One of the most important aspects of the College of Health Sciences is without question, our faculty and staff. Our people are enthusiastic, motivated professionals who are, themselves, answering the calling of their own lives. They bring extensive professional experiences into the classroom, making your educational experience deeper and richer.
Ilaina S. Andrews has found working in the dean’s office of McWhorter School of Pharmacy a rewarding experience. Andrews, a native of Andalusia, Ala., worked as a sales representative for Armstrong World Industries, marketing commercial insulation to contractors in territories from St. Charles, La., to Tallahassee, Fla. She has lived in New Orleans, La., and Houston, Texas, but has called Homewood home for the past 28 years. Married with three daughters and a grandson, Andrews enjoys gardening. She strives to hold true to the teachings of Hebrew 12:1–3. "[It] is a Scripture that speaks to me on how I should meet life’s challenges by persevering in running the race God has marked out for me. I’m not a runner, but I know it takes perseverance to finish the race."
When John Arnold joined the faculty of McWhorter School of Pharmacy six years ago, it was like coming home. "My mother and father both graduated from Samford University. My mother graduated from the school of education and was an elementary school teacher for 30 years. My father graduated from the school of pharmacy," said Arnold who worked as a clinical and staff pharmacist at various locations, including Children’s Hospital of Alabama. "I am just pleased and honored to be faculty member at this wonderful school and university," he said.
Jennifer Beall has learned there is no place like home. As part of a military family, Beall grew up living overseas. Before joining the military, both her parents attended Samford. "My dad went during the day, and my mom went at night. They would trade me off in the caf at dinner," she said. After graduating from McWhorter School of Pharmacy in 1996, Beall moved to Abilene, Texas, and worked in a hospital pharmacy before returning home to Samford and joining the faculty in 2000. The opportunity has allowed her to live out her favorite scripture, Colossians 3:23, "Whatever work you do, put yourself into it, as those who are serving not merely other people, but the Lord." She witnesses the fruits of her labor every time she gets an email from a former student. "It’s so rewarding for me to watch them grow as a pharmacist and even get to see some of my students become teachers. To be able to share experiences on that level is very fulfilling."
Sandra Boyken’s relationship with Samford University began in 1997 after many years in the accounting department at a communications company. As senior program coordinator for the drug information service center, she is constantly developing her office and computer skills, as well as learning new programs. Boyken began taking evening classes at Samford in 2002 in what was then known as Metro College in order to complete her degree. She still counts receiving her diploma as one of her greatest accomplishments. She believes she would not have fulfilled her dream without the support of her family and the McWhorter School of Pharmacy family. In her spare time, Boyken enjoys spending time with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and large extended family. Her hobbies include crafts, movies, reading and camping.
Amy Broeseker believes her faculty position at Samford University is a vivid example of God's plan for her life. "It is very clear to me that God wanted me at Samford," she said. "By seeing the joy of helping others through the work of my father (a teacher) and my mother (a nurse), I thought I might enjoy the combination of those two vocations by teaching in the health-care field someday. During the last year of my fellowship, I prayed for God's direction for my next steps. Over the next several months, many people and situations pointed me to this special place." During her spare time, she enjoys her passions for music—she sings in her church choir—mountains and college sports. Her life verse is Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Many would be surprised to know that Marshall Cates considered other career options. "Early in my pharmacy career, I almost joined the Air Force Reserve. I was already working with veterans who were dealing with various mental illnesses, and I seriously considered joining the reserves in order to have an impact on the mental health of military personnel." Cates has been on faculty at McWhorter School of Pharmacy since 1995 after working as a clinical pharmacy specialist in psychiatry in a veterans affairs medical center. Since joining Samford University's faculty, he has worked tirelessly to get pharmacy students and pharmacists to look at mental illness, mentally ill patients and psychopharmacotherapy in a more positive way. Cates believes the truth of Aristotle's words, "Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all." He looks forward to continuing his career at Samford and to his daughter attending in fall 2015.
