Ikhlas Khan Becomes NCNPR Director

Former associate director takes lead after 25 years with UM research center

Ikhlas Khan

OXFORD, Miss. – Ikhlas Khan became director of the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy on Jan. 1.

After receiving his doctorate in pharmacy from the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology in Munich, Khan joined the School of Pharmacy in 1988 as a postdoctoral research fellow. He became NCNPR’s associate director in 2015.

Khan’s plans as the center’s director include steady improvement and a continuation of past successes.

“The vision is very simple and broad: We want to continue doing what has worked, but keep evolving,” Khan said. “Change is the only one thing should be constant. We have done a wonderful job over the last 20 years. The timing is right, and the expertise is in the house to take on any natural products challenge.”

Founded in 1995, NCNPR is the nation’s only university-affiliated research center devoted to improving human health and agricultural productivity through the discovery, development and commercialization of pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals derived from natural products. The center’s former director of 15 years, Larry Walker, retired Dec. 31, 2016.

Khan has been internationally recognized as a leader and innovator in the study of natural products. He has received honorary degrees and professorships from several international universities, including the University of Chinese Medicine in both Shaanxi and Hunan.

In the field of natural products research, he has won the UM Distinguished Research Award, the Indian Association for the Study of Traditional Asian Medicine Zandu International Oration Award for Excellence in Research Contribution to Ayurvedic and/or Natural Products and the American Society of Pharmacognosy’s Varro E. Tyler Prize.

Khan’s research focuses on drug discovery and developing scientific tools for assessing the safety and chemical makeup of dietary supplements. Scientists at the NCNPR use these methods in conjunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a partnership established in 2001. The center was recognized by the FDA as a Center of Excellence for its research of botanical dietary supplements in 2006, and received the FDA Commissioner’s Special Citation in 2009.

Khan also established and directs the Sino-U.S. Traditional Chinese Medicine Research Center and the Center for Research of Indian Systems of Medicine, both at Ole Miss.

“He has a very strong collaborative vision,” Walker said. “He’s very open to new ideas and good at evaluating them. He knows how to take an opportunity and grow it to make it into an even bigger and more beneficial opportunity.”

One such opportunity was the creation of the annual Oxford International Conference on the Science of Botanicals, which has grown to more than 250 participants from around the world. Khan was instrumental in launching the conference, designed to gather an international community of stakeholders to discuss issues related to quality and safety of botanicals.

He also co-directs the NCNPR’s marijuana project, which grows marijuana and distributes it to researchers under a contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“Ikhlas will be fantastic in this role,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “He has a clear vision for the quality and safety of natural products, and has a knack for leadership and for drawing people together to make things happen.”

“This is really an honor, and I am very grateful for this opportunity,” Khan said. “We have a state-of-the-art facility and wonderful colleagues with diverse expertise here.”

Wally Guess Remembered as ‘Superior Teacher and Outstanding Researcher’

Services set for Saturday for visionary pharmacy educator, leader

UM pharmacy Dean David Allen spends time with Wally and Betty Guess.

OXFORD, Miss. – Wallace L. “Wally” Guess, fourth dean of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, serving from 1971 to 1989, died Monday (Jan. 30).

A funeral service for Guess is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday (Feb. 4) at College Hill Presbyterian Church. Burial will follow at College Hill Cemetery.

Guess is remembered as a friendly, steady presence who was supportive to his faculty and dedicated to improving the research presence of the School of Pharmacy.

“He was a very outgoing guy, always had a handshake for everybody, easy to talk with,” said Mickey Smith, chair emeritus of the Department of Pharmacy Administration.

Guess became dean of the School of Pharmacy nearly a year-and-a-half after the accidental death of Dean Charles Hartman in 1970. Chancellor Porter Fortune hired Guess, saying that he had “distinguished himself both as a superior teacher and an outstanding researcher.”

He began his teaching career at the University of Texas College of Pharmacy while working toward his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, which he received in 1949. He earned both his master’s and doctorate in pharmacy while teaching at Texas and completed postdoctoral work in toxicology and pathology.

Before coming to UM, he was director of the Drug Plastic Research and Toxicology Laboratories at UT and completed the first toxicology study of contact lenses.

