A Passion to Help Patients Leads a Pharmacy School Graduate to a Big Job at a Top Pharmaceutical Company
Those who suffer from migraines can take comfort in the fact that Dr. Nino Barayev, along with a global medical team, works daily to help ease their pain. At just 29, Dr. Barayev is a medical senior manager on the Global Medical Migraine Team at Pfizer.
Women are three times more likely to get migraines than men, says Dr. Barayev, who is one of them, though she says her migraines are mild compared to most. “Due to the lack of awareness of the debilitating impact, people who suffer with migraines are highly misunderstood, which adds stress in the workplace as well as in personal lives,” says Dr. Barayev, who was born in the Republic of Georgia and came to the U.S. at 17. “I applied for this team because migraine is the second most disabling neurological disorder in the world and yet there is a huge unmet need.”
On the Global Medical Migraine team, she leads patient-centered initiatives that help bring patient voices from across the globe into the fold. “Their voices and experiences are incorporated into every aspect of what we do. They provide vital information that helps us help them.” she says.
In addition to her full-time work, during the pandemic lockdown, Dr. Barayev published a phone app called Same Page, designed for those dealing with various emotions, including isolation and loneliness. “In a world of hashtags, likes and followers, Same Page makes it easier to find likeminded people and allows people to build genuine friendships,” she says. The app guides people to a page where they can join conversations with others with similar experiences: “On Same Page, people can make real connections, share their feelings, emotions, stories, major life events and be connected with those who understand and can relate.”
It was Touro College of Pharmacy that helped Dr. Barayev develop her entrepreneurial leanings and her passion for helping people who suffer from mental or physical pain. A 2020 graduate, she credits the school not simply for what she considers to have been an excellent education, but for exposing students to the myriad opportunities open to pharmacists. “I learned about so many different paths; there are internships, rotations, residencies and fellowships that help students find their paths. That’s how you learn what your professional passion is,” she says.
She wasn’t shy about seeking out opportunities to learn about the vast field of pharmacy through volunteering, internships and the fellowship she landed after graduating. From working as a pharmacy tech at Mount Sinai Beth Israel—“I was so inspired by what they did and how much they cared about getting treatments right for the patients!”—to her third year in pharmacy school, when she completed a rotation at Pfizer, then a Rutgers Pharmaceutical Fellowship and ultimately, a dream job at Pfizer. “I had an awakening,” recalls Dr. Barayev, who lives with her husband and dog, Gobi, in New York City. “I wanted to work with these people. I wanted to be one of them. I love what they do. And now I do it, too.”