Program Coordinator Works Year-Round on Annual Botanicals Conference

Event draws participants from around the globe

Jennifer Taylor

Jennifer Taylor

OXFORD, Miss. – If the 13th annual International Conference on the Science of Botanicals is as successfully staged as the previous 12, it will be due, in large measure, to the efforts of Jennifer S. Taylor, program coordinator in the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.

Putting the ICSB together “is a huge undertaking,” said Ikhlas Khan, NCNPR’s assistant director and director of its FDA (Food and Drug Administration) Center for Excellence in Botanicals.

“It’s sort of like putting together a jigsaw puzzle with thousands of pieces,” he said. “Jennifer makes sure that, in the end, all those pieces fit together perfectly to ensure that everything comes off without a hitch.”

The conference has drawn as many as 250 participants from around the world to the Oxford Conference Center to discuss pressing topics affecting the botanical dietary supplement industry and the people who consume the supplements. Taylor’s job is to prepare year-round for each upcoming conference.

“I am the ‘event coordinator,’ ‘travel coordinator,’ ‘administrative coordinator’ and ‘speaker coordinator’ all rolled into one,” Taylor said. “My role is pretty intense.”

Taylor arranges venues and menus for the conference’s various activities and ensures that whoever needs to get paid for them receives payment. She manages hotel arrangements and shuttle services for conference participants and even helps some of them solve their flight issues. She also handles invitations and other correspondence with conference speakers and manages their itineraries and travel reimbursements.

During the actual event, she deals with the registration, check-in and other problems that invariably arise whenever and wherever large numbers of people gather for a series of carefully orchestrated events.

“Her job is like herding stray cats, but somehow she does it very well,” said Larry Walker, NCNPR director. “She manages to assist many of our NCNPR staff as well as many of our conference participants.”

This year, Taylor’s workload is even more intense because NCNPR also is hosting the American Society of Pharmacognosy’s annual meeting Aug. 2-4.

“We will be challenged this year because the ASP event is much larger than our ICSB,” she said. “It averages 500 attendees, but we have an amazing group of people at NCNPR, and everyone will pull together to really make this year a huge success.”

Topics for this year’s April 15-17 ICSB conference include various approaches for post-market surveillance, risk and safety assessment, and adverse event reporting for botanical dietary supplements and other natural products. To ensure that regulatory and manufacturing perspectives are shared, the program includes presentations from members of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, major trade associations and industry representatives, Taylor said.

The ASP meeting will explore natural products and their impact on human health, agriculture and the environment.

“Participants will review, discuss and explore the confluence of natural products research,” Taylor said. “Topics include past achievements, current status and future prospects in natural products discovery.”

While in the midst of finalizing agendas and plans for the ICSB event and beginning similar work on the ASP meeting, Taylor also is serving as Khan’s administrative assistant.

“He oversees approximately 30 people at any given time, so I assist them, as well as him, with any clerical needs they have, such as travel, purchasing, correspondence, payroll, reimbursements, etc.,” she said.

A Myrtle native, Taylor joined the NCNPR staff in fall 2006.

“I worked for Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly at the NIDA Marijuana Project,” she said. “At the NIDA project, I was a senior secretary working with project coordinator Linda Spears. She taught me a lot about the project and my job duties. A lot of my success should be credited to her.”

Taylor began working for Khan in summer 2010.

“That’s when I became a program coordinator,” she said. “I still do the clerical jobs of a senior secretary, but I help coordinate an international conference too. It takes a lot of us working together to be successful.”

Working with all those people, as well as being allowed to grow in work-related knowledge and responsibilities, are the aspects of the job that Taylor likes most.

“There are so many wonderful individuals that I get the pleasure of interacting with every day,” she said. “Even though our group tends to change frequently with visiting scholars and postdocs coming and going, we are like an enormous family. When someone leaves, we try to keep in touch with (him or her).

“I have been fortunate to work for two amazing bosses, Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly and Dr. Ikhlas Khan. They both have inspired me to be the best at what I do.”

The annual ICSB is supported by a cooperative agreement between the NCNPR and the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Natural Products Center Hosts Annual Botanicals Conference April 15-17

Sessions to focus on regulatory issues in dietary supplements

OXFORD, Miss. – The Oxford International Conference on the Science of Botanicals, the premier annual event for discussing medicinal plants and dietary supplements, is taking a new twist this year to mark the 20th anniversary of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, or DSHEA, of 1994.

