Pharmacy professor wins national excellence award

Courtesy of
Higginbotham was recently named Pharmacist of the Year by the Pennsylvania Pharmacist of the Year Award.
Courtesy of
Higginbotham was recently named Pharmacist of the Year by the Pennsylvania Pharmacist of the Year Award.

Alex Wolfe | Staff Writer

While the faculty of the Mylan School of Pharmacy may have had an outstanding reputation, it may have improved even more with the presentation of the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association Pharmacist of the Year Award to Dr. Suzanne Higginbotham.

Dr. Higginbotham is the director of residency programs for the Mylan School. She serves as the coordinator of Pharmacy Residents and Fellows Programs while overseeing the administration and delivery of certificate programs.

According to the Pennsylvania Pharmacy Association, the PPA Pharmacist of the Year Award is presented to the pharmacist who has demonstrated dedication to the profession of pharmacy, contributed time and effort to the various professional organizations, furthered the profession through community service and embodied those qualities of attitude and leadership which exemplified the profession.

Higginbotham mainly coordinates the Mylan School’s residency programs, working with graduate students, she also works with third-year students to ensure their understanding of naloxone therapy.

She spent the last year working to expand the community outreach of the pharmacy program – finding new residencies and expanding opportunities for intermediate education within the program.

Higginbotham had already begun to work evolving the clinical sites of post-graduate studies, and recalled her shocked reaction when she was presented with the award.

“In attending the dinner presentation, I was given no prior warning that I had been given such a prestigious award.”

What Higginbotham found even more surprising was that she was given the award at a point when she considered her efforts to be incomplete.

“I thought that there was still so much work to be done to integrate the student activities into community life,” she said.

However, Higginbotham now says the award is a reminder that her current work is not yet finished and that the act of community service can always be improved upon.

“The award and its presentation have inspired me to always continue to reach out into the community,” Higginbotham said.

She imagines ways in which Duquesne’s pharmacy students have an easy way to fulfill the Duquesne mission, and work to serve the community through their work and inform their faith in the process.

Furthermore, Higginbotham explained that the world of pharmacy, “is constantly changing.” One of her biggest challenges as the Director of Residency Programs is to accurately observe where the field of pharmacy grows and to ensure that Duquesne’s pharmacists have the opportunities to immerse themselves in the areas of the profession that will best prepare them for their work after graduation.

That is where Higginbotham says her true mission lies, “in providing the students of the Mylan School of Pharmacy with the proper opportunities to help the community and apply their classroom knowledge in ways that will compound that knowledge for the benefit both the students and the community they are called to serve.”