School of Pharmacy News & Media Center

The University of Mississippi

Dean’s Message

Posted on: March 31st, 2020 by wltarpy

October 12, 2020

To the Ole Miss Pharmacy Phamily:

October is American Pharmacists Month, and it is so uplifting to see this public recognition. We continue to be grateful for the outstanding service and research that pharmacists deliver, and would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude. Thank you!

Nine student pharmacists in their white coats stand in a row, smilingThis year’s theme “Essential Providers. Accessible Care.” encapsulates pharmacists throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Pharmacists Association website states “…pharmacists and pharmacy personnel have stepped up to make sure the public is cared for, even at the risk of exposure.” Pharmacists have overcome the challenges presented and continue to make a positive impact in their communities and health care.

Pharmacists were ready with an immediate response to safely improve patients’ access to care. Businesses reworked their operations, counseled through telehealth and have now started distributing flu vaccines. Many pharmacists continue to provide vital services through natural disasters as well, including hurricanes in nearby regions and wildfires out west. A pharmacist’s job doesn’t stop.   

Here in the Magnolia State, we are also honored to celebrate October as Mississippian Pharmacists Month, as declared by Governor Tate Reeves on Sept. 30. I recommend you read the proclamation on the Mississippi Pharmacists Association Facebook page. It shows the scope of the important roles our stellar pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and student pharmacists play for the people of Mississippi.

I hope you take time to #ThankAPharmacist, whether it’s a colleague, mentor, educator or someone who counseled you on medications. We need to recognize the achievements and share the values pharmacists provide not just this month, but all year long.

Please reach out to myself or sopcentral@olemiss.edu if we can provide assistance.

Stay well, stay safe and stay positive!

David


September 25, 2020

To the Ole Miss Pharmacy Phamily:

In my last Dean’s Message, I mentioned the importance of being a positive impact and influence on others. When we asked for the support of our phamily to fund the traditional white coats for our students, the response was overwhelming. That came as no surprise to me, as your generosity has been a constant throughout my time with the university.

Two female students in white coats and masks holding a sign "Welcome to the Phamily"Our faculty, staff, alumni and friends have always been there for our school, but the way you’ve rallied around our first-year student pharmacists through the Ignite campaign is inspirational. They are experiencing an enhanced level pharmacy education, and your gifts have made a profound impact. Thank you for showing them what it means to be part of such an exceptional place. 

There is still time to be a part of this special project. Additional support will provide essential medical resources for our professional students, such as blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes and PPE. These will be necessary as we make our skills lab and face-to-face interactions safe for all. Visit the Ignite website if you would like to contribute.

I also want to express my sincere gratitude and congratulations to everyone involved in the school’s positive outcome from our reaccreditation process. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education granted us the full eight-year cycle! That is a reflection on the tremendous effort put forth in our site visit and self-study, as well as the high standard we set for ourselves throughout our curriculum and experiential experiences.

I always speak on how fortunate we are to have such amazing people at the School of Pharmacy. The campaign and accreditation are just two examples, but everyone’s positive impact and influence goes beyond the school. On this World Pharmacists Day (Sept. 25), I hope you know how appreciated your work, service and value is to our global community, especially during this time.

Please reach out to myself or sopcentral@olemiss.edu if we can provide assistance.

Stay well, stay safe and stay positive!

David


September 8, 2020

To the Ole Miss Pharmacy Phamily:

We continue to face challenging times throughout every facet of our society. As a result, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or discouraged, especially as a majority of our connections are made virtually.

David Allen speaking at a podiumI want to remind you that you are not alone emotionally. It’s important to reflect and refresh on not just your physical health, but mental health as well. We are all in this together, facing many of the same difficulties and working together to overcome these obstacles.

That’s why it’s important, as Kid Superintendent says in this video, to show others grace, not grief. Let’s continue to inspire, foster community and elevate each other. Let’s help each other be resilient.

A part of our school’s mission states “to improve health, wellbeing and quality of life” for those around us. That hasn’t changed, and will never change, just because we are apart, and it doesn’t reflect on just medicine. We can use the strength of our phamily to provide support and have a positive impact on others. Although we may be socially distanced, being united is how we move forward.