Rather than the latest science on botanical ingredients, the 13th annual ICSB will focus on “how companies can take the lead on raising the bar for quality and safety in the dietary supplement industry,” said Larry Walker, director of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s National Center for Natural Products Research, the conference’s host since 2001.

“For the botanical supplement world, there has never been a meeting quite like this,” Walker said. “Regulatory agencies, trade associations, quality assurance, and analytical and safety people, as well as physicians, toxicologists and media representatives will be offering their perspectives on botanicals 20 years after DSHEA.”

That theme is the topic of the April 15-17 conference’s opening session and keynote address to be delivered by Daniel Fabricant, director the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Division of Dietary Supplement Programs. As director, Fabricant advises the FDA on policy issues involving dietary supplements, including the safety of new dietary ingredients, good manufacturing practices, or GMPs, and problems reported by consumers. He also is responsible for ensuring that supplements are safe, meet quality standards and are accurately labeled.

Before joining the FDA in February 2011, Fabricant was active in the dietary supplement industry. While vice president of the Natural Products Association – this country’s largest nonprofit dedicated to the makers and distributors of natural products – he was instrumental in winning a National Institutes of Health contract for the NPA’s work on a nationwide label database for dietary supplements.

The opening session of the conference, which takes place at Oxford’s Hampton Inn Conference Center, also features Loren D. Israelsen, president of the United Natural Products Alliance, an international trade association of select companies committed to providing consumers with natural products of superior quality and safety, and Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council, a nonprofit research and education organization.

Since 1992, Israelson has been executive director of the Utah Natural Products Alliance, which was instrumental in development and passage of DSHEA in 1994. He also is president of LDI Group Inc., a consulting firm specializing in dietary supplements, functional foods and the emerging issues facing both industries.

Blumenthal helped found several companies that manufacture herbal products, some of the organizations that represent them (the Herb Trade Association, Herbal Products Association and Herb Research Foundation) and the organizations’ publications (Herb News and HerbalGram). A popular guest on radio and television talk shows and source for journalists, editors and writers, Blumenthal is frequently quoted in trade and popular presses.

The conference’s second session focuses on the FDA’s perspectives on GMP regulations, adverse event reporting systems, labeling and development of new botanical drugs. Angela F. Pope, a consumer safety officer on the FDA’s GMP Team; Cara Welch, a regulatory assistant in the FDA’s Division of Dietary Supplement Programs; and Charles Wu, a pharmacologist in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, will provide those perspectives.

In other sessions:

- Procter & Gamble, ChromaDex Inc. and Medicus Research executives will discuss what is being done to incorporate a culture of regulatory compliance within their companies

- Harvard Medical School, Einstein Medical Center and University of Minnesota clinicians will discuss problems associated with detecting, investigating and reporting dangerous supplements

- Herbalife and American Botanical Council executives and a medicinal chemist will discuss problems associated with communicating safety risks to supplement consumers

- Waters Corp., Agilent Technologies and CAMAG Scientific managers will discuss the latest in analytical techniques

- A New York Daily News reporter and editors from the Nutrition Business Journal and The Tan Sheet will discuss the media’s role in educating the industry and the public

In the conference’s closing session, representatives from the American Herbal Products Association, Council for Responsible Nutrition and Natural Products Association will provide industry reaction to information and opinions shared during previous sessions.

The conference is supported by a cooperative agreement between the NCNPR and the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

“Our mission is to put science behind dietary supplements, natural products and traditional forms of medicine,” said Ikhlas Khan, assistant director of NCNPR, director of NCNPR’s FDA Center for Excellence in Botanicals and the conference’s coordinator. “This year, we’re fulfilling that mission by enabling government, industry, trade, clinical and media representatives to share their perspectives, experiences and concerns about pressing issues affecting botanical dietary supplements with each other, as well as the conference’s more than 150 attendees.”

Israelson told a NutraIngredients-USA reporter last week that the annual ICSB has become “the most important regulatory gathering for the supplement industry.”

During the gathering, the “FDA leadership, academic leadership and industry executives meet for three days to consider the state of dietary supplement regulation, policy and areas of concern or opportunity,” he said. “Nowhere else does this happen in this way. It is vital that such a forum exist, and the National Center for Natural Products Research at Ole Miss (provides) that forum.”

