Justo embraces service, scholarship, teaching in impactful career
Julie Ann Justo always knew her professional career would involve working in the sciences.
“My mom is a nurse in Miami, and I used to follow her around as a child, learning all the various professions in the hospital. In college, I developed an interest in working with infectious diseases,” she recalls.
That interest has grown into an impactful career at the University of South Carolina on a national and statewide scale, heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Armed with her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Florida in 2009, Justo began her PGY1 residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago the following year, where her mentors encouraged her to pursue a fellowship. She followed their advice and completed a three-year infectious diseases pharmacotherapy fellowship at UIC College of Pharmacy. During that time, she also earned a master’s degree in clinical and translational science from the UIC School of Public Health.
Her interest in infectious diseases grew as she studied for her pharmacy degree, and during her fellowship, Justo realized she also has an affinity for teaching.
“I never pictured myself as a teacher or academician. I fully intended to do two years of residency and go into a clinical pharmacy specialty,” says Justo, who had the opportunity to give a didactic lecture to 160 first-year pharmacy students. “After that lecture, I had the feeling of walking on cloud nine. It was the same feeling that I get when I counsel a patient and they understand what I shared with them. I started to think I wanted more of that.”
It is fortunate that Justo’s last interview for a position was with the UofSC College of Pharmacy.
What made me want to come to the College of Pharmacy is the people. I’ve always appreciated the culture and the environment.
Julie Ann Justo, Pharm.D. Associate Professor
“I knew the college wanted a clinical academician. The moment I set foot here, I knew it aligned perfectly with my career goals,” she says.
Today, Justo balances a six-month clinical practice at Prisma Health Richland Hospital with six months of teaching at the College of Pharmacy. She has made her mark during the pandemic as the only pharmacist in the nation invited to serve on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Remdesivir Consultative Committee along with serving on the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control COVID-19 Clinical Advisory Council on remdesivir allocation in South Carolina.
She has provided educational videos and podcasts to other pharmacists through the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists and is a core member of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Collaborative of South Carolina.
“What made me want to come to the College of Pharmacy is the people,” Justo says. “I’ve always appreciated the culture and the environment. Our faculty consistently go out of their way to congratulate everyone on a personal or professional accomplishment, and I always know I can reach out to any faculty member for help or support. We are a family.”