Berklee Hammond


Intermountain Healthcare announces groundbreaking policy that removes pharmaceutical representatives and medication samples from Utah practices and hospitals


I developed my story idea from a close family member who has been affected by Intermountain Healthcare prohibiting samples and representatives. This story intrigued me because these changes could affect this family member’s livelihood. Every year since these changes, people in the pharmaceutical industry have been getting laid off because of Intermountain’s new policies. 

I located my sources by networking with contacts in the pharmaceutical industry. They then referred me to Intermountain Healthcare’s specific contacts. I reviewed websites, as well as documents that were distributed to the pharmaceutical industry.

My sources were knowledgeable and affected by the changes. They all had firsthand knowledge of the timeline and reasons for the new policies. The Intermountain Healthcare contacts were involved in creating the policies and materials that were distributed to representatives during the time of the announcement.

Researching and gathering information for this story was more difficult than I anticipated. Many sources were careful with their words and opinions regarding their feelings about the new policy. Several declined to comment because they were afraid they might receive backlash from their individual company as well as Intermountain. I was able to work around this because they referred me to an official statement about the changes from Intermountain Healthcare.

The document released by Intermountain Healthcare called “Removal of Pharmaceutical Representatives and Medication Samples from Intermountain Clinics” helped me decide my focus. There were so many angles that I could take with the overall topic with the changes in the last 10 years regarding Big Pharma guidelines. There were changes happening around the time of my story and that is how I decided my focus. I wanted my story to be news-worthy and time relevant. 

The writing process was overwhelming at first. I made an outline and thought through my process and this helped it become manageable. I thought I would be more intimidated to speak to my sources, but I developed my questions and the interviews came naturally. I felt like I asked insightful questions.

It surprised me learning about the amount of work that the doctors are going to have to put in because of this policy change. I know how much training my family member had to go through so they were able to educate physicians on certain drugs. Intermountain is the largest healthcare provider in the state and this change is going to affect a lot of people.


A goal should scare you a little, and excite you a lot. — Joe Vitale

I have set many goals in life, some are scary and all are exciting. However, obtaining my degree in Communication and a career in marketing and public relations is on the top of my list.

I am a junior at the University of Utah working toward my degree in Strategic Communication. I have been adding important and useful skills and knowledge to my arsenal in preparation for “real life” upon graduation.

I have enjoyed my time at the U as a student and collegiate cheerleader. I love traveling and visiting different stadiums during football season. My experience has also been growing through knowledge gained in various internship opportunities.

When I’m not on campus I enjoy spending time with my dog Stormie, going to the gym, reading, traveling and anything outdoors.