The Waters Corp., United Natural Products Alliance and Agilent Technologies are the event’s major sponsors.

For a complete 2014 conference schedule, visit

Student-Created Policy Addresses Emerging Field of Pharmacogenomics

Proposal for APhA-ASP House of Delegates one of top five in the nation

Cody Clifton

Cody Clifton

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy student has created an innovative policy proposal for a national organization that addresses the emerging field of pharmacogenomics.

Cody Clifton, a second-year professional student, created the proposal for the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists. He serves as policy vice president for the organization’s local chapter.

“Pharmacogenomics testing is the use of genetic information to predict an individual’s response to a drug,” said Clifton, a Walnut native. “All drugs are not created equal, and patients who take these drugs aren’t either. Through effective application of pharmacogenomic data, we can specifically tailor drug therapy for patients.”

This is the first time in recent years that the university’s chapter of APhA-ASP has submitted a policy. As policy vice president, one of Clifton’s duties is to gather members’ interests and develop a proposal.

“It is important that our students are aware of (pharmacogenomics) in its infancy, recognizing that many medications have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to their use, and many patients with a variety of disease states would benefit from individualized medicines for treatment,” said pharmacy administration doctoral student Joseph A. Dikun, the APhA-ASP chapter’s co-adviser. “Based on the development of this policy, our students clearly are beginning to see their role as the medication expert in a variety of clinical and research settings.”

The proposed policy states: “APhA-ASP supports pharmacogenomics testing as a clinical service provided by pharmacists and the interpretation of the results to the providers and the patients by pharmacists, in order to provide individualized treatment plans to patients.”

Clifton said he used the book of APhA-ASP adopted resolutions to determine what topic the policy should cover.

“Pharmacogenomics and pharmacy was the subject that was missing from the handbook, so I took it as a great opportunity to pursue,” he said. “Also, having a medicinal chemistry class in pharmacogenomics opened my eyes to how important it is for medications to be individualized for certain patients.”

After working with Dikun and pharmacy administration graduate student Ashley Crumby to tweak the language, Clifton presented the policy at the APhA Midyear Regional Meeting, also known as MRM. He served as chapter delegate at this meeting.

“The process is very similar to bills going through the different motions to get passed at a state/national level,” Clifton said. “On the last day of MRM, at the closing business meeting, chapter delegates in region three voted to pass the resolution, along with many other resolutions. This was very exciting for us.”

After the policy passed at MRM, it went to the Resolutions Policy Committee and was voted on by eight regional delegates from across the U.S. It was passed, thus making the proposal one of the top five in the nation.

Clifton is thrilled that this proposal gives student pharmacists the “potential to become integral players in personalized health care.”

“The overall purpose of this policy is to promote the use of our clinical expertise within the field of pharmacy,” he said. “We can do this by encouraging and directing the development of technology solutions that support pharmacists’ role in pharmacogenomics.”

The policy will be voted on at APhA’s March 28-31 Annual Meeting and Exposition, during the APhA-ASP House of Delegates. If passed, the policy will be added to the organization’s adopted resolutions. Additionally, the APhA-ASP Policy Standing Committee will meet to determine the most appropriate actions to be taken on the adopted resolution, such as developing a plan to contact regulatory agencies and other national organizations.

“As pharmacists, we are the medication experts, and we do what is best for our patients,” Clifton said. “Therefore, we need to encourage and embrace this inevitable change. This topic may seem futuristic, but we need to stay ahead of the game by approaching the issue now.”

Pharmacy Student Selected for National Council, Competitive Internship

Lauren Lyles strives to learn about legislation, advocate for profession

Lauren Lyles

Lauren Lyles

OXFORD, Miss. – Lauren Lyles, a second-year professional pharmacy student at the University of Mississippi, has been selected for two prestigious opportunities with the National Community Pharmacists Association.

The Jackson native recently learned that she was designated to serve on the NCPA Student Leadership Council and was also chosen to fill the organization’s summer internship.

“I am truly honored and humbled by both of these opportunities,” Lyles said. “It’s a great feeling, and I am most excited about having a chance to impact pharmacy on a national level.”

The council represents all pharmacy student members of NCPA. As a member, Lyles will serve as a regional representative contact for student chapters.

“This entails communicating to chapters in my given region on a monthly basis, providing feedback to these chapters and reporting information to the NCPA Department of Student Affairs,” she said.

