A day in the life of a Medical Science Liaison: Collaborating with physicians to advance patient care

Posted on April 11, 2024

An interview with Amy Monpara and Rahul Kalathiya, Senior Medical Science Liaisons

Across our organization, teams work together in pursuit of a common goal to improve and extend patients’ lives. It takes all members of the Blue Crew – ranging from our research and development function to our commercial teams and beyond – to enable the design, development and delivery of new medicines with the potential to benefit patients globally.

One Blueprint Medicines team that brings this vision to life is our medical affairs team  – a non-promotional, scientifically-focused team that educates about our therapeutic areas and research – which includes our group of Medical Science Liaisons. Two U.S. Senior Medical Science Liaisons, Amy Monpara and Rahul Kalathiya, sat down with us to describe their role and how they support our efforts to change the lives of patients living with systemic mastocytosis (SM).

What led you to your current role as a Medical Science Liaison (MSL) at Blueprint?

  • Rahul: “On the U.S. MSL team, all of us come from different backgrounds and have different therapeutic expertise. I went to pharmacy school in Kentucky, and it wasn’t until the end of my schooling when I learned what an MSL is. The more I learned about it – the relationship building, the education aspect, the research component – the more I became interested in it. But at that point in my education, it was too late to apply to MSL programs, so I applied to residency programs. While I really enjoyed my clinical practice and my time in the hospital, the role of the MSL was too enticing, so I applied to and received an MSL fellowship.”
  • Amy: “I’m one of the pharmacists on our team, and I started my career right out of pharmacy school with a Pharm.D. fellowship in global medical affairs. The majority of my career has been focused on supporting programs in various rare diseases, both through an in-house scientific communications role and as an MSL in the field. Having a background supporting rare diseases, I’ve enjoyed the unique challenges that come with each one, and that’s what led me to Blueprint. The more I learned about Blueprint’s systemic mastocytosis program and the company culture, I was drawn to join the Blue Crew.”

How does your work help advance the medical community’s understanding of SM, a rare and often less understood mast cell disorder?

  • Rahul: “We hope to support a collaborative environment within an institution for the hematologist, allergist and gastroenterologist, as well as the dermatologist, to provide the best care for their patients with SM. For example, we know that patients with SM routinely have GI issues. We are there to help raise disease state awareness about the importance of high sensitivity KIT D816V testing [which can be part of an SM diagnostic workup] to the GI community. Also, a majority of patients with indolent SM have skin symptoms and may visit a dermatologist.  

    One takeaway is that we’re always learning. We’re always building our knowledge base to be a resource, both externally and internally. When we educate on the disease state or the clinical data, physicians may be turning around and talking to their patients about the data when deciding whether a therapy is right for them or not. What we’re doing is providing them with the latest information to help them make better decisions for their patients.”

  • Amy: “I think of how things have evolved and the level of awareness and interest in SM among healthcare providers. Now with all the combined efforts of not only the MSL team, but the cross-functional field teams as well as teams across the organization, I noticed a huge difference in the level of interest and awareness of SM. And I think this is great for patient care in general. I’ve really seen that evolution in the field about caring for SM. In the end, this improves patient care and reminds me why we do all the things we do.”

What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your job and your unique ability to engage with healthcare providers (HCPs)?

  • Rahul: “The most exciting part for me is that I still feel close to patient care, not only through interactions with HCPs, but I am also physically proximate to patient care because we go to the hospital to meet with HCPs all the time. What we do at Blueprint, there is a patient at the center of it and we are really making a difference. I think that providers didn’t know about SM at first, but we slowly and surely got to the point where they started learning more about it. They became interested in it. They started seeing more patients with it.”
  • Amy: “As an MSL, you’re truly building trust with providers so they know you’re a resource they can go to when related questions come up. Being an MSL is more about the long game. Sometimes when you walk out of a meeting, it may feel like there’s no immediate outcome. But with time and some persistence, the impact of your engagements can really come to fruition, and you can make a true patient impact at the end.”

        Rahul Kalathiya                        Amy Monpara

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