During Guess’ 18-year tenure at Ole Miss, both the faculty and research activities of the School of Pharmacy grew significantly. He oversaw the establishment of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy Practice and began requiring pharmacy students to complete clinical rotations at the UM Medical Center in Jackson.

He also organized the administration of the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences that paved the way for the creation of the National Center for Natural Products Research.

“He was dedicated to pharmacy education,” said Charlie Hufford, dean emeritus for research and graduate programs. “He really wanted the school to not only continue to be a great teaching institute, but to also be a great research environment, and we began to do that with him here.”

Millions of dollars in grants came through the School of Pharmacy during Guess’ tenure. The school installed a state-of-the-art computer and data system that was used, among other ways, to collect poison control information and develop a drug information center for the state.

Outside the lab, Guess was the first UM pharmacy dean to introduce a faculty retreat as a way to improve communication among the school faculty, a practice now considered beneficial in many workplaces and that continues at the School of Pharmacy.

“Dean Guess always had a smile on his face and the best interests of the school at heart in all he did,” said Alice Clark, vice chancellor for university relations who began her career as a pharmacy researcher under Guess’ tenure as dean.

Wallace L. ‘Wally’ Guess

“I especially remember that he was so supportive and encouraging, and that he always took the time to personally recognize and acknowledge every person’s achievement.”

His accomplishments included being an honorary member of the Mexican Pharmaceutical Association, a recipient of the Lederle Research Paper Award and being named an “American Man of Science.” He was a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education.

Guess also served in the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and the Mississippi Pharmacists Association. During his time as chairman of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Over-the-Counter panel, he oversaw the first drug – cortisone – that was changed from prescription-only to over-the-counter.

“To me he was a very personable guy; took his work seriously,” said Dewey Garner, chair emeritus of the Department of Pharmacy Administration. “He had high ideals for research and teaching and service. He believed service was part of your job.”

Guess remained an Ole Miss supporter after retirement. He and his wife, Betty, continued to live in Oxford, where they enjoyed their pond that William Faulkner famously visited with his Boy Scout troop.

Along with traveling, Guess enjoyed hiking and camping. He was active in College Hill Presbyterian Church and would help his neighbors by chopping wood for them.

“I was fortunate to get to know Dean Guess over my time at Ole Miss,” said David. D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “He was a wonderful man. He had an incredible vision for the school and truly loved the university.”

Guess completed two-and-a-half years of service in the U.S. Army from February 1943 to September 1945, leaving as a sergeant.

He is survived by his wife, daughters Ginny Cheek and Gerry Gebhard Guess, stepdaughter Julie Harris, stepson Robert L. Shenuell, 13 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Kristie Willett Named Chair of UM Department of BioMolecular Sciences

New leader brings 17 years' experience and research expertise

Kristie Willett. Photo courtesy Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

OXFORD, Miss. – Kristine Willett, professor of pharmacology and environmental toxicology, has been chosen as chair of the Department of BioMolecular Sciences in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.

The Department of BioMolecular Sciences encompasses the divisions of environmental toxicology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacognosy and pharmacology. Several members of the department nominated Willett, a native of Wooster, Ohio, as a candidate for the position and encouraged her to pursue the opportunity.

As chair, recruiting new faculty and graduate students to enhance the school’s research and teaching expertise is one of her highest priorities, Willett said.

“We are in an exciting time in our department,” she said. “We must remain committed to strengthening our graduate program and recruiting and nurturing the best graduate students from local, regional and international pools.”

John Rimoldi, professor of medicinal chemistry, chaired the search committee for Willett’s position. They have worked together since Willett joined the school in 2000.

“Kristie brings commitment, service and optimism to this position,” Rimoldi said. “The faculty will benefit from her collective experiences in toxicology research and education at the university and national levels. I am confident she will provide inspired leadership to the department.”

