OXFORD, Miss. – Ashley Ellis, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Mississippi, is serving her community in a unique way as a member of the Leadership DeSoto Class of 2014.
Leadership DeSoto helps develop residents as potential leaders by enabling them to learn more about the county and its communities, said Ellis, a resident of Southaven.
“By bringing together a diverse group of people, there are opportunities to network and develop ideas to better serve and improve our county,” she said.
Ellis attended the group’s first meeting in November.
“We had a leadership development session at Bonne Terre in Nesbit, a team-building ropes course at Parkwood Hospital in Olive Branch and an economic development session at Future Electronics in Southaven,” she said. “We’ll also have sessions on Mississippi legislation, health care and education.”
Cheryl Sudduth, owner of Funderburk’s Pharmacy in Hernando, is serving as Ellis’ sponsor.
“From an independent pharmacy standpoint, I felt like this would give us a chance to network and develop new opportunities to provide clinical pharmacy services to businesses as well as the underserved population in DeSoto County,” Sudduth said.
Ellis, who hopes to raise her classmates’ awareness about how pharmacists can positively affect the health of Mississippians and improve the overall community, said it’s important that health care professionals like herself aspire to be community leaders.
“Local relationships with our patients, area providers and businesses are the best avenue to expanding clinical services,” she said. “In order for our profession to continue to move forward, we must make those outside of our profession aware of our impact on patient care.”
As a group project, the Leadership DeSoto Class of 2014 plans to raise awareness of the DeSoto County Foundation for Excellence in Education.
“Each year, teachers apply for grants to be used for innovative education projects and ideas in the classroom,” Ellis said. “Leadership DeSoto will be making visits to principals at each of the public and private schools in the county to let them know that teachers may now donate to this worthy cause using payroll deduction through United Way.”
Anyone interested in donating to the DeSoto County Foundation for Excellence in Education can contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Leadership DeSoto, email email@example.com.