In addition, Lyles will help compile end-of-the-year chapter reports to help determine the Chapter of the Year. She will also travel to various pharmacy schools to present information on community pharmacy and NCPA.

Sponsored by the NCPA Foundation, the summer internship is a 10-week commitment spent at the organization’s headquarters in Alexandria, Va. The goals of the internship are to provide the intern with awareness of independent pharmacy practice opportunities and to demonstrate the importance of the national association to the profession.

Lyles was the only student nationwide to be selected for the internship. Similarly, she was among only a handful of students designated for the national council. She applied for the positions as secretary of UM’s NCPA chapter.

“I hope to offer creative and innovative ideas in both of these roles,” Lyles said. “I am most excited about learning more about legislative actions. It is my goal to encourage and support the significance of political advocacy among all student members.”

Lyles is a perfect fit for these positions, said Donna West-Strum, chair of the pharmacy administration department and NCPA chapter adviser.

“Lauren will contribute significantly to the leadership council and will undoubtedly learn a great deal from the summer internship,” West-Strum said. “She is passionate about community pharmacy and advocating for the profession. The internship and council will provide venues for her to share her ideas and make a difference.”

Lyles will begin her council duties in mid-April and her internship in June. She said that it is “vital” for students to participate in organizations such as NCPA and that she would like to get more students involved in community pharmacy and leadership roles.

“There are so many avenues and opportunities in pharmacy, and I think we should take advantage of them and continue to pave a way for the pharmacy profession,” she said. “Throughout this process, I hope to enhance my communication skills, planning skills, project implementation skills, leadership skills and community service.”

UM Researchers, Physicians Cite Benefits of Harper Grace’s Law

Bill provides opportunity to develop FDA-approved, cannabis-derived treatment for epilepsy

Researchers, lawmakers are hopeful of new legislation passed that may allow physicians to treat seizures in children with epilepsy.

Researchers, lawmakers are hopeful of new legislation passed that may allow physicians to treat seizures in children with epilepsy.

OXFORD, Miss – A bill passed by the Mississippi Legislature could provide researchers at the University of Mississippi an opportunity to develop a cannabis-derived treatment of seizures in children with a form of epilepsy.

The proposed Harper Grace’s Law exempts a specialized cannabis preparation from the state’s Controlled Substance Law. Now that legislators have agreed to the measure, it goes to Gov. Phil Bryant for final consideration.

The bill is named for Harper Grace Durval, a 2-year-old Mississippi girl who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. Unlike “medical marijuana” that is legal in some states, the oil that is the subject of Harper Grace’s Law is extracted from cannabis and is orally administered, not smoked. In addition, the specially processed oil contains a very low amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the principal psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant, and a high amount of cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant that may have anti-seizure activity.

Sen. Josh Harkins of Flowood was instrumental in crafting the bill. He said that if the bill is signed into law, he hopes it will pave the way for physicians in Mississippi to prescribe the preparation to children like Durval.

Harkins noted the process would involve federal agency approvals to allow the UM National Center for Natural Products Research to grow the required variety of cannabis and provide the specially processed oil for approved research use in patients. Physicians at the University of Mississippi Medical Center would conduct clinical trials.

“This is a big step toward eventually providing relief for Mississippi children suffering from epilepsy,” Harkins said. “I appreciate the cooperation of UM experts on this complex issue. If the bill is passed, they would have to seek federal approvals to move ahead, but we want to lose no time at the state level once the drug is available.”

While creating the language in the bill, Harkins enlisted the input of UM researchers, particularly Mahmoud ElSohly, NCNPR research professor and director of the university’s Marijuana Project.

ElSohly has been working closely with the National Institute on Drug Abuse for final approvals to grow a special low-THC, high-CBD variety of cannabis this season. For more than 30 years, UM has been the only federally sanctioned grower of marijuana for research purposes.

“Provided necessary approvals are granted by NIDA and the Drug Enforcement Administration, we would move as quickly as possible to prepare the extract and work with NIDA and the Food and Drug Administration to provide it for investigation under approved protocols in Mississippi,” ElSohly said.

Dr. Brad Ingram, pediatric neurologist at UMMC in Jackson, treats many children suffering from epilepsy, including some who might benefit from CBD oil.