Willett’s research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of toxicity and human diseases. Her lab uses zebrafish to screen for potential ways to control seizures and study the effects of environmental contaminants on early development. Her research is supported by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The School of Pharmacy has recognized Willett as a Distinguished Teaching Scholar, and she has taught courses in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College since 2009. Nationally, she is chair of the Society of Toxicology’s undergraduate education committee and mentors the graduate student council as part of the board of directors of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

“Kristie is deeply and diversely involved on campus and in the School of Pharmacy,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “She has a strong vision for the future of the department and an incredibly positive and can-do attitude, which are absolutely essential to lead in this capacity.”

Willett said she hopes to help ensure the success of the department’s faculty, staff and students by “reflecting a positive attitude and commitment to place.”

“I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to develop my career here at the University of Mississippi, and I look forward to facilitating the continued success of our department and school,” she said.

UM Natural Products Center Designated as Center of Excellence

Food and Drug Administration has awarded the distinction to NCNPR for 15 straight years

NCNPR Director Larry Walker (left) and Associate Director Ikhlas Khan inspect dietary supplements as part of a partnership with the U.S Food and Drug Administration. Photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

NCNPR Director Larry Walker (left) and Associate Director Ikhlas Khan inspect dietary supplements as part of a partnership with the U.S Food and Drug Administration. Photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

OXFORD, Miss. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has renewed the National Center for Natural Products Research’s designation as a Center of Excellence in recognition of its work in botanical dietary supplement research. This is the 15th consecutive year the NCNPR has received this recognition.

As part of its partnership with the FDA, which began in 2001, the NCNPR focuses on developing scientific tools for assessing the safety and quality of dietary supplements that are commercially available.

Scientists at the NCNPR, which is a division of the UM School of Pharmacy, develop analytical methodology to assess the chemical makeup of botanical products. These methodologies can be used by regulatory agencies and the industry to assess the quality of products in the market.

Ikhlas Khan, associate director of the center, traveled to Washington, D.C., earlier this month to talk with the Centers of Excellence directors about progress of the research and plans for the next year.

The initial focus of the partnership was to develop a repository of dietary supplements for testing and authentication, Khan said. The focus has shifted over the years to developing tools for safety assessment.

“We very much value our partnership with the FDA, and are very pleased they have renewed our status as a Center of Excellence,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “Because of this partnership, we are able to use our resources to positively affect public health by developing the scientific tools to ensure quality and safety of dietary supplements.”

Pharmacy Students Win NCPA Presidential Scholarships

Ashley Culbertson and Lily Van honored for achievement, interest in community pharmacies

Lily Van

Lily Van

OXFORD, Miss. – Two University of Mississippi pharmacy students have won presidential scholarships from the National Community Pharmacists Association. Ashley Culbertson and Lily Van, both third-professional-year students, are among only 25 students nationally who received the $2,000 awards.

The NCPA represents the employees of more than 22,000 independent community pharmacies across the country, which dispense nearly half of the nation’s retail prescription medicines. The organization selects presidential scholarship recipients based on academic achievement, leadership qualities and an interest in independent pharmacy.

Culbertson, a native of Leland, said it was an honor to win the scholarship since so many qualified students apply.

“It was very rewarding to see that my hard work is paying off,” she said.

Alicia Bouldin, associate dean for outcomes assessment and learning advancement at the school of pharmacy, recommended Culbertson for the scholarship.

“I have noted that the most promising student leaders seem to have in common several desirable characteristics – among them intellectual curiosity, enthusiastic involvement and a generally positive perspective,” Bouldin said. “I have had the opportunity to observe in Ashley all three of these traits.”

Culbertson’s career goals include working in a community pharmacy to one day manage or own an independent store.

Ashley Culbertson

Ashley Culbertson

“I enjoy the front lines of assisting patients with a new prescription or even finding the correct over-the-counter product,” Culbertson said.

 

Van, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, said she was “ecstatic,” when she learned she won the scholarship.

“To be recognized for your achievements is something that is very touching and rewarding from a student perspective, and it helps to push me further in my career,” Van said.

Van serves on NCPA’s national Student Leadership Council. She hopes to work as a clinical pharmacist in a community setting and eventually become a director of clinical services in a community for underserved populations.

Donna Strum, chair of the pharmacy administration department, wrote a letter of recommendation for Van’s scholarship application.

