Pharmacy Dean Visits 250 Practice Sites to Watch Alumni at Work

The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy's dean is no stranger to travel.

The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s dean is no stranger to travel.

When dean and professor David D. Allen, RPh, PhD, FASHP, FAPhA, first joined the school, he wanted to get in touch with alumni. So, he dedicated at least 1 day per month visiting pharmacies across the state. As of now, he has visited 100 towns in Mississippi.

“More than 250 practice sites later, I’m still going strong,” Dr. Allen told Pharmacy Times.

Several interactions with alumni stick out to Dr. Allen.

At Burnham Drugs in Moss Point, Mississippi, he met Wendy I. McKinney (BSPh ’86) and John A. McKinney (BSPh ’86), who told him about their experience working in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The pharmacists went so far as to fill prescriptions standing in the mud with a flashlight.

At Okolona Discount Drugs, Dr. Allen met Jerry Morgan (BSPh ’72), who shared the positive impact his mentor, John Dewey Ownigns (BSPh ’49), had on him, as well as the joys he had at the pharmacy school.

Dr. Allen also met Brandon Discount Drugs’ Waymon Tigrett, who had served on the search committee to find a dean for Ole Miss. They had also gotten to know each other through state board of pharmacy meetings.

“However, it was a fun experience to see him in his practice setting,” Dr. Allen said. “He has a great connection with all of his customers and has owned his store for more than 40 years.”

Dr. Allen has also traveled to nuclear pharmacies and a pharmacy that had been converted from an old train depot.

“It’s amazing to see what our pharmacists are doing in practice,” Dr. Allen said. “Adjusting to changing health care laws and regulations can be a challenge, but I’ve been blown away by innovative practices all over the state.”

The objective for the visits was to see various types of practice sites, including chain, hospital, long-term care, ambulatory care, and independent pharmacies.

Dr. Allen’s visits weren’t just to Ole Miss graduates, however. He noted that all practicing pharmacists in the state are important to the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy community.

His goal was to stay updated on what was happening in pharmacy practice, help alumni in any way that he could, and apply what he learned to better prepare student pharmacists.

The main takeaway from Dr. Allen’s travels is that pharmacists have developed strong bonds with patients. They know their patients’ names and take pride in their work.

“Taking time to visit someone in person can make such an impact. A lot of the pharmacists were very surprised that I stopped by for a visit,” Dr. Allen said. “A mentor of mine once told me that simply being nice to people and going out of the way to visit them where they work was his key to success. My experiences on the road in Mississippi have proven this to be true.”