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College of Pharmacy

  • Heather Hembree

Student eyes small-town pharmacy impact with help of scholarships

Posted on: April 17, 2019

Walker Leadership Scholar Heather Hembree was awarded the Foundation Presidential Scholarship for Academic and Leadership Excellence this year from the National Community Pharmacy Association (NCPA), as well as garnering the 2019-20 Pharmacists Mutual Community Scholarship. 

Hembree attended the NCPA Annual Convention this past October to accept its scholarship, and she had the opportunity to engage with pharmacists already working in her preferred field of independently owned community pharmacy. While attending the conference, she also learned of the Pharmacists Mutual Community Scholarship and applied, submitting a 492-word essay articulating her passion for small-town pharmacy. In the essay, the Class of 2020 student expressed her dream of “opening my own compounding pharmacy in Ware Shoals or a comparable small town where I can make a difference in the lives of the underserved.”

In March, Hembree was notified she had earned the Pharmacists Mutual Community Scholarship, and in the confirmation letter, Pharmacists Mutual Senior Vice President Paul T. Luckman said: “We commend your commitment to practice in either an independent community pharmacy, small-chain community pharmacy, or in an underserved geographic or cultural community.”

... We get to hear all their stories. Having that patient interaction is why I want to be a pharmacist.

Hembree enjoys the individual patient involvement that comes from community pharmacy. Working in her small, hometown pharmacy in Ware Shoals, S.C., which still features a soda fountain, she enjoys talking with the people who come in to eat breakfast every morning.

“That’s a really neat way to interact with the patients, outside of just filling their prescription,” says Hembree, who explained how close, personal connections provide a deeper level of patient care. “We get to hear all their stories. Having that patient interaction is why I want to be a pharmacist.”


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