“Lily is excited about the opportunities for pharmacists in the community setting and has a passion for advancing pharmacy practice,” Strum said. “She shares her positive experience with independent pharmacy with the other students and testifies how community pharmacists can provide services and make a positive difference in patient lives.”

Both Van and Culbertson expressed gratitude for the opportunity to further their education and their careers.

“I am extremely thankful to be a recipient this year because not only does it help to advance my education, but it has also afforded me great opportunities to network with pharmacy leaders from across the U.S.,” Van said. “Being part of NCPA has really opened my eyes to the world of independent pharmacy and how integral community pharmacists are in the patient care process.”

Larry Walker Retires as NCNPR Director

UM School of Pharmacy celebrates administrator's 35-year career

Larry Walker retires this month as director of the UM National Center for Natural Products Center after 35 years of service. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Larry Walker retires this month as director of the UM National Center for Natural Products Research after 35 years of service. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – On Dec. 31, Larry Walker retires as director of the National Center for Natural Products Research after 35 years of service to the University of Mississippi.

Walker began his career at Ole Miss in 1981 as a research assistant professor in the School of Pharmacy. In 1987, he led a natural products discovery biological screening program, setting him up to be involved with the creation of the natural products center.

When the NCNPR was founded in 1995, Alice Clark, the center’s first director, asked Walker to take on some interim administration duties as the associate director. In 2001, Clark became the university’s vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, and Walker became the center’s director, a position he has held for 15 years.

“Through distinguished research, visionary leadership, selfless service and strategic international relationships, Dr. Walker has shaped the culture and success of the NCNPR, the School of Pharmacy, our university and our community,” Clark said. “He leaves a legacy of achievement that will serve as the foundation for future success.”

During Walker’s time as director, the NCNPR, which is housed in the School of Pharmacy, made countless scientific discoveries and breakthroughs. He helped to create a repository of natural products and developed a number of high-throughput screens for natural products discovery.

“The drug discovery operation was probably one of the highest impact developments for our program,” Walker said. “We had a vision to create a program where we could collect natural products from all over the world, and then use the high-throughput screening to learn what was in there that might account for the activity.

“That was an exciting vision, even though today it’s a routine part of our work. At that time, it was an ambitious and expensive new enterprise.”

Walker also was instrumental in establishing and sustaining thriving partnerships between the NCNPR and the FDA and USDA. Some of these collaborations yield new pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and alternative crops for small farmers, while others provide valuable information about the makeup of commercially available supplements and medicines.

He also was involved heavily in the design, planning and outfitting of what became the Thad Cochran Research Center.

Although the NCNPR has grown into an international leader in natural products research, Walker knows there is work to be done.

“My greatest hope for the center is that we develop a broader interface with the private sector, and that eventually we’ll have a robust cluster of natural products-related industries in Mississippi,” Walker said. “We already have several small companies that have started and been very successful, but I think we could expand that greatly.”

Walker’s leadership of the NCNPR has “had an immeasurable impact not only on the school, but on the future of natural products,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean.

“The natural products center is successful not only because of his research and his leadership, but because of his unending compassion,” Allen said. “He is an incredible administrator, an excellent scientist and a wonderful friend.”

Walker says he will miss his colleagues and the center’s environment of collaboration and discovery.

“Back when I was doing more lab work day-to-day, very rarely would a week go by that you didn’t have something that was new or interesting,” Walker said. “It was really exciting to find that a plant makes a certain compound or impacts a cancer cell. Just to see something new like that every week and to think about how to use that to develop new drugs or generate new research ideas or utilize the expertise of a new collaborator – I’ll miss that.

“And I’ll miss the people, no doubt. Our group has a sense of family. If we have a success, it’s all of us that contribute to it. I think that’s very hard to find in a lot of our workplaces.”

Having lived in Oxford since 1981, Walker said his career has been all the more rewarding for having been spent at UM.

“I don’t think many people in my line of work get to spend their lives, their research careers in such a great setting as Oxford and Ole Miss,” Walker said. “It’s a small town with a lot of culture, a lot of history, a great place for family life, a great place for academic inquiry. To have had the privilege of working in a place like that all my life, it’s been a blessing.”

