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3IMPACTING GENERATIONS Mother-daughter duo Geraldine Roberts and Alexis Roberts McMillian attribute the success of their Frenchtown-based business, Economy Drugs, to the foundation they received at FAMU.

problem for COPPS faculty, staff, and students. He pointed to the hands-on experience that students gain on a weekly basis, which keeps them engaged with the community and up-to-date on today’s patient needs. Students regularly attend events such as health fairs where they perform blood sticks for various testing such as glucose levels and triglyceride monitoring in addition to other services. “We have a lot of ‘brown bag’ days where our students go out into the community and encourage residents to bring their medicine in a brown bag so that they can sit with them and inform them on what they should do or should avoid as it pertains to their prescriptions. Our students are well equipped,” Thompson said. FAMU alumna Geraldine Roberts, who manages Economy Drugs in the Frenchtown Community of Tallahassee, along with her daughter, was one of the first two graduates of the program in 1954. Roberts said the growth and progress of the College from then until now has been amazing. “It makes me feel good to know that I was a part of the first class and that I have family members who have come through the program and are pharmacists or in the medical field,” Roberts said. Her daughter, Alexis Roberts McMillan, who is also a COPPS alumna, echoed her mother’s sentiments about the program.

“Knowing that this is a pharmacy program that has been able to produce pharmacists who are now all over the world is exciting,” McMillan said. “These are professionals who are able to have an insight on new medications, new procedures, and new ways of enhancing your health.” During this special anniversary year, Thompson plans to travel throughout the state and region in order to reintroduce alumni and supporters to the program. His objective is to galvanize support and share a few of the things that have taken place since they left. Cities currently scheduled for visits include: Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, Miami, and Atlanta. As a regular component of the COPPS curriculum, students and faculty also participate in various programs that deliver invaluable services to the community. A remarkable example is the pharmaceutical services the College provides at the Lincoln Neighborhood Medical Center in Tallahassee. FAMU graduates and current students manage the Center’s services. The Center is federally qualified to function as a community health center and receives funding to provide healthcare and medications to patients. FAMU alumna, Brittany Lyles, Pharm.D., who has served as a pharmacist at the Center for three years, believes the

services provided comprise a good partnership between the University and the city. “Generally patients don’t get the care that they need or require because it’s costly,” Lyles said. “When patients are getting adequate care and getting access to medicines they can’t afford, it leads to better healthcare otherwise.” An example of progress accomplished by the College during its 65 years of existence, as noted by Thompson, is becoming one of the first pharmacy programs in the country to house a public health institute. He also cited the opening of the Center for Health Equity in 2013 as a signature achievement. “Although there are lots of health disparity centers and medical and pharmacy programs, what makes us unique is that we focus on health equity and incorporate other units on campus, so it’s not just pharmacy, it’s the FAMU community making an impact,” he said. Thompson highlighted initiatives the students have spearheaded themselves to include a homeless assistance

program. “Every Friday a group of students make sandwiches that they take to the homeless shelter to hand out. We have another organization that coordinated with clinics during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to provide free mammograms for underserved women in the Frenchtown Community,” Thompson said. “These are things that they initiate themselves and it speaks to the core of who many of them are, and who we are as a College,” he added. As he continues to implement his vision for the future of the program, Thompson said he is keenly focused on the sustainment of research, education, and community engagement in the program. “My goal is to make sure our program is best-in-class, and that FAMU stands out as a leader and champion of underserved care,” Thompson said.

A&M MAGAZINE // SPRING 2016 // 9

Profile for FAMU Communications

Spring 2016 A&M Magazine  

In this issue of A&M Magazine we tell the story of FAMU’s rich tradition of empowerment. Our cover story, “Planting Hope,” chronicles the...

Spring 2016 A&M Magazine  

In this issue of A&M Magazine we tell the story of FAMU’s rich tradition of empowerment. Our cover story, “Planting Hope,” chronicles the...