A Letter from the Dean

Dear PharmDawgs and Friends:

I am pleased to share the second edition of the UGA Script, our online magazine designed to share recent and remarkable news about UGA’s College of Pharmacy. Your journey through the pages of this issue will be informative, enlightening, heartwarming, and entertaining as we weave the story of our College.

In this issue, you will discover two prominent themes. First, we have structured this e-publication around our 2025 Strategic Plan, Our Prescription for the Future. The plan has five strategic directions: Teaching and Learning, Innovative Research, Collaboration, Investing in People, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The stories you will read are categorized by these initiatives and exemplify our work to prepare for tomorrow. 

Our second theme, and perhaps the most important, highlights our people, who are our greatest asset and remain at the heart of all we do. From faculty and staff, to students and alumni, to preceptors and friends, the individuals invested in our College encourage and enable us “to be a global leader and catalyst for innovation in pharmacy practice, education, and scientific inquiry that improves health outcomes,” which is at the center of our College’s Vision.

In every story, you will discover people from our College who are making differences in the pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences arenas – people such as Bob Pease, a generous benefactor of the College, who chose to honor his beloved mother with a significant endowment prior to his untimely passing. You’ll learn about the emerging leadership in the Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Department, under the direction of Interim Department Head Dr. Shelley Hooks. A story on the work of Dr. Henry Young, Head of our Clinical and Administrative Pharmacy Department, embodies the College’s commitment  to the health and welfare of the underserved in rural Georgia. Rebecca DeSantis’s journey to pharmacy school will leave you amazed at how this non-traditional, yet passionate student is juggling classes and a toddler, while preparing for baby-number-two. Drs. Trisha Branan, Susan Jackson, and Christy Norman, a trio from the PharmD Class of 2006 who have taken leadership to an all-new “sequential” level, will inspire you. All of these stories demonstrate what it means to be a PharmDawg!

Continuing to emphasize our focus on our people, we seek to hire five new faculty members during the next two years, because of the University of Georgia’s renewed commitment to bringing the best and the brightest minds to campus. UGA announced this ambitious Interdisciplinary Faculty Hiring Initiative to recruit faculty members with expertise in applying data science and artificial intelligence to some of society’s most urgent challenges. A total of 50 new UGA faculty hires will be recruited in eight interdisciplinary clusters. The College of Pharmacy will work within the Precision One Health Initiative to utilize artificial intelligence (AI), data science, machine learning, and traditional methods to understand how genetics, the environment, and lifestyle inform the most efficacious approaches to prevent and treat diseases of humans and animals. The ramifications and impacts of this interdisciplinary, cross-campus collaboration will be significant to our future growth and endeavors.

Moving forward, UGA Script will only be as good as the information and feedback you offer. If you have any ideas for future stories; any updates or accolades about yourself, colleagues or classmates; or ideas for improvements for this e-magazine, please email us. We’d love to hear from you.  

Finally, on behalf of everyone in the College of Pharmacy, we wish you and yours a joyful season, with prospects of a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2022! 

Go Dawgs! Go PharmDawgs!

Kelly M. Smith ’92, ’93, Dean
UGA College of Pharmacy