Welcome to the DocScopy session by MedBound Times (MBT). We have with us Dr. Jefry Winner who is currently pursuing MD in Pharmacology from JIPMER, Pondicherry.
Dr. Jefry Winner, an aspiring physician specializing in Pharmacology, shares insights into his unique professional journey, research experiences, clinical trial, and perspectives on various aspects of the medical field. In his pursuit of excellence, he emphasizes the importance of continuous learning as he debunks common misconceptions about the field.
Let us have a look at what Dr. Jefry has to say in the Pharmacology-themed DocScopy session.
MBT: Hello, Dr. Jefry Winner. Welcome to MedBound Times. We kindly request you to provide our readers with a brief introduction to your background.
Dr. Jefry Winner: Currently, I am pursuing an MD in Pharmacology from Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), a renowned national institute situated in Pondicherry. It holds the status of being an institute of national importance. My entry into this field was unplanned, as I did not have any predetermined plan or passion guiding me. During my childhood, I was deeply interested in both sports and academics and while I excelled in both, my inclination leaned more toward sports. However, at the age of 15, I was diagnosed with epilepsy, which forced me to redirect my focus towards academics. Consequently, I dedicated myself to my studies and earned a medical seat.
In 2014, I enrolled in MBBS at Vinayaka Missions Medical College in Karaikal, Tamil Nadu, completing the program in 2020, just a day before the COVID-19 lockdown. Subsequently, in 2021, I joined JIPMER as a postgraduate student in the pharmacology department. Currently, I am actively pursuing my MD, aiming to deepen my expertise in this field. That provides a concise overview of my professional journey.
MBT: What motivated you to transition from the clinical sector to the non-clinical sector in your career?
Dr. Jefry Winner: Yeah, indeed, there is a prevalent misconception that direct patient contact is the sole means of contributing to patient welfare in the clinical sector. However, I firmly believe that one can make a significant impact on a larger scale by venturing beyond direct patient care. My profound research interest has fuelled my desire to explore avenues beyond one-on-one patient interaction. In our current scenario, clinicians often find it challenging to allocate time for pursuits outside of the clinical setting. Hence, to maintain a balanced lifestyle and pursue my research interests I chose this nonclinical field over the clinical field.
MBT: What skills do you consider essential for entering the field of MBBS, and is it necessary to have a genuine interest in the subject? Furthermore, what advice would you offer to individuals aspiring to pursue an MBBS degree?
Dr. Jefry Winner: When I joined MBBS, the scenario was different than what it is now. One common misconception that most people have is that they often mistakenly assume that entering the field of MBBS guarantees instant stability. But that is not how it works. We have to work every single day and should be thorough with subjects. One should read every day, and learn every day, and must never assume that one has achieved complete expertise in medicine. That is the most important thing. So, if one is interested in learning and working hard for a lifetime, one can think of joining MBBS.
MBT: What is your opinion on the talks related to the replacement of NEET PG with NeXT starting from 2024, which will be attended by both Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) and graduates of MBBS in India? There are differing opinions on this matter, with some individuals opposing the change while others view it as a positive decision?
Dr. Jefry Winner: So basically, when I joined the MBBS, we did not have any entrance exams. our selection process was based on the marks that we scored in our +2. Many other states had their entrances, but in our state, there was no entrance. So that's how I got admission and NEET came only around two to three years back in our form.
From my perspective, although I am new to the NEET system, I have not encountered any individuals within the medical education system who are substandard or require a significant overhaul, as some may argue. From what I have observed, the graduates are competent and meet the expected standards. Therefore, I believe that the current medical education system we adhere to is of high quality and satisfactory. Additionally, considering the presence of entrance exams such as NEET, I do not perceive a need for an exit exam.
As I said, it completely depends on one’s practical knowledge rather than theoretical knowledge. Many individuals have good theoretical knowledge and lack practical skills. To crack these entrance exams, one should work on their practical skills more. So, in my point of view, NEET PG is enough to assess an individual’s knowledge.
MBT: You have worked as a peer reviewer in the Journal of Pharmacovigilance and Drug Research, can you provide insights into the role of a peer reviewer?
Dr. Jefry Winner: The Journal of Pharmacovigilance and Drug Research implements a peer review process. As peer reviewers, we receive articles for review and provide scientific feedback to the Editors. If we identify any areas that require attention, we communicate our comments to the Authors, who then make the necessary corrections. Once we receive the corrected version, we review it again and offer further comments if needed. If we determine that the final revisions are satisfactory, we inform the editor to proceed with the publication. The articles for review are accompanied by specific deadlines to ensure timely evaluation.
MBT: Could you please share your experience thus far as a junior resident at JIPMER? Additionally, it would be insightful to understand how your typical day unfolds in your role as a junior resident.
Dr. Jefry Winner: Working here provides me with continuous learning opportunities daily. The nature of our work is primarily focused on research, which is an area I didn't explore extensively during my undergraduate studies. Research opportunities can be limited, so it is crucial to carefully choose an institute that offers a well-equipped laboratory setup, excellent infrastructure, and substantial funding support to maximize the potential for impactful research.
Unlike other PG departments, we do not have emergencies and we do not have random working hours. Our timings are usually from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. In JIPMER we do not have 24-hour duties. So that is less tiring. We get to participate in clinical trials and some diagnostic services here.
MBT: You have mentioned clinical trials. What is the kind of clinical trials that happen? Can you please shed some light on that?
Dr. Jefry Winner: Usually, under academic institutions, the trials they undergo are PHASE-2 AND PHASE-3. PHASE-1 needs a special setup that is not found in academic institutions. Pharmaceutical companies or Clinical Research Organisations (CROs) have some Exclusive setups for PHASE-1 Clinical Trials. To give a piece of brief information on phases of Clinical Trials, PHASE-0 is recently introduced and is of less importance. It is done rarely.
After that, there is a pre-clinical phase and PHASE-1, where we usually start with a Single Ascending dose and Multiple Ascending doses in healthy volunteers. The major aim of this phase is to confirm the safety of the product. In PHASE-2 Studies, we explore the Efficacy of the drug. PHASE-3 trials are done to gain Regulatory Approval to bring the drug product into the market. PHASE-4 is an Observational study after the drug gets released into the market.
MBT: What is the selection process of subjects in PHASE-2 and PHASE-3 Clinical Trials in India? Who selects the volunteers for clinical trials?
Dr. Jefry Winner: We do not have a general criterion for selection. It depends upon the product we study and also depends upon the type of study. In PHASE-2 and PHASE-3 Studies, healthy volunteers are not selected instead the volunteers who have a controlled disease condition are selected. Regulatory authorities have their panel of Subject Matter Experts, who select the volunteers for participation in Clinical Trials.
MBT: What are the career prospects after completion of MD Pharmacology?
There are some really good career prospects after completion of MD Pharmacology. In some multi-specialty hospitals, where one can join as a Clinical Pharmacologist after completion of MD pharmacology. Another one career prospect is to enter as a Professor in Medical Institutions and other para-medical institutions. The other best career prospect is to enter into Pharmaceutical MNCs and CROs where you can work in the field of Pharmacovigilance and clinical research.
MBT: Lastly, how do you manage your stress levels and keep up with your mental health?
Dr. Jefry Winner: I don’t read overnight or one day before exams. I am used to studying every day and that helps me to not get stressed about my subject and exams.
With this, we reach the end of yet another exciting DocScopy session which taught us some important lessons about learning and being prepared for challenges beforehand. Dr. Jefry's journey exemplifies the importance of dedication, continuous learning, and effective stress management in achieving professional growth and maintaining overall well-being in the medical field.