The Pharmacist Leader March 2015

Dear Alumni and Friends,

One of the most important proposals in the University of Minnesota request to the legislature this year is called “Healthy Minnesota.” The request is based on the fact that despite ranking as one of the healthiest states in the country, Minnesota has significant challenges when it comes to diversity and providing care in underserved communities.

Additionally, there are current and projected shortages of health professionals in many rural and underserved urban communities. These shortages are particularly acute in primary care, dentistry, geriatrics and mental health (including pharmacists specializing in these fields).

Meeting these challenges will require new thinking and a movement toward more interprofessional, outcome-oriented care. This is where this request impacts pharmacy and pharmacists across the state. We are increasingly being included as an essential element of the interprofessional teams that are envisioned to help solve the problems of access to health care.

And although we have done a lot with our Duluth expansion to address the need for pharmacists in Greater Minnesota, we also need to look at ways to encourage and incentivize students to prepare to practice in fields such as geriatrics and mental health where there is the greatest need, and to practice in the underserved communities.

To support the state's workforce, health and economy, the University of Minnesota has proposed an investment of $11.5 million in each year of the biennium that aims to ensure that Minnesota remains one of the healthiest states in the nation with top-ranked health sciences programs, including pharmacy.

The proposal for Healthy Minnesota includes:

  • Developing a statewide network of up to six interdisciplinary primary care teaching clinics
  • Expanding education and training programs to address workforce shortages in dentistry, mental health, and geriatrics (including pharmacists)
  • Encouraging students from underrepresented communities to pursue health professional careers
  • Increasing scholarships and programs for students who choose to provide care in underserved communities
  • Creating a Minnesota Electronic Health Library

If funded, Healthy Minnesota will provide new community-based models of health care to better serve aging and diverse populations, a diverse and more robust health professional workforce and access to comprehensive clinical care information and resources for all Minnesotans.

The University of Minnesota is uniquely positioned to help move the state into the future, making sure all Minnesotans have access to the care they need, because of our major and critical role in training the next generation of health professionals, conducting breakthrough research, and delivering excellent patient care across the state.

The reason Minnesota ranks as one of the healthiest states is because we made investment in health care a priority decades ago. If we don't continue to invest in health as our population and challenges continue to evolve, our position as a national leader in health care is put at risk. Healthy Minnesota would help keep us on a path of innovation and leadership as we look for new ways to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of all Minnesotans.

The College of Pharmacy has worked hard to advance the ways that you, the pharmacists in practice, can serve your patients and get paid for it. Funding Healthy Minnesota will expand our ability to do that critically important part of our mission. I strongly encourage you to contact your legislators and voice your support for this initiative. Thank you.

Marilyn K. Speedie
Dean, University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy


Celebrating Leaders: Marilyn Speedie Receives Weaver Medal

Dean Marilyn Speedie received this year's Lawrence C. and Delores M. Weaver Medal, a distinguished award that recognizes service to education, the profession, research and the community. Her nominator wrote, "Dr. Speedie is exemplary of the mission, vision, values and accomplishments inherent within the Weaver Medal. Her leadership was demonstrated repeatedly as she moved the college ahead into a clear national stature position."

Michael Osterholm Will Give Melendy Lecture March 5 and 10

This year’s Melendy Lecture, “Emerging Infections in Modern World: A View From the Front Windshield and Rearview Mirror,” will be presented by Dr. Michael Osterholm, an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology. The Twin Cities lecture will be on Thursday, March 5, 12:15 p.m. in the Memorial Hall of McNamara Alumni Center. The Duluth lecture will be on Tuesday, March 10, 12:15 p.m. in 163/165 LifeSciences. Lunch will be provided to those who RSVP by Feb. 26 to or using this online form.

