Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Pharmacist Professional Advisory Committee

COSTEP Experience - ICE

Click on one of the names below to see comments from one of the past COSTEPS at ICE.

Summer 2023

LT Jordan Burkdoll, Buffalo Federal Detention Facility, Batavia, NY

University: University of Colorado School of Pharmacy
Active Duty Date: Summer 2023
Duty Station: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Health Service Corps (IHSC) at Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, NY

Upon finishing my SRCOSTEP intern year and graduating, I packed my bags and headed east for Buffalo, NY to begin my new position as ENS Burkdoll, PharmD. I would be transitioning from student to healthcare professional in one of the most unique healthcare environments in the country.

I currently serve as the Staff Pharmacist at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, NY, located 40 miles east of downtown Buffalo. Here, I work beside my lead pharmacist and technician to provide safe, appropriate, and timely medications for patients at our facility which can hold up to 650 people. Our patients are non-citizens who are detained in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility, and I work closely with prescribers, nurses, mental health specialists, and the administrative team every day to deliver patient care. My main duties include checking prescriptions from our providers for safety and appropriateness, discussing patient cases with prescribers, verifying filled medications, and counseling non-citizens on their medications. Our clinic is set up as an ambulatory care setting, which allows the added benefit of easily contacting the providers if questions arise and working closely with them to recommend treatment options for patients.

One exciting aspect of this unique setting is constantly observing pharmacy practice in a new way. Since our patients are detained, one must often problem solve in order to safely provide medications. Is the ointment packaged in an approved material or should it be transferred to a different container? Is there risk for diversion with this medication or should it be placed on directly observed therapy for monitoring? Working closely with the clinic staff to discuss and solve similar issues is interesting, and each day brings a new opportunity to contribute my pharmacy knowledge to unique situations. Additionally, this is an environment where the medical providers truly value the pharmacist’s input in a patient’s care, which is exciting. Working hands-on in this challenging environment has helped me grow professionally as I have developed useful skills such as, efficient decision-making, timely researching, and appropriate communication techniques with my patients and providers. I am thankful for the constant opportunity to stretch my pharmacy muscles to serve those who are underserved or vulnerable. Being a Public Health Service officer is a unique, immersive, and truly exciting career path that I believe every student should consider and is an incredible means to making a true difference in public health. 

Page Last Modified on 8/31/2023

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