Please know that our school community is always here for you and resources are available if you need them. Reach out to myself or sopcentral@olemiss.edu with any questions or concerns.

Stay well, stay safe and stay positive!

David


August 19, 2020

To our Ole Miss Pharmacy Phamily:

Beginning a new school year is always an exciting time. However, this academic year may look different, as COVID-19 has changed the delivery of courses and events, but we are moving forward.

Computer screen with multiple boxes of individual photos or videos.We’ve welcomed our first and third-year students safely to Oxford and Jackson, respectively. They went through virtual orientations with our faculty and staff, and officially began classes on Monday. Our fourth-year students are undergoing rotations across the state and region.

On August 24, the university begins its academic year, and marks the day that all of our students are back in classes. A majority of our courses will be taught remotely, but for those that are in-person, I want to stress the importance of following the parameters to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Please make sure to wear a mask, keep your distance from others and wash your hands. I urge you to also follow the guidelines set forth in our buildings and other areas of our campuses, as we want to protect the learning, work and research environment for all. 

There is no denying these past few months have been tough, but with it came resilience. We will continue to empower pharmacy education and research. We will adapt to the situations given. We will promote this essential profession, as it is needed now more than ever.

As always, feel free to reach out to myself or sopcentral@olemiss.edu with any questions or concerns. Everyone at the School of Pharmacy has worked diligently for a safe return, and we are ready to have a #StellarSemester!

Stay well, stay safe and stay positive!

David


July 27, 2020

To the Ole Miss Pharmacy Phamily:

In less than a month from today, a new academic year begins on our campus, but it will certainly look very different as students will take part in a modified learning schedule.

Outside of lyceum with students walking. Logos of AACP and UMSOP on the top.Our administration, faculty and staff are working diligently to plan how to provide a safe environment for all those returning to Oxford and Jackson. Including the guidelines of wearing masks and social distancing, we will be implementing other protocols such as closing off social areas, limiting capacity in classrooms and labs and conducting routine frequent cleanings of facilities.

Most courses will be delivered remotely, but the pharmacy school will have face-to-face classes two days a week. Students will be learning in labs those days, but their arrivals will be staggered into smaller groups.

Its not unusual for our professional students to use a different academic calendar than the university, and that will be the case this fall. In Oxford, many students will return with the university schedule on August 24, but our P1 students will start on August 17. In Jackson, the P4 students are on rotations. The P3 students will officially start on August 17, as they begin their transition to the UMMC campus. 

As we have planned how to safely continue pharmacy education, we are also working on an agenda and new format for the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Institute. We officially announced in February this exciting partnership with AACP, and the committee is focused on bringing such crucial conversations to an online-only platform. 

We were ready to host this in Oxford, but with unknown safety of travel in January along with many schools implementing travel restrictions, this format will keep us moving forward. Hosting this event virtually will also allow for more speakers and possibly expand the participant criteria.

The EDI Institute remains scheduled for January 2021. The agenda is still being developed, but attendees will perform individual and institution baseline assessments before the first day. Participants will use the virtual platform to learn and establish school action plans with guidance from experts.

Like other organizations across our nation, the School of Pharmacy has planned strategically to adapt to these circumstances. I am proud of the hard work and thoughtfulness by our entire phamily to guide us through these challenging times.

Stay safe, stay well and stay positive!

David


July 13, 2020

To the Ole Miss Pharmacy Phamily:

COVID-19 not only changed the way we delivered our classroom experience, but clearly affected many of our spring events. One of those was our annual Alumni Weekend.

Larry Calvert

Larry Calvert

I always enjoy that special weekend, as everyone connects over food and fellowship back in Oxford. I was excited this year to award Larry Calvert as our Alumnus of the Year. Larry is an amazing honoree and has made tremendous contributions to the profession. Like many of our alumni, Larry continues to serve throughout this pandemic.