“For Mississippi, I would say we take care of 3,000 to 6,000 patients a year with epilepsy. This is going to distill down to a few hundred of these patients that are going to qualify for this. But those few hundred – we don’t have a lot else to use. We are scratching the bottom of the barrel, and not necessarily doing anything to make them better.”

Under the provisions of the bill, the oil could be dispensed with a doctor’s prescription only at UMMC.

This could provide another great opportunity for university research efforts to directly improve the lives of patients, said Larry Walker, NCNPR director.

“For more than 20 years, Ole Miss has pursued a number of avenues to develop FDA-approved drug products from marijuana,” Walker said. “We have to move beyond the idea of delivering critical medicines through a crudely rolled joint or a weed pipe.

“This could open the door for Mississippi researchers and clinicians to evaluate the benefits of this specialized oil from cannabis for children’s seizures, while avoiding the unwanted abuse potential and the inhalation of possible carcinogens from smoking marijuana. We really appreciate Sen. Harkins’ vision and drive to do the right thing on this.”

Designer of HIV Drug Abacavir to Give UM Hartman Lecture

Robert Vince plans to discuss drug design 'adventures' in April 2 speech

Robert Vince

Robert Vince

OXFORD, Miss. – Recognized for designing the HIV drug abacavir, medicinal chemist Robert Vince is to deliver the 2014 Charles W. Hartman Memorial Lecture at the University of Mississippi.

Sponsored by the School of Pharmacy, the lecture will be held at 11 a.m. April 2 in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Vince, professor and chair of the Center for Drug Design at the University of Minnesota, plans to discuss “Adventures in Drug Design.”

“We are so excited to have a distinguished scientist like Dr. Vince visit our campus and deliver our Hartman Lecture,” said David D. Allen, the pharmacy school’s dean. “His drug design research has made a worldwide impact, and I’m looking forward to hearing more about his work.”

Vince said his lecture will revolve around his many projects, including developing drugs for herpes, Alzheimer’s, HIV and skin cancer.

“I’ll tell the story of how I got involved with AIDS research and how we developed the drug,” Vince said. “I’ll talk about what it takes to bring a drug to market and then about some of our current research.”

Vince graduated with a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy in 1962 and a doctorate in medicinal chemistry in 1966, both from the University at Buffalo College of Pharmacy. In 1966, he served as an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry at Ole Miss, then joined the medicinal chemistry faculty at the University of Minnesota, where he eventually established and became director of the Center for Drug Design in 2002.

The recipient of numerous honors, Vince was given a career development award from the National Institutes of Health, was designated as the 1979 University of Minnesota Scholar of the Year and was recently inducted into the Minnesota Science and Technology Hall of Fame.

His design of carbocyclic nucleosides that led to the development of abacavir is just one of his many noteworthy accomplishments. GlaxoSmithKline markets the drug under the brand name ZiagenTM across the globe for the treatment of AIDS in adults and children. This has resulted in more than $600 million in royalties for the University of Minnesota.

Vince is looking forward to the lecture, especially because of his connection to the school, he said.

“I appreciate being selected to give this lecture because I considered Charlie Hartman a good friend,” he said. “He was a very well-liked and popular dean. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity.”

The Hartman Lecture was established at UM in 1973 to honor the late Charles W. Hartman, who was dean of the pharmacy school from 1961 until his death in 1970. Former lecturers include American Board of Medical Specialties President and Chief Executive Officer Lois Margaret Nora, former Mississippi Gov. William F. Winter, and U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Trent Lott.

For more information or assistance related to a disability, email or call 662-915-7267.

UM Pharmacy Student Advances to National Competition

Kayla Snow to attend APhA's National Patient Counseling Competition in March

Kayla Snow

Kayla Snow

OXFORD, Miss. – After winning a local patient counseling competition sponsored by the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists, a University of Mississippi pharmacy student will advance to a national competition later this month.

Kayla Snow, an Okolona native in her second professional year of pharmacy school, will attend APhA’s annual meeting March 28-31 in Orlando, where the next level of competition takes place.

“I was so excited to find out that I had won and would have the opportunity to advance,” she said.

Held last fall, the local competition provided students with different counseling scenarios. Participants were given a prescription and 10 minutes to research the drug. Their resulting performances were videotaped and judged equally on content and presentation.

