Working at the Top of His License

Headshot of Dr. Mark Sinnett.

Helping PharmD students with residencies and scholarships

A natural born leader

A natural leader and mentor, Mark has spent the last 25 years at Montefiore Medical Center as director of clinical and educational pharmacy services and director of the PGY1 pharmacy residency program. He leads and inspires a team of 25 professionals and numerous residents during the year, and plays a critical role in placing fourth-year PharmD students from UB at Montefiore.

“Residency training is the future of pharmacy,” he says. “We are moving from the drug being the center of our industry to the patient being the center.”

Never was that more apparent than when Mark played an intricate part in the medical center’s response to New York City’s COVID-19 outbreak. During the most acute infection period in March and April, the hospital had more than 6,200 patients actively being treated for COVID-19. “We were trying to dampen the infection,” recalls Mark. “We were about a half day ahead of running out of medications; it was very scary and stressful.” Patients were intubated on all floors of the hospital and numerous spaces converted into much needed bed space.

Mark was there day in and day out, as was a cadre of UB-trained residents. “They learned how to work in a pandemic,” says Mark. “We train for this, but there’s nothing like experiencing it.”

Ultimately Montefiore, the Bronx, and New York State got the COVID-19 outbreak under control – in early October the daily patient census had decreased to about 25 from the highs in March and April. “We know how to treat it better now,” says Mark.

“Montefiore is the largest site for UB residents outside of Buffalo,” says Mark Sinnett, PharmD '87, BS '83, a health system pharmacist at the comprehensive, Bronx-based medical center he has called his professional home for 32 years. “That’s a real joy of mine.”

“I love the science, but I really like the leadership aspect of our profession,” says Mark, noting his real passion is inspiring and energizing people and helping direct them to the aspects of their jobs that will give them “a buzz.”

Mark and his wife, Merrette, will be giving a new generation of SPPS PharmD students their own kind of buzz later this year when their new scholarship funds will be available for students. Called the Mark J. Sinnett Scholarship, this endowed fund supports PharmD students who demonstrate financial need. But it will also support students who are interested in outcomes-based research and performance improvement science, something Mark became interested in during his first seven years at Montefiore, when he was doing neuroscience research.

“I learned an important thing in my early research years working on brain tumors. I learned this at Buffalo too. To really improve the outcomes for a patient – to get them out of the hospital faster, to reduce their readmission, to lower rates of adverse events, it’s not about the result of the study, it’s about the methodology that gets you to an answer,” he says.

“Buffalo gave me everything I needed to succeed,” remembers Mark, who came to UB as a freshman and stayed for seven years. He recalls his first year in pharmacy school – getting to know his professors, sitting in the front row of classes and marveling that the esteemed professionals teaching his classes “really wanted to know me and know my name.”

And now, whether helping students financially or in their residency years, Mark is the kind of pharmacy professional whose name will still be known throughout the school and the university. “I hope my contribution is going to go a long way,” he says.

Published January 18, 2021