With large gatherings on hold for public health safety, we have made the decision to wait and recognize Larry at next year’s Alumni Weekend, along with our 2021 honoree. Although it is disappointing not to be able to celebrate Larry this spring, it comes with the silver lining that the 2021 event will be his 50th class reunion.

I never hesitate to acknowledge our stellar alumni, and their impact is still being felt as our nation faces the coronavirus. Several have earned notoriety in the media. Beau Cox spoke about the importance of pharmacists as frontline workers.

I mentioned in an earlier Dean’s Message about Erika Webster’s new degree and how she will help tackle health disparities. Melanie Bishop was featured in a profile and mentioned how COVID-19 has affected her role.

Many of our alumni have also taken time to speak with our admissions counselors and student pharmacists on our PharmChats series on YouTube. Ann Franklin, a pharmacy manager at Walgreens in Cleveland, Mississippi, joined most recently to talk about her roles in retail and as an ambassador for the profession.

These videos have been a great tool for aspiring pharmacists who are unable to shadow practitioners at this time or cannot visit us on campus. If you would be interested in joining our team for a chat, please reach out to Lindsey Cooper at lindsey@olemiss.edu. We want to feature the countless journeys and roles a pharmacist can take, and let your story inspire our future alumni.

As always, please know that I am here to listen to any questions or concerns. Feel free to email me or sopcentral@olemiss.edu.

Stay safe, stay well and stay positive!

David


June 25, 2020

To the Ole Miss Pharmacy Phamily:

Our school has started its transition to reinstitute faculty, staff and researchers to our campuses. While returning together as a phamily is important, the health and safety of each person remains our top priority.

Banners outside of TCRC buildingThanks to the intentional and diligent efforts from many on our team, we’ve distributed a detailed internal document that outlines the parameters and protocols for resuming in-person instruction and daily operations at the School of Pharmacy.

We continue to encourage telecommuting when possible, while return dates and schedules for many of our employees will be determined with their supervisors. Everyone will be asked to wear a mask in public settings, social distance, wash hands and sanitize shared equipment.

In addition, all employees will complete an online training module from the university that covers policies to reduce the spread of COVID-19, safe work practice and stress management among other subjects.

For our academic programs, the IHL affirmed the decision to return to traditional operations this fall semester, including as many face-to-face classes as possible. We will be offering a hybrid of in-person and remote courses, while our classroom spaces will have limited seating capacity. The start and end dates of classes for some of our professional students will vary from the university’s schedule, but that is the case in most years.

As we look forward to another academic year, we must remember to protect everyone by following the health and safety guidelines set forth at the national, state and local levels. It’s the job of each individual to do their part so that we can succeed together.

Stay safe, stay well and stay positive!

David


June 11, 2020

To the Ole Miss Pharmacy Phamily:

It’s not just today. It’s every day.

In the pharmacy profession, we are determined to have a meaningful impact on health disparities and racial injustices, topics which have been highlighted in recent events. The disparity in health outcomes has long been an issue that the medical community needs to address. The time is now.

Erika Webster stands beside a table dressed in her scrubs with a computer workstation behind her.

Ole Miss Pharmacy graduate Erika Webster received her master’s degree from the John D. Bower School of Population Health.

COVID-19 is just one of the most recent examples of the health disparities. Lakesha Butler of SIUE School of Pharmacy spoke on the Debriefing the Briefing podcast about the disproportionate exposure of the coronavirus among people of color. In Mississippi alone, almost 60 percent of cases are among African Americans.

As a pharmacy school, we must educate and work toward ways to address these issues. Ole Miss Pharmacy graduate Erika Webster is just one agent of change, receiving her master’s degree from the John D. Bower School of Population Health to help improve the quality of care in Mississippi. As health care providers, we must make commitments, like Erika, to improve the lives of others.

As I mentioned in a recent message, Ole Miss Pharmacy is committed to seeking change, and we aren’t alone. National pharmacy organizations are coming together to advocate against racism, discrimination and injustices.

Through our former “Delta Project,” which has now extended to other areas of the state, we’ve been working to impact these disparities in Mississippi. Clearly, there is much more to do to impact this. We can do more. We must.