The School of Pharmacy celebrated Walker’s career with a retirement reception earlier this month.

Ikhlas Khan, the center’s associate director, will become director on Jan. 1, 2017.

Walker also will retire as associate director for research at the Cancer Institute in Jackson, where he has served for six years. He plans to spend more time with his wife, his five children and 13 grandchildren.

USDA Renews Drug Discovery Grant for Natural Products Center

University has held research grant since 1996

The NCNPR grew stevia and bitter gourd this summer at teh UM Medicinal Plant Garden as part of the USDA partnership. Photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

The NCNPR grew stevia and bitter gourd this summer at the UM Medicinal Plant Garden as part of the USDA partnership. Photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

OXFORD, Miss. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has renewed a grant for the National Center for Natural Products Research  to work on the discovery and development of bioactive products that have potential to become pharmaceuticals, agrichemicals or alternative crops for small farmers.

The grant project, “Discovery and Development of Natural Products for Pharmaceutical and Agrichemical Applications,” has been renewed every five years since it began in 1996. A panel of outside experts convened by the USDA’s Office of Scientific Quality Review reviews the project, which awards $2.4 million per year for five years.

This grant also helps to foster commercialization of newly discovered products that may have wide-ranging benefits, such as pesticides, antibiotics and anticancer agents. The research funded by this project is complementary to the university’s research and has resulted in patents for both pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals.

“We continue to appreciate the USDA’s support and partnership with the NCNPR and the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “This grant makes it possible for us to remain dedicated to the research of natural products to solve health and economic issues.”

The grant will be up for renewal again in 2021.

Pharmacy Administration Chair Named Associate UM Provost

Donna Strum hailed as 'outstanding leader and administrator'

Donna Strum, chair and professor of the University of Mississippi's Department of Pharmacy Administration, will become associate provost in 2017. Photo by Nathan Latil Ole Miss Communications

Donna Strum, chair and professor of the UM Department of Pharmacy Administration, will become associate provost in 2017. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Donna Strum, chair and professor of the University of Mississippi’s Department of Pharmacy Administration and research professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the School of Pharmacy, will become associate provost in 2017.

A native of Germantown, Tennessee, Strum earned three degrees from UM, including a doctorate in pharmacy administration in 1999. After eight years on the faculty of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Arkansas for Medicine Sciences, she returned to Ole Miss in 2008 as chair of pharmacy administration.

“I love being here at the university, and it was exciting to see this position open up because I thought it would be a good opportunity to really contribute to the university in a broader capacity,” Strum said.

During her eight years as chair, she helped to restructure the graduate curriculum, decreased the time needed to earn master’s and doctoral degrees in pharmacy administration and helped the department win the university’s Excellence in Promoting Inclusiveness in Graduate Education award.

Strum also helped create the “Educating Pharmacists in Quality” program, a teaching tool aimed at improving medical safety and quality of pharmacy care. The program, which is used around the world, won the 2015 Duncan Neuhauser Award from the Academy for Healthcare Improvement, and won Strum the 2016 Faculty Instructional Innovations Award from the UM pharmacy school.

“I have every confidence that Donna will do well as associate provost,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “Her balanced leadership of the Department of Pharmacy Administration has directly resulted in many of our school’s success and innovations.”

As a pharmacist and professor, Strum has focused on quantifying and measuring the effectiveness of pharmaceuticals and pharmacy care. She hopes this interest in evaluating and improving established processes will serve her when dealing with universitywide issues.

“I’m data-driven,” Strum said. “I appreciate data when making decisions, so I think that I’m capable of taking a lot of different pieces of information and sorting through them to find the best path.”

Interim Provost Noel Wilkin said he is honored to have Strum join the provost’s office.

“It is clear that she has distinguished herself as a respected leader,” Wilkin said. “She will bring unique abilities, perspectives and energy to the work that we do to facilitate the success of the university.”

Strum said that she will miss her department and her pharmacy research, but that she is looking forward to working with and contributing to the provost’s office.

“I hope to make a meaningful difference at this university for faculty and students, and I hope that being in a central position will allow me to make a positive impact across campus,” she said.

