College of Pharmacy

Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of the College of Pharmacy | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of Q-and-A’s with the deans of the University’s 18 schools and colleges. Lynn Crismon was appointed dean of the College of Pharmacy in 2007. This interview has been condensed to fit space requirements.


The Daily Texan: Could you talk about how you collaborate with the nursing school and how you plan to collaborate with the medical school?


Lynn Crismon: This is a national movement. In fact, all of the health professional schools have national accrediting bodies for each professional discipline, and all of those accrediting bodies have started putting interprofessional education as a core curricular requirement. The philosophy is that if we’re going to transform healthcare to better meet people’s needs, we need providers that are working together collaboratively in a team-based fashion so that people’s needs are met. If you don’t have those individuals begin working together when they are students and trainees, how can you realistically expect that they’re going to know how to work together once they get out in the practice setting? So that’s sort of the overall philosophy. There are some curricular and there are some extracurricular things that the students are currently doing. The curricular things really surround, primarily, some elective coursework and ethics, where they’re doing group seminars and things, and there are also some interprofessional project, education project initiatives that students are doing together.

We have some non-curricular things through students’ organizations — community service projects. We have an initiative called Project Collaborate which involves pharmacy and nursing and social work students, where they do health screenings for underserved consumer populations, and most of those screenings they’ve done, somewhere between 40 to 50 percent of the individuals they’ve screened do not have a primary care provider. So, the pharmacy students, the nursing students do most of the screenings, and then the social work students will try to work with those people to refer them to different resources where they can get help to get healthcare. We hope with the inauguration of the Dell Medical School, we’ll be able to move things to a different level.

I was on the search committee for the [medical school] dean, and we really very, very intentionally, in terms of the questions that we asked the dean candidates, we asked about their philosophies on interprofessional education... When we interviewed Dean [Clay} Johnston... He knew exactly what we were talking about, and he totally embraces this vision that if we’re really going to meet people’s needs in terms of healthcare, then we have to provide healthcare differently, and that means optimizing people’s education and training skills, regardless of the initials behind their name.


DT: Is there a gender imbalance in the pharmacy school?


Crismon: Pharmacy over the course of my career has done a complete flip-flop in terms of gender balance. When I was a student, we were probably about 75 percent male, 25 percent female. Now, we run generally around 65 percent of each class is female, about 35 percent is male.


DT: What are some goals and new initiatives that have happened in the college in the past couple of years or that you’re planning for for the next couple of years?


Crismon: We started an endowment ... to honor a retired faculty member, Arlyn Kloesel, with a goal to look at new practice models and new business models in pharmacy, and we finally got that up to enough money that we can start awarding grants to faculty and to students to research projects, to explore those business models and practice models. More recently, we had an alum who’s really interested in giving, first some cash awards and then later a planned gift, in order to foster entrepreneurism in pharmacy, both in terms of looking at the practice level as well as looking at the research level with such things as drug development, because we have a major drug development research initiative.

We’re looking at transformation in health care, what are the practice models and the business models that will be successful in the future for pharmacists to be able to be successful in practice? Because if you don’t have the business model and the practice model aligned, it’s going to fail because you’ll go broke. It doesn’t matter how good of care you provide; if you can’t protect the bottom line, you’re not going to be successful in any endeavor.


DT: Is there anything else you want students to know?


Crismon: There’s really just a multitude of different career paths that people can pursue. It’s a lot different than just what the average person thinks about when they look at going to a community pharmacy. In fact, only slightly less than half of our grads actually go into community pharmacy. All of the rest of them go into other different areas of practice ... You often don’t think about the pharmacist that’s at Brackenridge [Hospital] or that’s at the surgical center or a variety of other different places that people practice.

Pharmacy professor Robert Talbert was named The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s 2014 top educator for his contributions to pharmacy education Tuesday. 

