When an Internship Becomes More than an Internship

image001Emma Hegwood is one of six medical students from Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine participating in the Lilly Medical Student Intern Program this summer. As part of her internship, Emma is working with Lilly’s early-phase drug development unit.

The pursuit of medicine isn’t always a straight forward path and I’m no exception to this. My passion to become a physician is a more recent discovery. I grew up a Midwestern girl and spent the majority of my childhood in Dayton, OH. Both of my parents are engineers so it seemed like the logical next step after high school to attend Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN from which I graduated with my bachelors of science in Biomedical Engineering in 2007. Following this, I started as a Field Clinical Engineer for St. Jude Medical Inc. in New Jersey. This job put me closer to people (patients with implantable devices like pacemakers and defibrillators) instead of a typical desk role. As I worked closely with physicians, I realized my goal was also to serve patients in this way. I then embarked on a five- year journey to develop my skills and was happy to be accepted in 2013 as part of Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine’s inaugural class here in Indianapolis. I successfully completed my first year at Marian and was honored to receive an internship at Eli Lilly and Company this summer.

I’d like to share a little about my experiences here as part of Lilly’s first Medical Student Internship program. Lilly has piloted this program with Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine. As part of this initiative, Lilly selected me as one of the medical students to explore and increase my awareness of career opportunities and the pharmaceutical industry in general. I, like my peers, have each been assigned a project and preceptor within a division at Lilly. My summer has been spent with the CHORUS group at Lilly working on a project surrounding orphan drug development.

As an additional part of my experience, the program has facilitated community and organizational interactions with a variety of external entities. These have been so phenomenal because I’ve received supplemental education I would never have been exposed to otherwise! These interactions have included a visit to Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), Anthem (WellPoint) and Covance.

My first trip was to Covance where I had the ability to explore the world of Clinical Research Organizations (CRO). I explored how they partner with companies like Lilly and help to manage clinical trials. It helped me to discover the importance of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and the tremendous importance it has within the clinical trial process. Our second trip was to FSSA where I had the unique pleasure of meeting our state legislators and Indiana’s Medicaid director. I was so happy to engage in discussions about the process for health care reform and also learn more about the upcoming HIP 2.0 initiative within Medicaid. Finally, I finished with a trip downtown to Anthem (WellPoint). I can’t emphasize enough how amazing it was to get a first-hand understanding of how medicines are added to formularies and how Anthem works as a health partner.

Overall, I’ve had a great 10 weeks here at Lilly with such unique opportunities. This program has offered me such enrichment and has been a great catalyst for my personal education. I cannot emphasize how rare a gem this program is and I am so thankful to have participated!