Dr. Chang has a strong interest in quantitative methodology in health services research. His research generally focuses on application of statistical/econometrics methodology in examining issues related to health care utilization, physician decision making, hospital management, health policy evaluation, effectiveness of medical care delivery (pharmaceutical care), and pharmaceutical outcomes in diseases. In particular, he has a strong disease-specific research interest in outcomes evaluation in chronic diseases (i.e. asthma, diabetes, and cancer), and the study of economic outcomes (healthcare cost analysis) related with pharmacotherapy. Dr. Chang has led and participated in several research projects in the areas of health outcomes, healthcare management, patient-centered medical home, physician-prescribing behaviors and pharmaceutical health services research.
When Eva Click returned to the workforce in 2005 after many years of raising her family, Samford University was her first experience with academia. Click had previously worked as a cost accountant for a bank holding company, a heavy manufacturing company and a transportation company. She was also active with the Hoover Beautification Board, Hoover Comprehensive Policy Plan Committee, and fund-raising for public schools when her children attended. "The pharmacy school has provided many opportunities for growth and many wonderful people to work with. I feel very blessed," she said.
Erika Cretton-Scott was drawn to Samford five years ago because of its focus in and dedication to teaching. Cretton-Scott for whom English is not her first language, believes Albert Einstein's words, "A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."
Danielle Cruthirds arrived at Samford University six years ago after spending a few years performing pharmacology research at various institutions of higher learning. "My position at McWhorter School of Pharmacy allows me to spend my time primarily educating future pharmacists, but also to continue to foster my interest in research," she said. Along with a fellow faculty member, Cruthirds has developed and implemented aseptic technique pharmacy practice experiences into the pharmacy curriculum. In her spare time, she enjoys Cross-Fit workouts.
Renee DeHart loves the opportunities she has received at Samford University. "I came to Samford after growing up in New Jersey and living in Florida because of the 'family' environment I felt here. I wouldn't trade it for anything. There are just so many opportunities here for both student and faculty members' professional and personal growth," she said. DeHart worked in McWhorter School of Pharmacy for 15 years before leaving and returning in 2012. She loves collecting frogs because it reminds her to Fully Rely on God.
B. DeeAnn Dugan came to Samford University five years ago to further her professional growth, but has discovered much more. "What I have found here is not only mentors to help foster the growth I was looking for, but also an intellectual community based upon faith, respect and family," she said. Dugan has worked with the Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative, the American Pharmacist Association Foundation and Project IMPACT: Diabetes to consistently demonstrate the value of pharmacists working with providers to care for high-risk, low-income patients with diabetes.
Kim Eckert sees being hired in August 2012 for a position in McWhorter School of Pharmacy as a huge accomplishment. She also believes it is reflective of her favorite scripture, Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." "When the full-time position opened up, I jumped at the opportunity. I love working with the pharmacy school and enjoy working with everyone here. It is nice to look forward to coming to work."
C. Bruce Foster has been on the Samford University staff for more than 30 years. Foster was working at another university when he was contacted by Joe Dean, who later became dean of McWhorter School of Pharmacy, about an admission position. "When I was hired in 1981, I never imagined I would still be working at Samford 30-plus years later," he said. When he is not overseeing the admission process, Foster enjoys traveling in the American West, especially to national parks.
Since deciding to come to Samford University 10 years ago, Maisha Freeman has no regrets. "When I was searching for a position in academia, I wanted to pursue a service-oriented institution," she said. "Due to Samford’s commitment to pursing me and their interest in my development, I chose to come here. Since making that decision, I have not looked back and found that it has been one of the best decisions that I ever made. My presence at Samford has allowed me to give back in areas that I would not have dreamed of before." Since joining the McWhorter School of Pharmacy faculty, Freeman has secured a grant for the school. In her free time, she loves to do science experiments with her children.
Greg Gorman joined McWhorter School of Pharmacy staff three years ago, and has given students lots of new opportunities. "I came to Samford University…to establish a research program in the pharmacy school to allow students the opportunity to conduct laboratory research with faculty members in the pharmaceutical sciences," he said. Gorman also established the Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Institute, giving students the chance to conduct research and be authors on posters and peer-reviewed publications.
