Dao Le, Class of 1998, credits her Westminster education in helping her reach her goals. After completing her Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, she is now impacting lives and medicine as the Director of Nuclear Medicine, Radiopharmacy at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
We asked Dao a few questions about her studies, her work, and the impact Westminster has had on her life personally and professionally. Here’s her profile and what she had to say about her life and career:
Name: Dao Le
Class Year: 1998
Graduate Degrees and Institutions: Doctor of Pharmacy, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Job Title: Director, Nuclear Medicine, Radiopharmacy at MD Anderson Cancer Center
Describe your current work.
AT MD Anderson Cancer Center, my initiative is to plan, direct, and implement multi-departmental programs for the use of investigational radiopharmaceuticals for the Division of Diagnostic Imaging at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
My main priority is to ensure that the Department and the Institution remain in compliance when working with investigational radiopharmaceuticals. My role is to act as a Departmental liaison to the following: Investigational Research Board (IRB), the Investigational New Drug (IND) Office, Radiation Safety Committee (RSC), and Institutional Compliance. In addition, I am tasked with reviewing and directing clinical and research policies, procedures, practices and programs to identify opportunities to improve safety and compliance adherence with the practice of Nuclear Medicine.
During my tenure with the University of Arkansas for Medical Science (UAMS) as an Assistant Professor, I coordinated and taught the following courses: Introduction to Nuclear Pharmacy, Radiopharmacy and Radiation Biology. In addition, I also held the position as Director of Curriculum Expansion for the Nuclear Education Online (NEO) program and developed radiation education programs for healthcare professionals.
What role did Westminster play in leading you to your current position/studies?
My education at Westminster College provided me with a well-rounded knowledge base. My major was in biology but I also took upper level classes in literature, language and business. Westminster created a great learning environment where students were encouraged to learn, be creative and accept new ideas. The education that I received at Westminster set a solid foundation for which I was able to build on as I moved forward in both my academic and professional career.
Which of your achievements are you most proud of? What do you consider your greatest success?
As a pharmacy student at UAMS, I was really unsure about the area of pharmacy practice I wanted to be in when I graduated; retail, clinical, research etc. I took a nuclear pharmacy course my first year and decided that I had found my niche in pharmacy. The professor who taught the course soon became my mentor and she guided me through the next three years of pharmacy school. After graduation, she continued to mentor me as a nuclear pharmacist and encouraged me to take the Nuclear Board of Pharmacy Specialty (BPS) exam. I was extremely proud when she asked me to come back to UAMS and be a part of the Nuclear Pharmacy Program, which is among the nation’s elite. It was an honor to work with all of my professors and to be considered as a colleague.
How did your Westminster education inspire your achievements?
The Westminster environment promoted hard work, self-initiative, accountability, personal growth among many other things. This solid foundation was what helped me to be where I am today.
What successes and achievements do you envision in your future? What are your goals?
If you asked me when I graduated from Westminster, where I thought I would be in 14 years, I would have never imagined the path that I have taken. I hope that I will continue to grow in my profession and be given challenging development opportunities throughout my career. When I retire, I hope to have gain respect amongst my peers.
What advice can you offer current Westminster students?
Hard work goes a very long way! I always tell my students, if you work hard, eventually someone will notice. There were many all-nighters at Coulter Science Center, studying for an Organic Chemistry or Physics exam. Or, long days in the microbiology lab trying to figure out my assigned unknown microorganisms. Also, besides being the most capable or most knowledgeable, having integrity will sustain you as a person; be accountable for your actions.