October 12, 2016
By Sydney DuPriest
JACKSON, Miss. – Daniel M. Riche and Phil Ayers were each honored with Mississippi Business Journal’s 2016 Health Care Heroes awards, which recognize contributions to health and well-being, on Sept. 29. Riche is an associate professor and Ayers is clinical associate professor in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacy Practice. They were chosen as two of 33 winners from around the state.
A patient of the University of Mississippi Medical Center Cardiometabolic Clinic, where Riche is coordinator, nominated him for the award. Riche does not know the patient’s identity.
“It’s nice to be noticed for what you do in health care, and especially since this is from the Mississippi Business Journal, which isn’t a pharmacy-only area,” Riche said. “It’s a very intriguing recognition. Awardees range from M.D.s to the insurance commissioner of Mississippi. This enables us get pharmacy’s name out there, outside of our discipline.”
Honey East, an endocrinology physician and a colleague of Riche’s, submitted a letter of recommendation in support of his nomination.
“Dr. Riche has always provided leadership in his representation of the profession of pharmacy,” East said. “He is highly respected by several health care disciplines from both patient management and education fields who rely upon his contributions in their daily clinical activities. To this day, when I need someone to discuss cases in my private endocrinology practice, I still call Dr. Riche for advice.”
In addition to this recognition, Riche became certified as a lipid specialist earlier this fall. He is one of only 53 pharmacists nationwide who are certified lipid specialists. The qualifications needed to take the certification test are stringent and extensive, yet Riche had qualified for some time before becoming certified.
“I practice in ambulatory care and cardiometabolics, and we refer to ourselves as experts in a field,” Riche said. “Yet in order to be an expert, you have to point to something that differentiates you, and one of those things is certification. Before I could actually say that I’m an expert, I wanted to be lipid specialist.”
Riche is also an associate professor of medicine at UMMC and research associate professor in both the National Center for Natural Products Research and the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Ayers is chief of clinical pharmacy services in the Mississippi Baptist Health System.