Monty Hogewood believes he has found his niche at Samford University—especially after quickly discovering what he did not want to do. "I attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for nine days," he revealed. Hogewood started his Samford journey 21 years ago as director of alumni affairs. Over the years, he has served in several capacities in university advancement, including his current position as director of development and alumni relations. He has also had the honor of seeing his wife and three adult children become Samford alums. Hogewood, a certified fund raising executive, works diligently to raise funds for Samford by focusing on customer service and relationship building. His years at the school have helped him value "being accepted and allowed to represent Samford as an employee and parent even though I’m not an alumnus of the university."
McWhorter School of Pharmacy Interim Dean Michael D. Hogue sees his position at Samford as a huge honor. Hogue, a native of rural southern Illinois, was initially drawn to Samford as an undergraduate because of its Christian mission and values. He ultimately met his wife, Heather, and thanks to professors who mentored him, he discovered his professional path while a student. When he was given the opportunity to come back to the faculty at Samford after years of being a community pharmacy owner and clinical pharmacist in ambulatory care, Hogue agreed. He believes the pharmacy school faculty and staff have accomplished a lot of great things during his time there, including a revamp of the curriculum. "The Lord has called me to serve here at Samford to help shape the lives of aspiring pharmacists just as my professors did for me. It is my hope that God will use me in some small way to accomplish His purpose at Samford."
Peter J. Hughes’ passion for his work seems to be in his blood. "My great-grandfather was a successful community pharmacist. He was the son of immigrant parents from Switzerland who traveled to the U.S. from France on the same ship with the unassembled Statue of Liberty," he said. Hughes, an alumnus of McWhorter School of Pharmacy, values the relationships he has built over the years. "What started out as a place to come for pharmacy school has become so much more. I entered school at the pharmacy school and went through the program, I made so many lasting, positive relationships with my classmates and faculty members. These same faculty members who gave me the gift of mentorship have inspired me to pass that gift forward to the students with whom I interact. It is an honor to work here."
Maryam Iranikhah joined the Samford University faculty five years ago. A 2002 graduate of McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Iranikhah did her residency at a joint Samford University/Jefferson County health department residency. She was honored for her hard work in 2011 when she received the Margaret Self Propst Pharmacy Teacher of the Year award. Iranikhah believes the truth of Romans 12:10, "Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other."
Joan Jackson owes much of longevity at Samford University to her son. As he was entering his senior year of high school in 1993, she decided she wanted to work at Samford because he wanted to attend. Her son eventually went on to graduate from McWhorter School of Pharmacy. In 1996, Jackson began taking classes through the adult studies program, ultimately receiving her undergraduate degree in 2005. "I have worked my entire 19 years at Samford in the pharmacy school and feel so blessed to have been a part of both the employee and student aspect of the university," she said. "As an employee, I feel the people with whom I work/serve through my position in continuing education have been an amazing blessing. I have made forever friends through this job."
Jeffrey Kyle has seen Samford University from a number of perspectives—as a student, alumni and faculty member. "As a student I was drawn to Samford by quality of education, the relatively small class size, the relationships with classmates and faculty, and the opportunity to learn in a faith-based environment. After graduation, I found that Samford prepared me well for the challenges of my profession. As alumni, I kept close ties with Samford both with classmates and faculty alike. In 2008, I had the opportunity to come back and be a part of something very special, something I always believed in. Now as a current faculty member in the school of pharmacy, just as I was invested in, now I have the opportunity to invest in others and repay the university and the school for what they gave me," said Kyle who has been honored with the Margaret Self Propst Teacher of the Year award.
When Ronda Lacey was asked by the dean of McWhorter School of Pharmacy to present a continuing education program on pharmacy law for the faculty, she didn't think much of it. "After presenting the seminar and answering a number of questions, the dean said that he felt my interview went well," she said. Lacey has been with the department of pharmaceutical, social and administrative sciences for eight years. During that time, she has taught the pharmacy school class that had a 100 percent pass rate on the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination. "It is an honor to work with students in a Christian university and help them through their educational journey," said Lacey who holds a black belt in aikido and is a competitive sporting clays shooter.
