounding syrups and elixirs, rolling pills, pressing tablets and capsules, and making powder papers. As a young child it fascinated me. As the years went on, I maintained that captivation, but I knew in my heart that I was meant to be a clinician, which at the time was nontraditional pharmacy and the exception rather than the rule.
Why did you focus on pain management?
When I began learning about pharmacognosy (medicinals derived from plants), I was particularly amazed that animals could have an exact receptor to uptake certain drugs from plants (such as opium from poppies). I remember being in lab and receiving a prescription written in Latin (hard to believe) for lactam rubrum (red milk) powder to be placed in capsules for pain. Using placebo back then wasn’t all PROPaganda; there was a chemically-based scientific explanation that PROMPTed release of endorphins and subsequent opiate receptor stimulation even from sterile water injections. Even back then PROMPT embraced scientific evidence--who knew what I was in for?*
**Dr. Fudin is referring to Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP) and Professionals for Rational Opioid Monitoring and Pharmacotherapy (PROMPT).
Who were your mentors?
The first was my high school music teacher, Mr. Lou Aulogia. In college the standout was Dr. Robert Marois (professor of pharmacology), followed by Dr. Matthew Verderame (professor of medicinal chemistry), and Dr. John Calvert (clinical professor of pharmacy—a new thing back in the day).
If you weren’t a healthcare provider, what would you be?
Definitely a musician, especially if I were born during the big band era! In fact, I was very close to entering college as a saxophonist, but I figured it would be tougher to “make it” as a musician and I could continue playing sax as a pharmacist, but I couldn’t go to music school and practice pharmacy on the side without a license. Although, from the likes of some of my patients, it seems that some folks have in fact chosen that route—playing music and selling drugs.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Compulsivity, especially if I think someone or something has wronged innocent people, I find it difficult to ignore. This “quality” is in large part attributable to my professional triumphs.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The greatest achievement for anyone these days is remaining happily married for over 30 years and having 4 honest, caring, successful children.
What is your favorite language?
If you had to choose one book, one film, and one piece of music to take into space for an undetermined amount of time, what would they be?
Book: The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon.
Film: All of the Die Hard movies rolled into one.
Music: In the Mood, by Glen Miller.
What would you like your legacy to be?
I saw corruption within the federal government that harmed veterans, and I suffered unyielding retaliation for telling the truth in an effort to protect patients. My legacy is that if you “tell the truth and act with conviction of conscience” as required by the pharmacist oath, it is possible to prevail even in the most daunting of circumstances.
What is your motto?
A few years back, I’d say it was Reinhold Niebuhr's Serenity Prayer:
God grant me serenity to accept the things
I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can, and
Wisdom to know the difference.
But now that I’m older and wiser, I embrace the Senility Prayer:
God grant me the senility to forget
The people I never liked anyway
Good fortune to run into the ones I do, and
Eyesight to tell the difference.
Posted on January 5, 2017