Join us at the APhA Meeting in San Diego

All alumni and friends are invited to join us at the Minnesota Night Reception at the American Pharmacists Association meeting in San Diego on Saturday, March 28, 9-11 p.m. at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Indigo A Room. Also, the following individuals and other Minnesota leaders will be recognized at the annual meeting:

  • Kelechi Aguwa, Class of 2012, will receive the Immunization Champion Award: Individual Practitioner. This award recognizes an individual within the profession of pharmacy that has made extraordinary contributions towards improved vaccination rates within their communities.
  • Professor Brian Isetts will receive the Hubert H. Humphrey Award, which recognizes APhA members who have made major contributions in government and legislative service at the local, state or national level.
  • Professor Philip Portoghese will receive the Takeru Higuchi Research Prize, which recognizes the highest accomplishments in pharmaceutical sciences, and is international in scope and stature. 
  • Professor Todd Sorensen will receive the Gloria Niemeyer Francke Leadership Mentor Award, which recognizes an individual who has promoted and encouraged pharmacists to attain leadership positions through example, acting as a role model and mentor.

Jon Schommer Named To Peters Chair In Pharmacy Practice Innovation

Jon Schommer, professor and associate head in the Department of Pharmaceutical Care & Health Systems, has been named the Peters Chair in Pharmacy Practice Innovation. This position is a rotating, two-year appointment for College of Pharmacy faculty. Schommer's appointment was made following an external panel review. As the Peters Chair, Schommer plans to collaborate with colleagues around the country and conduct the 2015 National Consumer Survey on the Medication Experience. 

Read more about the Peters Chair in Pharmacy Practice Innovation

Leadership Conversations Series

The spring Leadership Conversation series continues with this upcoming event:

Tuesday, April 14, 12:15-1:15 p.m. in 1-450 Moos Tower, Twin Cities campus (simulcast to 163/165 LifeSciences on the Duluth campus) with speaker Brian Bullock, Founder & CEO of The Burchfield Group.

This event is free, but RSVP is requested to The series is co-sponsored by the Center for Leading Healthcare Change and Minnesota Pharmacy Student Alliance/PLS. Learn more about the Leadership Conversation Series.

Give to the Max Day Results

Thank you to all alumni and friends who came together to celebrate philanthropy in Minnesota with a gift on Give to the Max Day on Nov. 13. Generous supporters helped the U of M raise a record amount, with 1,446 donors giving $344,336 through Give to the Max Day. Gifts designated to the College of Pharmacy are supporting everything from advancing our cutting- edge curriculum, expanding our robust research on life-saving drugs, and growing our pioneering pharmacist practice models. A sincere thank you to all who made it happen.

Introducing the Dean's Circle

The college recently launched its Dean’s Circle, which is designed to show our appreciation for and recognize our dedicated alumni and friends who provide sustaining support at leadership levels of $84 or more per month. The Dean’s Circle represents one of our most prominent and vital groups of supporters whose gifts fund many of the important initiatives that keep our students, our college and our profession’s commitment to public health vigorous and strong. Dean’s Circle members play an invaluable role in strengthening and shaping the future of our college and the students, patients and communities we serve. Support from our Dean's Circle members is critical to our success! Learn more at


May 1 –Annual Live and Silent Auction
Held at the TCF Bank Stadium on the Twin Cities campus, DQ Club Room. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., live auction is 6-9 p.m. and silent auction is 4:30-7:30 p.m. Light appetizers will be served; cash bar available. Tickets are $15 guests, $10 for students. More information on how to buy tickets will be available soon.

Aug. 9-11 – RICH Health Summit
“FoodMedicine, Place and Wellbeing” will be held at the Continuing Education and Conference Center in St. Paul.
Fall - Pre-Football Game Receptions
The College of Pharmacy will host a pre-game reception before every home football game starting three hours before kick-off. Food will be served. All students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends are invited. More details about the Pre-Football Game Receptions

Sept. 25-26 – Homecoming
Save the date for Homecoming activities. The Gophers will take on Ohio in the football game. More details will be available closer to the date.

Nov. 6 – Women Impacting Healthcare Conference
Held at McNamara Alumni Center on the Twin Cities campus. More information will be available soon at