Since he arrived at McWhorter School of Pharmacy in 1986, Roger Lander has worked hard to make a difference. "I came here because of a desire to become more involved in pharmacy education and to develop a research program in the college of pharmacy," he said. "I worked within the schools Pharmacokinetics Center for three years, but then went back into pharmacy practice." Lander has helped to expand the international involvement at the pharmacy school, including student rotations in the United Kingdom, Indonesia and Vietnam as well as offering studying/training opportunities at Samford University for foreign pharmacists. During his free time, he enjoys woodworking.
David R. Luthin first set foot on Samford University's campus seven years ago when he interviewed for his current position as associate professor, and he didn't waste any time blazing trails. "I had spent 11 years in drug discovery for a large pharmaceutical company and realized there was something missing in my life," he said. "I felt completely at home here at Samford and have found what was missing: service to others." Luthin's hard work was rewarded in 2012 when he was named Pharmaceutical, Social and Administrative Sciences Faculty Member of the Year at McWhorter School of Pharmacy. He has also found that his passion for serving others extends beyond the Samford campus--he serves as cubmaster for Pack 367 and assistant scoutmaster for Troop 367 at Riverchase United Methodist Church. People would be surprised at "how much time I spend in a scout uniform," he said.
When Betty McCullough came to Samford University in 1999, she never anticipated the doors of opportunity that would open for her. McCullough originally worked in Cumberland School of Law before transferring to McWhorter School of Pharmacy in 2002. She decided to go back to college and received her bachelor’s degree in 2007 on the same day as her youngest son. "Upon completion of my degree, I have had opportunities open up for me that I never dreamed possible. I have now co-authored numerous posters for presentation at national organizational meetings, co-authored several manuscripts, presented several posters at national organization conferences and was asked to be a presenter/speaker at two different national organizations' conferences. I never thought as a staff member I would have these wonderful learning and research opportunities and am so thankful for these wonderful learning experiences," she said.
Anna Meador knows the power of patience. Thanks to a Samford University pharmacy residency at Christ Health Center, Meador learned how to trust all things would get done in the perfect time. This skill, coupled with assistance from Samford employees and faith in her favorite scripture, Philippians 4:6-7—"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"—helped Meador start and manage a nonprofit Christian pharmacy in an inner-city Birmingham community.
Cheryl Miller joined McWhorter School of Pharmacy five years ago after 25 years of teaching chemistry, AP chemistry and physics at Chelsea High School. In her current position as lab manager, Miller instructs first-year pharmacy students. Her hobbies include making earrings and other types of casual jewelry.
Katrina Mintz recently joined the Samford University family, and she is ready to share her dreams. "While I’m new to Samford, I continue to see a vision for pharmacy education that is based on serving Christ and others," she said. Mintz’s career has lead her through the ranks of professional education. She started as an English/reading teacher in K–12 and has worked at several colleges where she has gained perspective on the changing marketplace of higher education and its global reach. "I am excited about where Samford University will emerge as a leader in innovative higher education in the years to come," said Mintz, who has completed eight marathons.
Pilar Murphy came back to Samford University to finish what she started. As a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice resident, Murphy was a part of the Sowing Seeds of Hope program in Perry County, Ala., which worked with the less fortunate and provided a cardiovascular risk reduction clinic. "When looking for a place to start my career, I compared every job opportunity to the work I was able to do at McWhorter School of Pharmacy," she said. "I came back to the pharmacy school to complete the work I had begun as a resident. I am not only enjoying precepting students, but making contact with other Black Belt preceptors to make sure they are having a good experience working with our students and acting as a liaison between them and the school of pharmacy." Murphy was recognized on the cover of the August 2013 edition of Pharmacy Today and one day hopes to do foreign missions.
