Leader of the PackDog Groomer Turned UH Pharmacy Prof Honored

April 5, 2007

Prof. Lynn SimpsonAfter building a successful dog grooming business, a University of Houston pharmacy educator has earned national honors for grooming the next generation of pharmacy professionals.

Lynn Simpson, a clinical associate professor and executive vice chair of pharmacy practice at the UH College of Pharmacy, received the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists’ 2007 Outstanding Chapter Advisor Award at the organization’s annual meeting March 19. UH is only the second college to have two faculty members among the award winners since the honor was created in 1988 by APhA-ASP. Shara Zatopek, UH College of Pharmacy associate dean for administration and clinical associate professor, received the award in 1995.

“Although I’m honored to receive this award, I really believe it’s the students who deserve it,” Simpson said. “Our students are amazing. Not only are they dedicated to the pharmacy profession and each have enormous leadership potential, but they all have a great sense of humor and let you share in their personal experiences.”

Simpson was singled out for her spirit, energy and impact on students during her 10 years as a UH faculty member and adviser for the student chapter. Through her support and encouragement, eight UH pharmacy students have held regional or national leadership posts in APhA-ASP and two students have won the organization’s National Patient Counseling Competition, marking the first time a college has won consecutive first-place titles in the event.

“Dr. Simpson is always ready to offer guidance and suggestions, while insisting that we make our own decisions,” said Jon Arends, president of the UH chapter of APhA-ASP that nominated Simpson for the award. “Her dedication to patient counseling is unparalleled, and she challenges students to continually work on our skills for the ultimate benefit of the patient.”

A member of the college’s inaugural class of Pharm.D. graduates in 1996, Simpson also has personal insight into what it takes to compete at the national level as a student. She was among the top 10 finalists in the National Patient Counseling Competition while completing her pharmacy education at UH.

Before her career in pharmacy, Simpson owned and operated dog grooming and pet supply shops for 14 years when she decided to sell her business and change careers. She initially considered getting into the travel industry, but discovered pharmacy after it appeared at the top of a career assessment profile in which “travel agent” came in at the bottom.

After working part time at a community pharmacy for a few years, Simpson knew it was the perfect fit and enrolled at UH. Despite her original intent to open her own pharmacy and veterinary compounding shop, her entry into pharmacy education came when she was volunteered to teach a pharmacy course based on her knowledge, enthusiasm and active participation in student organizations.

Simpson has been a faculty member of the UH College of Pharmacy and served as the APhA-ASP chapter adviser at UH for 10 years. She also works alongside an endocrinologist at a Houston lipid primary prevention clinic, where she continues to practice and hone her patient counseling and therapeutics skills. Committed to pharmacy education on many levels, Simpson and her husband, Bill, also established a student scholarship endowment at the college in 2005.

“I just love working with students, both in the classroom setting and the professional arena,” Simpson said. “It’s always great to receive recognition, but it’s really special when you know it comes from the students.”

Perhaps a reflection of Simpson’s mentoring skills, she wasn’t the only one from UH to be honored at the conference this year. Third-year UH pharmacy student Jason Lovero was elected one of two National Members At-large on the five-member 2007-08 APhA-ASP National Executive Committee that represents pharmacy student interests in the national parent organization.

Established in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, the American Pharmacists Association is the largest organization of pharmacists in the United States with 60,000 members.

Lisa Merkl