Department of Pharmacy Administration
The University of Mississippi

Cameron smiling

UM Pharmacy Student Earns National Scholarship

Third-year student awarded community pharmacy scholarship

OXFORD, Miss. — Cameron Buss, a third-year student in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy from Dyersburg, Tenn., has been awarded a Community Pharmacy Scholarship from Pharmacists Mutual.

Buss was one of 20 students across the country who received $3,000 scholarships, which are awarded to those pursuing careers in small-chain or independent pharmacies or for serving underserved populations. He plans to practice in Dyersburg, hopefully alongside his father, Tom, at the independent local pharmacy where he serves the community.

Kristen Pate, a clinical associate professor of pharmacy who taught Buss in several classes, supported his scholarship application.

“Cameron is highly deserving of a scholarship dedicated to aspiring independent pharmacists because of his commitment to practicing pharmacy in an independent setting. He has a clear career goal of owning and managing a family-owned independent pharmacy,” said Pate.

“I saw the impact my parents made in our community and I want to be a part of that,” said Buss. “I often went to my mom’s pharmacy after school where I witnessed how knowledgeable she was in various medications and diseases.”

His mother, Donna, is a pharmacist at West Tennessee Healthcare — Dyersburg Hospital. His parents influenced his decision to become a pharmacist in his hometown.

“For years, I have watched my parents receive phone calls or house visits almost daily from family and friends regarding questions on how to heal sickness,” Buss said.

“I was inspired by their ability to help so many people and I hope to make tremendous impacts in the lives of my patients.”

Buss is also pursuing an MBA to better manage the business aspects of a small company. He has a vision for evolving a pharmacy from a prescription dispensary to a well-rounded health partner.

“The goal is to transform the pharmacy from a place to get prescriptions to more of a full-serve health partner,” he said.

Buss said pharmacists could add to the vital role they already play to support their communities and increase convenience for patients more fully.

“I would love to see pharmacists expand their roles to include services such as point-of-care testing — COVID-19, strep, flu — more wellness screenings like blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol; and ambulatory care services.”

“Cameron exemplifies the desire to serve as an independent pharmacist through exceptional dedication to patient care, active engagement in professional organizations, and enrollment in the PharmD/MBA program,” said Pate.

“His engagement showcases his passion for developing the necessary skills to succeed.”

Buss gained experience providing expanded services leading the student chapter of American Pharmacists Association during his time in Oxford. As chapter president-elect, he helped plan dozens of community service projects including vaccinations and health education sessions.

Community events allow Buss to practice his skills while seeing the results of those efforts. At an Oxford-Lafayette County Health Fair, Buss checked a woman’s blood pressure and believed he read it wrong because it was so high. After re-checking, he counseled her to see her doctor as soon as possible to make changes to her existing medications.

“This patient had no idea her blood pressure was elevated at all, so it brought me joy to know that I was able to provide some recommendations to her that might have made a significant impact in her life,” he said.

He is looking forward to continuing that involvement during his third year of pharmacy school in Jackson.

To apply for the Pharmacist Mutual scholarships, students complete an application, provide transcripts and submit a short essay about why they want to practice in a small-chain or independent pharmacy, or in underserved communities. Applications open in late fall of each year.

By Dana Engelbert