September 7, 2018
Wilma Wilbanks, UM School of Pharmacy BSPH class of 1981, is a pharmacist with Walgreens in Cleveland, Mississippi. She was recently installed as president of Delta Gamma Fraternity’s 2018-2020 Council. The School of Pharmacy spoke with her about her history with pharmacy and the University of Mississippi.
School of Pharmacy: Can you talk about the pharmacy where you work and its role in your community?
Wilma Wilbanks: I practice pharmacy at Walgreens in Cleveland, Mississippi, with an incredible team of pharmacy professionals. There is an amazing synergy among the pharmacists, and we are all more effective and knowledgeable thanks to our camaraderie and commitment to our patients and extraordinary customer care. Our pharmacy team is very active in community service and committed to improving the quality of life for all in our service area. It is an absolute privilege to work with such a diligent, caring and motivated team of professionals.
SOP: What drew you to pharmacy and what keeps you there?
WW: I grew up in a pharmacy! My father, grandfather, aunt and many, many great-uncles and cousins were pharmacists. As a child, I observed my father and grandfather serving their patients with true commitment and concern, and I aspired to make the same difference in people’s lives that they did. I was surrounded by positive role models when I was very young, and most of them were either pharmacists or other family members who also worked in the pharmacy.
The deep satisfaction that I derive from practicing pharmacy is what keeps me involved as a community pharmacist. There is never a single day when I leave work that I have to wonder if I have made a difference in someone’s life. It is the ability to educate, communicate and guide patients in their care, whether prescriber-initiated or self-care using over-the-counter medications, that makes pharmacy so deeply satisfying for me. I often say that the industry shifted the emphasis toward patient self-care almost twenty years ago, but neglected to provide the patients with a guidebook. That is one of the countless ways in which pharmacists are invaluable to our patients, and why education in over-the-counter medications remains a vital need in the curriculum for pharmacy students.
SOP: What drew you to be interested in a leadership role with Delta Gamma?
WW: I have remained involved in volunteering for Delta Gamma ever since my graduation from the University of Mississippi. During my time at Ole Miss, Delta Gamma enriched my collegiate experience beyond measure, and the values, sisterhood and service from which I benefited during my time in Oxford compelled me to continue to pursue them as an alumna. Serving Delta Gamma Fraternity and the Delta Gamma Foundation has afforded me the pleasure of enjoying friendships and sisterhood with phenomenal women from all over North America.
Originally, I intended to serve Delta Gamma to repay my sisters for the extraordinary impact that the fraternity had had on my life while I was in college, but the more involved I became as a Delta Gamma volunteer, the greater the abundance of fellowship and joy that I continued to receive. While I still remain very close to my sisters with whom I was in the chapter here at Ole Miss, I now also share meaningful and lifelong friendships with Delta Gammas everywhere.