Patricia Naro is part of a legacy. "Three generations of my family attended or are attending Samford," she said. Naro has been employed at Samford for 13 years and has helped implement and execute the introductory pharmacy practice experience program, which was a significant curricular change from the early practice experience. She believes the truths of Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Him with strengthens me." "My mother always quoted this, and I live by this verse," she said.
Jonathan Parker spends a lot of time traveling to different colleges and universities to meet potential applicants to McWhorter School of Pharmacy, and when he returns home, he has plenty to keep him busy and help him unwind. "I own and live on a farm in Cullman, Ala.," he said. "Until December 2005, it was a commercial poultry farm with approximately 48,000 chickens. Now it is a cattle farm with about 50 cattle." A member of the pharmacy school staff since 2002, Parker counts himself fortunate to work at Samford. "I truly believe I have the best job in the world . . . I get to meet some very interesting and nice people, and along the way, I am blessed to make some really great friends. This is where I plan to be until I retire or the Lord calls me home."
Roger Parker has been employed by Samford University for 33 years. "I left Samford one time for University of Cincinnati in the late 1970s, but returned in 1980 because I felt like a stranger in a foreign land," said Parker who served as faculty chairman of the values council for 17 years. He loves Ephesians 2:8, "For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."
When Valerie Prince signed up for a Samford University interview during her residency, she was so sure she was underqualified, she was going to scratch her name off the list. "The McWhorter School of Pharmacy administrator who was conducting interviews saw me and told me she had just had a cancellation and she persuaded me to come in and talk to her. I was contacted a month later for an on-campus interview and was hired by Samford into my first professional position post residency," she said. Now, almost 20 years later, Prince is still hard at work. "I’ve had the privilege to work one on one with 15 to 18 students a year precepting them at clinical practice sites, which is the type of teaching I love best," said Prince. Prince is proud of the students she has influenced to believe in themselves when they thought they weren’t capable of assuming leadership positions or performing in a clinical environment.
Robert Riggs once considered himself to be a modern-day Jonah. Riggs was not looking to move back to Birmingham more than 20 years ago when he and his wife attended a church homecoming. “The associate dean at that time at McWhorter School of Pharmacy stopped as we were getting ready to leave and told us about a faculty opening. At lunch a few miles down the road, my wife informed me that the Lord wanted us back in Birmingham,” he said. Riggs, who has worked in several capacities, successfully chaired the promotion and tenure document revision committee for the pharmacy school.
Ami Teague Shell officially joined Samford University’s faculty in 2008, but she has been a familiar face at McWhorter School of Pharmacy since 2004. Shell served as an external preceptor for fourth-year Samford pharmacy students while working in an indigent care HIV clinic in Birmingham. She recently switched practice sites from a specialized HIV indigent care environment to a private primary care type clinic. She looks forward to continuing to uphold I Thessalonians 5:16–18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Pamela Sims came to Samford University in 1989 and likes teaching in a variety of health professions including pharmacy, dentistry and nurse anesthesia and learning from students while teaching them. Sims enjoys snow skiing and wake boarding and does Olympic weightlifting and a form of CrossFit for workouts.
Jessica Skelley has had a longstanding relationship with Samford University since 2004. “I met my husband here as a student, found my profession, took my first ‘real’ job here, started my family here. I’ve actually never left Samford since arriving as a freshman and can’t imagine anywhere I would rather be.” Skelley was rewarded for her commitment to Samford in 2013 when she received the Margaret Self Propst Pharmacy Teacher of the Year award, which is presented annually to a faculty member who is elected by the student body as exemplifying exceptional teaching and mentoring. “It was a very significant honor and the most rewarding one I have received both professionally and personally,” she said.
After practicing in a hospital pharmacy for many years, Rachel Slaton decided to join McWhorter School of Pharmacy in 2009. Slaton was charged with developing the skills labs and seminars for a course series in integrated pharmacy applications, and she successfully redesigned the drug literature evaluation course. In 2011, she was appointed to a tenure-track faculty position in drug information where she currently practices.
