Longtime Pharmacy Educator Honored with Prestigious Award


It’s been more than 6 decades since Professor R. Keith Campbell, from Washington State University, was diagnosed with diabetes.

The Pharmacy Times staff is saddened to learn of the passing of R. Keith Campbell, who passed away on November 11, 2017. We are honored to have had the privilege of interviewing him and highlighting his contributions to the pharmacy profession. He will be greatly missed.

It’s been more than 6 decades since Professor R. Keith Campbell, from Washington State University, was diagnosed with diabetes.

It was that diagnosis that prompted him to become a pharmacy leader in diabetes care. He got involved in local diabetes organizations, became the founding member of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), and has received the Distinguished Service Award from both the national AADE as well as the Washington State Association.

“Diabetes is an excellent disease for the pharmacist to get involved and impact patient care,” Campbell told Pharmacy Times in a recent interview.

This past October, Professor Campbell was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, which will now bear his name going forward as the R. Keith Campbell Lifetime Achievement Award. The award, which is the most prestigious honor bestowed on an individual from the Washington State University (WSU) College of Pharmacy, recognizes a track record of excellence in pharmacy, patient care particularly as it relates to diabetes care, advocacy research, service, and mentoring or teaching.

A longtime faculty member at WSU, Professor Campbell has taken on a wide array of roles within the pharmacy profession that extend far beyond the classroom, including consultant, researcher, mentor, innovator, and more.

The award is a way to immortalize Professor Campbell’s contributions, which have spanned from his work in diabetes care and research to pioneering the clinical pharmacy program at the WSU College of Pharmacy. He was also the founding member of the AADE and became an innovator in his field, developing an ambulatory home infusion pump.

Professor Campbell began his journey in the pharmacy profession in 1964 at a clinic pharmacy, where he implemented a first-of-its-kind program that included counseling time with patients for each new prescription.

Campbell has always been an advocate for the advancement of the pharmacy profession and a proponent of pharmacists gaining provider status; he was involved in the first study that paid pharmacists for “not dispensing” a prescription, but for managing medication therapy.

“I have spent my career trying to get pharmacists to do more than count and pour,” Campbell told Pharmacy Times in an interview. He said going above and beyond the “count and pour” mentality is particularly important as it relates to patients with diabetes. Regarding these patients, Campbell noted that pharmacists can play an important role in:

  • Identifying individuals at high risk of having diabetes;
  • Educating patients with diabetes about how to manage the condition and use diabetes care products properly;
  • Monitoring medication and blood glucose results and helping the patient know what to do with the information;
  • Helping organize local events to educate patients, and
  • Developing ways to become active in the diabetes community of health care providers.

“Pharmacists have a unique and thorough education in disease state and medication therapy management,” Dr. Campbell noted. “Other providers just do not have that perspective.”

Campbell developed the clinical pharmacy program for the WSU College of Pharmacy, which was the beginning of what is now WSU Spokane. He developed rotations in all hospitals in Spokane, and later did the same for 6 hospitals in Seattle. During his time with the College, he also developed Continuing Education programs for pharmacists, taught therapeutic courses, and later became the Associate Dean for the College.

While Campbell’s list of contributions is impressive, his perspective of the pharmacy profession was especially notable. “I am proud to be a pharmacist,” he told Pharmacy Times. “It is a noble profession with so many divergent pathways to help people and improve medical outcomes of care.”

When asked what advice he would give to other pharmacists seeking to make an impact, he said, “Be a good listener. Be empathetic. Motivate and educate patients…the opportunities are out there. Find them and make patient care happen.”

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