Cecilia Speck, PharmD '24


Next step: Post-doctoral Fellowship at Novartis, Rutgers University.

When she was a student in the Raabe College of Pharmacy, Cecilia “Cece” Speck, set out to find the answer to the question: "Are Ohio pharmacists ready for the public health challenges of climate change?" 

She minored in public health and chemistry and gained experience as a researcher, medical writer, and presenter to prepare for a career at the intersection of pharmacy and public health.

Her experience included important research into Ohio pharmacists’ perceptions on climate change and its impact on patient care in the future. She collaborated on this project with ONU professors Natalie DiPietro Mager, PharmD, Ph.D., professor of pharmacy practice, and Jay Mager, Ph.D., professor of biological sciences

“We discovered that most pharmacists think of climate change as having a global impact, but not a local impact,” said Cece. “We found an opportunity to provide education to help pharmacists prepare for what may be coming down the road.”

Photo of Cece and others

Cece noted, for example, that pharmacists could benefit from continuing education on vector-borne diseases, such as West Nile Virus, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which scientists predict will increase due to climate change. Additional education opportunities include the impact of higher temperatures and wildfires on asthma and heart condition patients; and preparedness during weather-related emergencies such as floods and storms.

The American Public Health Association (APHA) invited Cece to present her research findings at the organization’s Annual Meeting and Expo in Atlanta, Ga., in November 2023. Additionally, Cece co-authored a paper with her professors published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association in April 2023

“At ONU, the professors truly care about students,” said Cece. “If I had went to a larger school, I would not have been given the amazing opportunities that I was given here.”

In addition to research, Cece was involved in several student organizations. She helped ONU recharter Phi Delta Chi, and she assumed a regional officer position with this professional pharmacy fraternity.

“In this role, I met pharmacy professionals from many different states,” she said. “I made a bunch of friends, and that was a great experience.”

Through her educational journey, Cece discovered a passion for medical writing and for communicating with audiences about new and interesting topics. “I’m will take all the skills that I’ve gained from my research and apply it to my future career,” she said.