Mary Lee, PharmD, BCPS, FCCP
What is your current leadership position in ICHP?
Director, Organizational Affairs Committee
What benefits do you see in being active in a professional association such as ICHP?
What initially motivated you to get involved in ICHP?
- Get to work with pharmacists, who I don’t know, and I learn a lot from them. They have a wealth of practice experience and opinions on pharmacy. Their ideas often have application to my own work.
- When you graduate from pharmacy school, everyone tells you to go out there and make a difference. I feel like I am making a difference in the profession of pharmacy with the work I am doing at ICHP.
Originally, it was essential for the Chicago College of Pharmacy. All our students need institutional IPPE and APPE rotations and approximately 25% of our graduates take positions in institutional pharmacy. So, it was important for CCP to have good working relationships with existing and prospective partners. However, now, after working with ICHP for several years, many of the members are professional colleagues and friends. The partnership has experienced a great evolution over time.
Where did you go to pharmacy school?
Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science
Where have you trained or worked?
What special accomplishments have you achieved?
- 1971-1972: Prepharmacy coursework, Columbia University College of Pharmacy, New York City
- 1972-1976: BS Pharmacy, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science
- 1976-1977: Hospital pharmacy residency, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia.
- 1977-1979: Pharm. D., Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science
Describe your current area of practice and practice setting:
- As a faculty person: I was the first tenured female Pharmacy Practice member at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy.
- As an administrator: I was appointed Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Chicago College of Pharmacy when I was in 44 years old….at that time, that was young for a Dean.
- For scholarly activity: I have served as co-editor of the Pharmacotherapy Self Assessment Program (with John Murphy) for the last 2 editions, and will continue for the next edition. Approximately 5000 BCPS-certified pharmacists subscribe to this program and use it as a method for recertification. I have also edited Basic Skills in Interpreting Laboratory Data for the last 3 editions. This is one of ASHP’s most popular textbooks and the content is unique as a textbook for pharmacy education. Each edition has gotten better and better thanks to all my authors and reviewers.
Is there an individual you admire or look up to, or a mentor that has influenced your career?
- I started out in drug information and was the Director of the Drug Information Center at the University of Illinois Hospital, 1979-1982. The skills of literature retrieval, analysis, and application have been invaluable in all of my work through the years.
- I also developed expertise in men’s health, as I was the clinical pharmacist on a urological surgery service at UIH and the Jesse Brown Veterans Administration Hospital from 1980-1994.
- I currently am serving as Vice President and Chief Academic Officer of Pharmacy and Optometry Education at Midwestern University. I supervise four colleges, 2 in pharmacy and 2 in optometry. My responsibilities include mentoring/training deans; overseeing cost-effective use of facilities, financial, and personnel resources; and making sure that my colleges’ academic degree and residency programs achieve/maintain accreditation for the maximum cycle length. While doing administrative work, I am trying to break the mold of typical university administrators in that I try to keep productive in scholarly activity. This is definitely a challenge, but I think it is important.
What advice would you give to student pharmacists?
- Daniel Hussar, Ph.D., for his longevity in academic pharmacy and his altruism. He was my dean when I was at PCP&S.
- My father, who placed a high value on educating his children. This impacted my pharmacy career path.
- My brother, who was committed to helping others. His values shaped my thinking on many aspects of my life.
What pharmacy related issues keep you up at night?
- When a new opportunity presents itself, don’t think about it as extra work. Think about it as an opportunity to develop a new skill, work with people that you don’t know, an opportunity to accomplish something that leads to doors opening for you.
- Excellent time management skills are very important. They allow you to multi-task and get many things done at the same time.
- Teamwork skills are essential to your future work. Tasks are more enjoyable and successful when everyone on the team is rowing the boat in the same direction.
- Don’t burn bridges too early in your career. Pharmacy is a really small world and you will bump into the people you are trying to avoid again and again during your career.
I am very optimistic about pharmacy and the resilience of the profession. So, nothing keeps me up at night.
Do you have any special interests or hobbies outside of work?
Needlepoint, Cooking (but I am not too good at the latter)
Do you have a favorite restaurant or food?
What is your favorite place to vacation?
There is no place like home. Staycations are good. I travel a lot in my work during the week, so I enjoy being at home when possible.
What is the most interesting/unique fact about yourself that few people know?
My parents were immigrants to the U.S. after WWII and they ran a Chinese hand laundry. They wanted their 5 children to have a better life, so they really pushed all of us to do well in school so that we could go to college on scholarships.
What 3 adjectives would people use to best describe you?
Hard-working, Thoughtful, Bright