October Faces of Pharmacy

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October Faces of Pharmacy:

Lakesha M. Butler, PharmD

Lakesha M. Butler, PharmD, is a change agent with deep expertise in the area of diversity, equity, inclusion, bias and racial justice. She is a professor of pharmacy practice, clinical pharmacist, and director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) School of Pharmacy. Her clinical practice site is at two primary care clinics that serve underserved populations. She is the sole clinical pharmacist providing medication management services at the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, a clinic that serves uninsured patients of St Louis, Missouri, and at the SIUE WE Care Clinic, a clinic located in East St Louis, Illinois, that serves underserved patients. In the classroom, she has developed and coordinates a required pharmacy graduate level course that addresses health disparities, health beliefs, health literacy, systemic racism and cultural competency. Additionally, she teaches on topics of women’s health, leadership, over-the-counter products, communication and pharmacy skills lab.

Dr Butler is the immediate past president of the National Pharmaceutical Association (NPhA) in which she facilitated action with excellence through advocacy, building new collaborations, organizational excellence and transformational branding. Dr Butler led the collaboration of 14 national pharmacy organizations in taking action against racial injustice. Additionally, NPhA membership increased more than 50% under her leadership. She uses her skills, expertise and passion to take any tasks she leads from good to great, while operating strategically and building effective relationships with others. Her personal brand statement is: “I use my innovative strategies, courageous influence, compassionate heart and effective communication to educate and inspire others to succeed.”

Her leadership and impact spans broadly at the school, institutional level, nationally and in her community serving in various leadership roles. Dr Butler has been featured on CBS News with Major Garrett, NBC media and various other national podcasts and platforms. She is the co-editor and author of the pharmacy textbook “Patient Communication for Pharmacy: A Case-Study Approach on Theory and Practice.” She has additionally published numerous peer-reviewed articles and is a highly sought-after national presenter. Recently, Dr Butler co-authored the peer-reviewed article, “Systemic racism: Pharmacists’ role and responsibility.” She was also recently appointed, as the sole pharmacist, to the National Medical Association COVID-19 Commission on Vaccines and Therapeutics.

Dr Butler received her doctorate of pharmacy from Mercer University in Atlanta, GA, and completed a pharmacy practice residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her faith, humility, passion, servant leadership and top 3 strengths of maximizer, strategic and relator provide the right combination of secret sauce to her recipe of success.  

Edward Ullmann, RPh, MPA

Edward Ullmann, RPh, MPA, a dedicated and visionary pharmacist, and also a scientist, is currently the chief executive officer and pharmacy manager at Wellness Rx (www.WellnessRxLLC.com) in Tannersville, New York.  

After expanding his professional strengths into other areas of Wellness management, Dr Ullmann was approached several years ago by the region's business leaders to create a much-needed pharmacy and health care location. He accepted this challenge to bring his vision, knowledge and wisdom to an area underserved by the pharmacy and wellness industry. He has returned to his pharmacy roots and supports the health needs of the Mountain Top region of the Catskill Mountains.  

Since then, he has created and built the Wellness Rx Pharmacy into a trusted member of his rural community, where health decisions are often needed to be made immediately. What sets Ed apart is his dedication to blending traditional pharmacy with natural medicine. He directs a talented staff that blends natural wellness remedies right on the premises at the pharmacy in Tannersville, which are very popular and proven effective. 

Many patients and customers travel up to 30-40 miles to receive his attention and professional care. Also, a unique feature is that his unique pharmacy is housed in a converted Victorian house that lends to its homey feel and relaxed healing setting.

Ed is a proud and valued board member on the President's Advisory Council at the Albany School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He also serves as an Adjunct Experiential Faculty member for the school. 

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Services, an MPA degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, and was a National HMO Fellow at Georgetown Medical School, Washington, DC.

DR Ullmann has developed over 30 start-up companies, and for 16 years served as an HMO founder and CEO at Wellcare. He has also been a pharmacy district manager, a mental health director, county legislator, and was owner/operator of the world-renowned Warm Mineral Springs in Florida. He was named “1994 HealthCare Entrepreneur of the Year in Southern New England” by Inc. Magazine, and received the CHIP Visionary Award from Sarasota County, Florida in 2007.

And the best part is, he is not done yet, for tomorrow another wellness challenge will be presented and tackled successfully with skill, knowledge, wisdom and experience followed by ease and smiles.

Kathleen Vo, PharmD

I have been in the pharmacy field for 22 years. During these 22 years, I have worked as a pharmacy clerk, pharmacy technician, pharmacy intern and pharmacist. I have worked in community pharmacy setting for 18 years. One of my favorite parts of community pharmacy was growing my customer base by providing the level of personal service that is reminiscent of small-town independent pharmacies. I have the opportunities to work with many wonderful pharmacist preceptors who helped mentor and shape my career. I enjoy working with and mentoring my team of pharmacy technicians, pharmacy students, pharmacy interns, and pharmacists. During my years working in community pharmacy setting, I have witnessed how it has grown and changed. After practicing pharmacy in the community setting for so many years, I felt I was ready for a career change and challenge. I wanted to challenge myself and continue to grow professionally. I was offered the opportunity to join a managed healthcare plan (Partnership HealthPlan of California) in 2016, as a clinical pharmacist.

Managed care is so different from community pharmacy, but it’s been a wonderful experience. I have been able to leverage my community pharmacy experience as I transitioned into my new role. My team is wonderful and supportive. I enjoy the opportunities to engage with my team and help them further their professional development in a collaborative environment. The challenges of working in a managed care setting are different from a community pharmacy setting; however, I still have the rewarding aspect of being a mentor and pharmacist preceptor. I believe it is an honor bestowed on me to help develop others, as my preceptors and mentors have helped develop my professional career.

Like many pharmacists, I faced the difficulty of maintaining a work-life balance. My husband, children and family are very supportive of my career and I admit, as cliché as it sounds, I would not be here without their support. My family understood that I had to work evenings, weekends, and holidays when I was in community pharmacy. Whichever direction my pharmacy career continues to take me, I am fortunate to have the support of my family and an amazing pharmacy team. It is a true honor to have been selected as one of PTCE’s October Faces of Pharmacy.

Joe Watson, RPh

Joe Watson, PharmD, was born in 1944 in Auburn, Alabama. After graduating from Auburn High School, he went on to attend Auburn University where he met the love of his life and his soon to be wife, Evelyn. Evelyn's father owned Byrd Drug Co in Troy, AL. Joe spent his summers working at Byrd Drugs for the remainder of his college career. On February 14, 1966, at the age of 22, he took over as owner and pharmacist after the untimely passing of Evelyn’s father, Marvin Byrd. Since then, Joe Watson has tirelessly served the members of his community through his pharmacy and deli. With no plans of retiring, Joe still enjoys spending his days in the pharmacy serving the people of Pike County with his signature smile and compassion. Byrd Drug Co has become a landmark in the Downtown Troy area, all thanks to Joe's hard work and dedication. So whether you’re stopping by to grab some of our famous chicken salad and a Coke float from the deli or picking up medications from the pharmacy, Byrd Drug Co’s nostalgic feeling of "the good ol’ days" will surely make you feel right at home!