The Robert K. Chalmers Distinguished Pharmacy Educator Award is considered the highest recognition for an individual’s excellence in pharmacy education and consists of an inscribed Steuben Owl trophy and a $12,500 prize, according to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. In July, Talbert will be honored during the association’s 2014 annual meeting in Grapevine. He will be the second pharmacy professor from the University to receive the award since Charles Walton in 1987.

Talbert said he is honored to receive the award and that it reflects not only him but his colleagues at the College of Pharmacy as well.

“They have set the bar so high that everyone performs at such an exceptional level,” Talbert said. “It really means that we have one of the best teaching operations in the entire country.”

Pharmacy professor Karen Rascati said she is pleased Talbert won the Chalmers award.

“There’s always exceptional candidates for [the award] that have long careers in colleges of pharmacy,” Rascati said. “It shows that Dr. Talbert has made a significant contribution to his area, and it’s such an honor that the University of Texas has someone of that caliber.”

Talbert, who works in the Pharmacotherapy division, said he hoped students within the college develop a self-established enthusiasm for learning and want to continue to learn.

“Pharmacy is a rapidly evolving profession,” Talbert said. “There are literally between 20 and 40 new drugs improved every year, and if one doesn’t continue to learn, [they] fall behind very rapidly. What I would hope from our graduates is they do continue to excel in practice. They do this by continually expanding their knowledge base and applying to provide the best patient care possible.”

One of Talbert’s former students is College of Pharmacy dean M. Lynn Crismon. Crismon said Talbert taught him as a post graduate student in a pharmacy doctorate program offered jointly with the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio. He said he requested to be a student on Talbert’s acute care internal medicine rotation at University Hospital in San Antonio.

“I knew that he would challenge me to learn, to solve patient care problems and to become the very best clinical pharmacist that I possibly could be,” Crismon said. “My career was positively influenced by him as well as by other outstanding clinical pharmacy faculty at UT, from whom I had the opportunity to learn and develop clinical competence during my advanced clinical pharmacy education and residency training.”

Crismon said he believes Talbert is continuing a culture of excellence cultivated in the College of Pharmacy over the past 40 years.

“These types of awards always have a positive influence on institutional culture,” Crismon said. “Having one of our faculty recognized in this manner motivates faculty and students to perform at their highest level. Dr. Talbert receiving this award will further stimulate the culture of excellence that we value so much.”

After six years as executive vice president and provost, Steven Leslie will be stepping down from his position to return to the College of Pharmacy in August.

“For the past six years, Provost Leslie has been an indispensable partner in transforming the academic life of The University of Texas,” President William Powers Jr. said in a blog post Friday. “He has guided our deans and vice provosts with a steady hand and a vision that encompasses all aspects of this vast university.”

Powers appointed Leslie, then dean of the College of Pharmacy, to the vice president and provost position in 2007. Leslie has a doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology, and in his former position conducted research on topics that included alcohol’s effect on the brain. He joined the University as an assistant professor in 1974.

M. Lynn Crismon, dean of the College of Pharmacy, said in an e-mail that the college is excited to see Leslie return as a professor. 

“Dr. Leslie was a great provost, and it was my honor to serve as a dean under his leadership,” Crismon wrote. “We welcome him back to our college, and we look forward to him contributing positively to the mission of the College of Pharmacy.”

In his role as provost, the top academic post at the University, Leslie reported directly to the president and oversaw all 18 college deans and more than a dozen other senior academic posts. More recently, he led the early planning stages of UT’s new medical school. The provost’s office is in charge of deciding the new dean’s salary and overseeing the $1.2 million set aside for medical or surgery faculty salaries this year. A new dean has not yet been hired. 

The UT System Board of Regents voted last May to provide $25 million annually toward the medical school and an additional $5 million for the first eight years for equipment. 

Michael Morton, president of the Senate of College Councils, said Leslie has been a continuous advocate for students.

“Throughout his tenure, Provost Leslie has been a strong supporter of students and has worked constantly to strengthen the University academically,” Morton said. “He’s been an absolute pleasure to work with, and I know he’ll continue to play an important role on campus.”

Published on February 11. 2013 as "Univeristy provost of six years resigns".