Earlier this year, we announced the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Institute, which is scheduled for January 2021. Pharmacists and student pharmacists from schools across the country will come to Oxford to learn how we as pharmacists and health care practitioners can impact racial injustice as well as health disparities. This partnership with the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy has potential to have great impact. 

Thanks to our own Meagan Brown, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice, a few resources are listed below that can help educate and inform as we head in that direction.

As always, we are ready to listen, and if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me or sopcentral@olemiss.edu. As with the EDI Institute, we are also ready to act. It’s time.

Stay safe, stay well and stay positive!

David


May 18, 2020

To the Ole Miss Pharmacy Phamily:

Throughout our school and research centers, we are fortunate to have tremendous faculty, staff and scientists. These past weeks have been extremely challenging for many reasons, but what we have accomplished has been nothing short of inspiring.

Two male and one female faculty member sit and discuss an activity.With the semester now complete, I wanted everyone within the school to know how incredibly proud I am of their efforts. Everyone’s commitment to continuing to advance our mission and vision shows that we strive for excellence in everything we do.

I want to say thank you for your perseverance in these trying times. I’m also not the only one thankful for your dedication. Many of our graduates sent notes of gratitude to faculty, staff and preceptors who inspired them throughout their academic journey.

We continue to move forward, entering a planning phase for the fall with some degree of uncertainty. I am grateful to all involved in these efforts. Chancellor Boyce has indicated that plans for the fall semester will be determined by June 30, 2020. 

We are considering a spectrum of potential scenarios and approaches that may need to take place. We want to be ready for anything and to put forth the standard of excellence that we’re accustomed to at Ole Miss Pharmacy. Everything will depend on where public health stands, as we ensure the safety and well-being of everyone. That is our main priority.

Trying to navigate these unprecedented times from a professional and personal standpoint is not easy, but I want everyone to know that I appreciate their stellar contributions to our great school. We can face any challenge head on, and this team finds a way to produce amazing results. I’m proud to be a part of the Ole Miss Pharmacy Phamily.

Stay safe, well and positive!
David


May 1, 2020

To the Ole Miss Pharmacy Phamily:

As we prepare for our return (date to be determined) to the Ole Miss campus, we are working diligently to facilitate a smooth transition. Although many aspects have continued online, being together in the classroom, on fall Saturdays, throughout our research spaces and at our favorite local places is what the Ole Miss community is about.

Thad Cochran Research Center at the University of Mississippi School of PharmacyOur Executive Council is actively developing various courses of action, using different scenarios as guidelines consistent with university guidance. We don’t have all the answers yet, but we will do what is needed to ensure the safety of everyone on our campuses.

To date, fall 2020 plans are unchanged with classes starting as scheduled, though everything depends on the public health situation over the coming months. If any changes occur, you will be notified by university and School of Pharmacy leadership through your university-issued email accounts.

Before any final decisions are made, the most important factor to consider is the health of everyone. Please continue to follow all the guidelines and know what to do if you develop symptoms such as fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing, or have been in contact with a person known to have COVID-19.

  • Stay home and call your primary health care provider. At this time, your health care provider will determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19 based on Mississippi Department of Health guidelines. 
  • Faculty and staff in Oxford should contact Employee Health for additional evaluation and information. 
  • You can also contact Baptist Memorial Hospital’s 24-hour hotline for additional information at 866-941-4785.
  • For those in Jackson, call the UMMC employee/student hotline at 601-496-6284.

There are still many uncertainties in our path. However, with forward thinking and innovative, detailed planning, we will emerge “stronger together.”

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me or sopcentral@olemiss.edu. 

Stay well, and we will see you soon!
David


April 8, 2020

To the Ole Miss Pharmacy Phamily:

It is evident that this public health crisis has challenged the way we learn, work and live. While we continue to advise everyone to practice social distancing, wash their hands and follow the safer-at-home guidelines, please monitor your mental, physical and emotional health.

Cardboard boxes stacked on top of carts.

Items ready to be donated to Baptist Memorial Hospital.

