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Gatton’s new mentor program aims to help aspiring independent community pharmacists

Contributed • Nov 23, 2018 at 6:06 PM

Second-year pharmacy students interested in becoming independent community pharmacists will develop important leadership and business skills through a new mentorship launched by the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy at East Tennessee State University.

Seven students joined the first mentorship group and have been assigned to independent pharmacy owner mentors, who, beyond the development of crucial networking opportunities, will work one-on-one to help students prepare for their careers.

“Formally, the program is designed to last 24 months, but we anticipate the relationships will last a lifetime,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gray, program director and associate professor of pharmacy practice.

Inclusion in the program was application-based and highly competitive. The 2018 mentorship assignments are as follows (student named first, followed by mentor):

· Kellie Abbott — Dr. Courtney Pitre (’13), Courtney’s Thriftyway Pharmacy, Arnaudville, Louisiana.

· Holly Adams — Dr. Alan Corley, founder of Corley’s Pharmacies, Greeneville.

· Brianna Burdette — Dr. Autumn Wells, Family Drug Inc., Big Stone Gap, Virginia.

· Justi Curry — Dr. Corey Furman, Boone Drug Inc., Boone, North Carolina

· Dawnna Metcalfe — Randy DeBord, McFarland Apothecary, Morristown.

· Brady Ratliff — Dr. Will Giddings, Atchley Drug Center, Greeneville.

· Zach Wills — Dr. Jeff Ward, co-owner of Corley’s Pharmacy, Greeneville.

The mentorship program is part of the college’s Community Pharmacy Initiative, designed to enrich its students’ interest in community pharmacy, focusing on four key areas: independent pharmacy mentorship, residency training for postgraduates, community-based research and curricular enhancement.

“We are excited to launch our mentoring program as part of the Community Pharmacy Initiative, and see the impact it will have not only on our students but pharmacies in this region,” said Dr. Debbie Byrd, dean.

“Gatton was formed by this community 13 years ago, so it’s only appropriate that we launch a program dedicated to developing our students’ connection to the community pharmacy owners who helped get us started.”

Gray, who also serves as CPI chairman, noted that ETSU can accelerate the impact of medication experts by supporting innovative community pharmacy providers and engaging students in advanced pharmacy practices.

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