“Kayla did a stellar job performing in the local competition,” said pharmacy administration doctoral student Joseph A. Dikun, the APhA-ASP chapter’s co-adviser. “She delivered a clear, poised and professional counseling session among a field of worthy competitors. I was impressed with her ability to maintain control of the counseling session, always ensuring to deliver the most appropriate counseling points without forgetting the importance of being understanding and empathetic.”

Through this experience, Snow said she had learned how integral patient counseling is in the pharmacy profession.

“It’s so important to be able to effectively communicate and establish trust with a patient,” she said. “Counseling is a perfect opportunity to have a conversation with patients to equip them with the knowledge they need while also showing genuine care.”

Snow is using the skills lab in which she is enrolled to help prepare for the national competition.

“Practicing is the key to feeling prepared,” Snow said. “Each week, I have to prepare notes for patient counseling in our skills lab. This is so beneficial because I am constantly being exposed to new classes of medications and have to think about the best way to approach a new counseling session.”

Snow has a “great opportunity to shine” at the national competition, Dikun said.

“(Kayla’s) ability to speak to patients at their level will serve her well as she represents the School of Pharmacy at the national competition and in her future endeavors,” he said. “I, among others, look forward to working with Kayla over the next few weeks to assist her in preparing for the competition.”

Pharmacy Alumni Weekend Scheduled for April 4-5

Classes of 1954, '64, '74, '84, '89, '94 and 2004 celebrating reunions

Pharmacy alumni and Dean David D. Allen (second from right) enjoy last year's Scholarship Golf Tournament.

Pharmacy alumni and Dean David D. Allen (second from right) enjoy last year’s Scholarship Golf Tournament.

OXFORD, Miss. – The School of Pharmacy is encouraging all its graduates to register for Pharmacy Alumni Weekend, to be held April 4-5 in Oxford.

“I am greatly looking forward to reconnecting with our alumni during Pharmacy Weekend,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “It’s always a wonderful time of fun and fellowship.”

Celebrating reunions in conjunction with the event are the school’s classes of 1954, 64, ’74, ’84, ’89 and ’94 and the Pharm.D. class of 2004.

The weekend will kick off with the School of Pharmacy Scholarship Golf Tournament on Friday morning. All the tournament’s proceeds will fund the Pharmacy Alumni Chapter Scholarship, which became fully endowed in 2012. This year’s tournament starts at 10 a.m. at Mallard Pointe Golf Course.

That evening, the Dean’s Reception will be held at 6 in Brevard Hall (formerly Old Chemistry), hosted by Allen and sponsored in part by Bob Broadus and Allergan.

Saturday’s activities begin with a Continuing Education breakfast at 8 a.m. in Butler Auditorium at the Triplett Alumni Center. The Continuing Education program will immediately follow the breakfast.

A meeting for Pharmacy Alumni Chapter board members will be held at 12:30 p.m. in the McMillan Boardroom at The Inn at Ole Miss.

The day’s events include a 6 p.m. reception recognizing 1908 Society members, followed by an awards banquet and reunion dinner in the Ford Ballroom at The Inn. Besides honoring reunion classes at the banquet, the school will present its 2014 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award.

Scott Thompson, assistant director of the alumni association, urges all pharmacy alumni to attend.

“Pharmacy Weekend is a great opportunity to catch up with old classmates and make new memories,” Thompson said. “It’s a wonderful, meaningful event that celebrates all of our pharmacy alumni members.”

To register online, visit For more information, contact Thompson at

Planned Gift Honors Pharmacy Alumnus

Gladys Garrett pledges $100,000 to support scholarships, renovations

OXFORD, Miss. – Setting foot on the University of Mississippi campus brings back countless memories for Nashville native Gladys Garrett.

“In the ’40s, Ole Miss was nothing like it is now, and neither was Oxford,” Garrett said. “We didn’t even have a hotel. When my husband graduated, the neighbors put his family up so they could come to graduation. That’s how far we have come.”

Garrett has donated a planned gift of $100,000 to the UM School of Pharmacy. She recently visited the school to attend a luncheon in her honor.

“It was an absolute pleasure to meet Mrs. Garrett and to thank her for her commitment to the pharmacy school,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “Her gift will make a huge difference in the lives of our students and her generosity is deeply appreciated by all of us.”

Garrett is the widow of alumnus Marvin “Lynn” Garrett (BSPh 49), former owner of Lynn Garrett Drug Store in Nashville.