Since arriving at Samford University five years ago shortly after completing his residency training, Steve Stricker has blazed trails. Stricker established McWhorter School of Pharmacy’s first practice in hematology/oncology and has worked to build a program in oncology that was recognized with the 2013 Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association National New Practitioner of the Year award. Stricker is also a classically trained musician who still enjoys performing when given the opportunity. “I was initially drawn to Samford because of a passion for teaching students in a clinical setting as well as what I viewed as an outstanding opportunity to work with an amazing group of faculty members who collectively make Samford feel like home,” he said.
Rachel Thomas graduated from McWhorter School of Pharmacy and because it was such an excellent experience, she decided to complete a residency in drug information at the school. She joined the faculty in 2012. Thomas, who enjoys playing the piano, previously worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Blake, and daughter, Claire.
Paula Thompson takes her commitment to students very seriously. “Any time a student seeks me out for advice or support, I know I have an opportunity to have an impact on their lives,” she said. While teaching at another pharmacy school, Thompson had an epiphany. “I decided I would be a better teacher of clinicians if I had clinical training myself. I looked at schools of pharmacy all over the country, but I was most impressed with Samford and came here to earn my Pharm.D.” Thompson eventually accepted a faculty position in McWhorter School of Pharmacy where she has worked in various positions for 19 years. “I feel blessed to work with wonderful faculty and staff colleagues in the education of exceptional students.”
When Bruce Waldrop took a job to make some money, he didn’t realize it would lead to a career.“Originally being a hotel and restaurant management major at UAB, I got a job as a pharmacy technician to help pay the bills. I became fascinated with pharmacy and decided to change majors. I applied only to Samford and was fortunate to be admitted to the program. Part-time work as a tutor in my pharmacology course prompted me to consider pharmacy academia,” he said. In 2003, Waldrop received the opportunity to come back to Samford and teach at McWhorter School of Pharmacy. He has been honored with teacher of the year, most effective lecturer and best lecturer awards for his hard work. “I couldn’t be happier with my Samford education and all the great students that I am able to interact with everyday,” he said.
Robert Wang brings significant experience to McWhorter School of Pharmacy. Wang, who joined the faculty in 2012, recently received his first grant from the National Institutes of Health. He has also received research grants from Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the American Heart Association. Wang enjoys teaching and interacting with students, and during his career, he has trained three Ph.D. students, two post-doctoral fellows and numerous undergraduate students in their research. He has significant experience in reviewing grant proposals for funding agencies such as the Italian Telethon Foundation, reviewing manuscripts for leading scientific journals such as Nature Chemical Biology, chairing sessions in international scientific conferences, and serving on admissions committee. He loves Samford University’s Christian environment and looks forward to integrating his teaching with scientific discovery.
Terri Wensel knows the importance of home and family. After the birth of her daughter while living in North Carolina, Wensel and her husband, Brian, desperately wanted to return to Birmingham. “This job opened up at the precise right time for us. I feel fortunate that I was able to stay in academia within a faith-based, private school. This setting allows me to interact with students on a more personal level than I would be able to do elsewhere.” Wensel has been involved with the development of end-of-year exams within McWhorter School of Pharmacy. “This is a positive step forward in ensuring what we already know, that we have the best students around,” she said. Wensel, who loves anything craft related, has a daughter, Claire; son, Ethan; and dog, Lynx.
After working in the undergraduate admissions office for almost five years, Peggy West transferred to McWhorter School of Pharmacy. West, a native of Rhode Island, lives by Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Whitney White believes her presence at Samford University is a direct result of God’s plan for her life. McWhorter School of Pharmacy was the only school to which White applied after changing her career pursuits from medicine to pharmacy, a change that was aligned better with her personal and professional goals. “I entered pharmacy school confident in my knowledge from prior education, and I walked away with exemplary training from some of the most intelligent, compassionate and supportive faculty anywhere.” White returned to Samford after her residency to pursue a career in academia and is now going into her fifth year of teaching. “I feel so blessed for the opportunity to share with students my experience as a practitioner and to hopefully instill in them a love for learning and a true heart for patient care,” she said.