John Bentley, professor of pharmacy administration and research professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, will become the new chair of the pharmacy administration department. Bentley called Strum “an outstanding leader and administrator.”

“She seeks input from individuals before making decisions and is fully capable of making and justifying decisions, even those that are challenging and potentially controversial,” Bentley said.

“She knows what it takes to be productive and successful, and understands the barriers to, and facilitators of, success. She understands the many facets of a comprehensive university such as the University of Mississippi.”

Strum assumes her new role Jan. 1, along with fellow associate provost, Rich Forgette, senior associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

UM Pharmacy Students to Test Clinical Skills in National Competition

Team to compete this weekend in Las Vegas

Colleen Riley

Colleen Riley

OXFORD, Miss. ­– Two students from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy will participate in the annual American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Clinical Skills Competition, where student pharmacists demonstrate their ability to analyze and respond to clinical pharmacy scenarios.

Colleen Riley of Kansas City, Missouri, and Cody Taylor of Booneville, both in their fourth year of the school’s professional program, are set to compete Saturday (Dec. 3) at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in Las Vegas. They were chosen based on their performance in a local, similar competition hosted by the university’s student chapter of ASHP.

Both the local and national competitions require students to analyze a patient’s case and provide a comprehensive treatment plan using their knowledge of pharmacy. To prepare for the national competition, Riley and Taylor have studied the previous year’s competition topics and spoken with former competitors.

“First, you have to be able to prioritize the correct problem,” Taylor said. “You have to pick out what the patient’s most serious issue is.

“We have to quickly recall treatment options and guideline recommendations. Knowing drug classes and how to monitor these drugs, both therapeutically and toxicity, is also very important.”

Cody Taylor

Cody Taylor

Competitors are called on to demonstrate not only technical and scientific principles they learn in the classroom but also interpersonal and leadership skills that are required of pharmacists.

“The competition requires teamwork, efficiency, communication skills, problem-solving, time management and decisiveness,” Riley said. “We must work together to make decisions about ranking problems and treating them.”

The students “have done an excellent job at preparing for the competition,” said Joshua Fleming, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice and a co-adviser for the ASHP student chapter.

Riley and Taylor both hope to complete a Postgraduate Year One residency upon graduating. Taylor would like to continue into a PGY2 residency in critical care or infectious diseases, and Riley hopes to become a clinical pharmacist in a hospital.

“This competition will not only help me become a more competitive residency candidate but also improve upon the skills I will need to be a good resident and pharmacist,” Riley said.

UM Student Wins Independent Pharmacies Grant

Jasmine Turner honored for second straight year

Jasmine Turner. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Jasmine Turner. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Jasmine Turner, a fourth-year student in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, has received a $1,000 grant from the 2016 EPIC Pharmacies student grant program.

EPIC Pharmacies is a national group of independent pharmacies that annually provides grants to pharmacy students who plan to practice in independent pharmacy after graduation. This is the second year in a row Turner, a native of Tippo, has received this grant.

“I feel proud to be in the midst of such an amazing, supportive and selfless group of individuals who have aimed to build stronger patient relationships and deeper communities within independent pharmacies,” Turner said.

“This scholarship recognizes the hard work that I have put into pharmacy as well as myself. It also provides me with lifelong networking opportunities with other independent pharmacists.”

Turner was chosen for the grant based on her application that detailed her pharmacy-related employment, professional service activities and honors, as well as faculty recommendations and an essay about her career goals, which include practicing in an independent, rural community pharmacy.

“Jasmine exhibits many qualities that would allow her to excel in a community pharmacy setting, including excellent leadership and teamwork skills and extensive experience working with independent pharmacies in rural areas of Mississippi,” said David Gregory, associate dean for academic affairs, who recommended Turner for the grant.

“She is truly keen about her career choice, and she looks forward to serving the profession of pharmacy in a positive manner.”

Turner said her desire to work in rural community pharmacy stems from her connection to and care for the people of her small hometown of Tippo.

“Growing up in such a small place, I want to serve those who have played a role in making me who I am today,” Turner said. “My ultimate goal is to help my patients get healthy and stay healthy not only by being their pharmacist but also by being a friend, a mentor and a leader.”