“My dad looked at being a pharmacist as a profession, not a job,” said Douglas Garrett, Lynn and Gladys Garrett’s son. “That included being a pharmacist, counselor between doctor and patient, community leader and friend. I am quite pleased that my mom is making this donation to support the university that gave my dad a vocation and principles for success.”

Half of Garrett’s donation will support Faser Hall renovations, while the other half will establish a scholarship endowment bearing the Garrett name. The school is updating the second floor of Faser Hall to include a state-of-the-art skills laboratory. A room in the new space will be named after the Garrett family.

Garrett said she wanted to give to the pharmacy school not only to honor her late husband but also to support a school that educates “some of the best pharmacists in the country.”

“Ole Miss has so many fine qualities,” Garrett said. “We hired many Ole Miss alumni. Whenever you get a good education, you can make a good living. That was the importance of the pharmacy school in my life.”

Garrett’s family, along with Allen, the school’s leadership team and students, attended the luncheon, where she was presented with a framed certificate.

“My family is close-knit, and they absolutely thought my husband was the best,” Garrett said. “They wanted to be (at the luncheon) because they are so proud.”

Keith Shelly (BSPh 78), owner of Donelson Drug Mart in Nashville, also attended the luncheon with his wife, Lori.

“I had the good fortune of knowing Lynn Garrett and to relate to him as a pharmacist, independent pharmacy owner and proud Ole Miss alum,” Shelly said. “He was, without question, one of the most passionate and dedicated individuals I have known, and I was honored to be his friend.

“To my lasting benefit, I was also afforded the opportunity to befriend his dear wife, Gladys, a generous, caring and thoughtful lady whose friendship has enriched my life immeasurably. So it is certainly no surprise to me, or anyone who knows Gladys, that she would make such a gesture, striving to enhance both the School of Pharmacy, as well as the lives of the future recipients of the Garrett scholarship endowment.”

For those students who will receive one of her scholarships, Garrett has a bit of timeless advice.

“Always put your best foot forward,” she said. “You’ll only do as well as what you put into anything.”

UM Participates in Pharmacist Day at the Capitol

More than 60 students help raise awareness of the profession

OXFORD, Miss. – Students at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy recently visited the Mississippi State Capitol to raise awareness of their chosen profession.

“Pharmacist Day at the Capitol is a chance to meet with legislators and speak about pharmacy, serve the community through health screenings and to see our beautiful capitol building,” said Katie McClendon, the pharmacy school’s interim assistant dean of student services. “It’s also an opportunity to bring together several pharmacy organizations, as well as a chance to catch up with pharmacists from around the state.”

At the Jan. 30 event, faculty and students provided blood pressure and glucose screenings, body fat analysis and flu shots to legislators and guests on the first floor of the capitol building. Covenant Pharmacy in Ridgeland donated the influenza vaccines.

More than 60 students participated, a record for the event.

“I think we had great attendance with more interest from students than ever before,” McClendon said. “We also had students from all four years of the program participate, which was the first time that’s happened.”

In addition to the School of Pharmacy, the Mississippi Pharmacists Association, Mississippi Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Mississippi Independent Pharmacies Association and the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy set up informational booths. Courtney Peacock, a fourth-year professional student from Madison, said participation in Capitol Day helped her learn about the “hard work that many of our state pharmacy organizations put into our relationships with legislators and senators.”

Cody Clifton, a second-year professional pharmacy student from Walnut, worked with faculty to organize the attendance of 30 students from the Oxford campus.

“Capitol Day is a way that we, as student pharmacists, can actively express our concern for the future of our profession,” Clifton said. “I believe it is very important to become an advocate early on in one’s career. As students we may not realize it, but just making our presence known on Capitol Day is a great way to advocate for pharmacy.”

Emily Higdon, a fourth-year professional student from Madison, worked at the table that offered health screenings. She said she appreciated the opportunity to discuss participants’ goals related to blood pressure, blood sugar levels and body mass index.

“If pharmacists and the state work together, we can continue to promote pharmacy progress in Mississippi, ultimately allowing for better patient care,” Higdon said.

McClendon said the event was special in a number of ways.

“Not only did we have the opportunity to talk with legislators and others in the Capitol, we also were able to reach out to people touring the Capitol,” she said. “It’s also a wonderful occasion to see so many pharmacy organizations working together for a common cause. We were recognized in the House, which was also an exciting moment.”