We are fortunate to have resources available for students, faculty and staff on both campuses (see our COVID-19 Wellness Resources). Ole Miss has also recently published a news article about how to manage mental health during this time. 

We are proud of how our phamily is providing positive support. Thanks to the coordinating efforts of Courtney Roper, Assistant Professor of Environmental Toxicology, Ole Miss Pharmacy donated personal protective equipment to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford. Over 22,000 gloves, 600 masks and 600 pieces of protective clothing and eye masks were collected and donated to help keep our local health care workers safe.

Alumni at Keystone Pharmacy in Madison bottled hand sanitizer for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to distribute to first responders. Former resident Austin Crocker and current resident Joseph Nosser spoke about the importance of community pharmacy during this time.

There are MANY examples of our alumni and pharmacists across the state of Mississippi that are lending a hand in this crisis. We are proud of each and every one of them! 

We would like to recognize additional collaborative efforts from the pharmacy community. If you have more positive stories to share, please provide this information at the following link: https://forms.gle/L68etdYKwQ8CUW8F6. 

As always, I welcome any questions sent to me or to sopcentral@olemiss.edu as we navigate these challenges together.

Stay well!
David


March 31, 2020

To the Ole Miss Pharmacy Phamily:

David Allen at Patch CeremonyWe are hitting our stride. 

Despite these difficult circumstances, the School of Pharmacy is doing very well through our virtual work and learning platforms.

We are fortunate to have amazing people working at our school. The School of Pharmacy administration, faculty, research scientists and staff, as well as our preceptors, are moving forward at a very high level.

Administrative meetings at the school level have moved from three days a week to two, while the university deans’ meetings that were every day are now twice a week.

Plus, our students continue to be stellar! The way they are learning may have changed, but I’m proud of their commitment to academic excellence.

While we’re ready to return to what we know and reunite with those we care about, I can’t say enough positive things with how the school has adjusted. We will continue to deal with things in real time and respond to the challenges.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me or sopcentral@olemiss.edu. 

Stay well!
David


March 25, 2020

Dean David D. Allen

To the Ole Miss Pharmacy Phamily:  

We are committed to serving our students, faculty, research scientists, staff, preceptors, alumni and all stakeholders as we rapidly respond to the changing situation surrounding coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Every effort is being made to deploy all tools and resources to ensure minimal disruption to the teaching, research and service missions of the School of Pharmacy. 

We are in constant contact with university leadership and are working daily with central administration on the continuous transition to our new virtual learning and working environment. We are currently operating under Mission Critical Status, moving as much work as possible to telecommuting and establishing social distance guidelines for the essential faculty, staff and researchers who need to be on campus.

We have moved all our classes online for the rest of the semester. Just as hard as they worked to make a new curriculum a few years ago, our faculty did a great job to transition it to the digital space. Our students have adapted and shown flexibility as we all navigate this uncertain time.

We seamlessly moved our Preceptor Conference online as well, with more than 250 participants joining the Zoom meeting. Though we were able to move that to a virtual platform, we had to make the tough decision to postpone or cancel many of our events, including the school’s annual Patch Ceremony, Alumni Weekend and Commencement ceremonies.

I know not everyone can work from home, and that many of our stakeholders are practitioners serving on the front lines of health care. We can’t thank you enough for your hard work during this public health crisis. It doesn’t go unnoticed, as you play a critical role in keeping our communities safe and healthy.

Please continue following the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect you and your loved ones. I also encourage you to visit olemiss.edu/coronavirus as it provides messages and resources from the university.

Please know that things are evolving rapidly. We will strive to give you the most updated information possible and in a timely manner. As we navigate this fluid climate, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions to me or sopcentral@olemiss.edu.

Stay well! 
Dean David D. Allen


Links to University Resources

University of Mississippi COVID-19 Homepage: coronavirus.olemiss.edu

Resources for Student Learning: olemiss.edu/keeplearning/

Resource for Faculty: elearning.olemiss.edu/faculty/academic-continuity/

How you can help with Rebel Relief: ignite.olemiss.edu/project/20389