#UMMCGrad2023: Intersection of pharmacy, policy focus of School of Pharmacy graduate
Published on Monday, May 1, 2023
By: Annie Oeth, firstname.lastname@example.org
School of Pharmacy graduate Dylan Edwards of Brandon minored in political science during his undergraduate days at the University of Mississippi with little expectation of it dovetailing into a PharmD degree.
“I originally wanted a political science minor out of personal interest,” he said. “However, these courses taught me how to critically analyze policies and decisions made by different stakeholders in coming to their conclusions and what implications developed thereafter. As a pharmacist, I will use these critical analysis skills in practice to better understand the decisions made in each patient’s past medical history and current therapeutic regimen to help determine what future steps could be considered.”
This spring, Edwards was in Washington, D.C., for an advanced pharmacy practice experience rotation with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. During the rotation, Edwards supported ASHP’s Government Relations team by attending briefings, meeting with policymakers and assisting in the development of policy resources, said Kyle Robb, PharmD, director of state policy and advocacy of the ASHP Office of Government Relations.
“Dylan has a longstanding passion for politics, policy, and professional advocacy,” Robb said. “I look forward to seeing him continue to build upon those interests and leverage knowledge acquired during his rotation with ASHP to advocate for patients and the profession as a pharmacy resident and throughout his career.”
Edwards stands out in the School of Pharmacy for his leadership and interest in serving others, said Dr. Leigh Ann Ross, associate dean for clinical affairs in the School of Pharmacy.
“Early on, Dylan was drawn to advocacy and sought opportunities to develop this interest,” she said. “It has been rewarding to see Dylan's passion for our profession grow, and I am confident that he will continue to be a leader in pharmacy and an advocate for the patients he serves.”
After graduation, Edwards plans to continue his pharmacy training as a health system pharmacy administration and leadership pharmacy resident at Regional One Health in Memphis, Tennessee, and pursue a master’s degree in business administration or public health.
“When I finish my residency, I hope to work within an institutional setting where I can help pharmacists and other health care professionals in providing patient care services,” Edwards said. “Additionally, I hope to be an advocate for the pharmacy profession at the state and federal levels to help show policymakers the value that pharmacists provide in delivering high-quality patient care.”
A knowledge of policy analysis is valuable in pharmacy practice, Edwards said. “Health care, especially pharmacy, is one of the most regulated fields of any profession. As pharmacists, we are trained in school, post-graduate residencies and continuing education courses to do numerous things, but current policies may limit the payable services that we can provide to patients. Therefore, it is important for pharmacists to understand and remain up to date on institutional, state and federal policies that can further show our value. This understanding and display of value to patient care will allow us to advocate for issues related to pharmacy practice such as opportunities for reimbursement for the services that we are trained to provide.”
Edwards’ interest in pharmacy stems from his family, friends and the community where he grew up.
“I was able to witness the impact a strong community can have,” he said. “The constant display of compassion, advocacy and willingness to care for the needs of others made me realize that I wanted to continue those same principles through my career. A career in health care will allow me to apply these principles and fulfill my passion for helping others.”
The grandson of a pharmacist, Edwards knew that the field of pharmacy is varied and vast. “I chose pharmacy because of the understanding of clinical needs, intentionality to each patient and accessibility to the community that pharmacists have. As the practice of pharmacy continues to evolve, it has become more evident that pharmacists are critical members of the patient care team for hospital inpatients as well as in an outpatient setting.”
Entering the School of Pharmacy through its early entry program, Edwards started his journey to his PharmD degree his freshman year at Ole Miss.
“What makes the School of Pharmacy and the University of Mississippi Medical Center special is the people, regardless of discipline or background,” Edwards said. “They are all dedicated to the success of each student. These years in pharmacy school have been challenging and rewarding, and I will always consider the School of Pharmacy and UMMC my home.”