Beth Phillips, Rite Aid Professor in Community Pharmacy and director of the residency program at the VA Community Outpatient Clinic in Athens, encourages her residents to integrate teaching with scholarship and service, a practice that she follows closely.
Where did you earn degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
I earned my doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Kansas and completed two years of postdoctoral training at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. I am currently the Rite Aid Professor in Community Pharmacy and program director for the Postgraduate Year Two (PGY2) Ambulatory Care Residency. In addition to teaching on campus and my scholarship, I also see patients and maintain an active clinical practice at the VA Community Outpatient Clinic in Athens, where I train postgraduate residents and engage in experiential teaching of pharmacy students.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
I came to the University of Georgia in 2007 from the University of Iowa, where I had been on faculty and a clinical pharmacy specialist in ambulatory care for a little over 10 years. I was drawn to UGA for the many opportunities to teach and develop new training programs that would continue to foster excellence in pharmacy education.
What are your favorite courses and why?
Part of what I love about being a faculty member is the variety of teaching opportunities (e.g., large lecture hall, classroom, laboratory facilitation and experiential teaching). However, if I had to choose, it would be small-group teaching in the pharmacy skills laboratory course series and at my clinical practice site. I really enjoy getting to connect with students and to watch firsthand those “aha” moments as they are learning how to take care of patients and to see the confidence that builds in students as they learn to make a positive impact on a patient’s quality of life and health.
What interests you about your field?
It’s all about the patients! There is nothing more fulfilling than helping a patient get the right drug or combination of medications that will improve health and avoid unnecessary drug side effects and interactions. This is becoming increasingly important as health care costs continue to rise, as do the number of new and increasingly complex drugs that come to market each year.
What are some highlights of your career at UGA?
Being named 2012 Teacher of the Year by the College of Pharmacy and Preceptor of the Year in 2010 by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists are definitely highlights.
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching, and vice versa?
I teach residents to integrate teaching with scholarship and service, and I follow this practice closely. Conducting research and writing a paper or book chapter in a particular area builds expertise that spills over into the classroom. Patient cases at the practice site make excellent teaching scenarios in the classroom and present interesting clinical challenges that warrant further study. My scholarship focuses on management and improvement of patient care of chronic ambulatory diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes. Students and residents are involved in my scholarship, often at the bedside, so that they are a part of establishing new ways or improving existing processes to enhance patient outcomes. The majority of my publications include students and pharmacy residents as co-authors. This teaches them to be innovative in their own clinical practices and to disseminate their ideas in pharmacy throughout the health care fields.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
I hope students come away with excitement and enthusiasm for the pharmacy profession and patient care. I hope they gain the necessary knowledge and skills to provide care that improves individual patient health and quality of life.
Describe your ideal student.
A student that is engaged, motivated and has a positive attitude!
Favorite place to be/thing to do on campus is…
One of my favorite things to do is walk from the College of Pharmacy (near Stegeman Coliseum) all the way up through North Campus on a sunny day. I do not get the chance to do this often, which makes it all the more special when I do! The energy and excitement of the students and campus is invigorating.
Beyond the UGA campus, I like to…
Spend time with my family and travel. I enjoy experiencing new places and cultures.
Community/civic involvement includes….
Improving patient care and the lives of our veterans at the VA Community Outpatient Clinic and volunteering at the Mobile Food Pantry.
I like to read nonfiction or historical fiction. For a timeless classic, nothing beats “Pride and Prejudice.”
Proudest moment at UGA?
Developing a nationally recognized practice where students and postdoctoral trainees can learn and be educated in clinical pharmacy. I am most proud when these individuals graduate and continue to make a difference for patients and in the profession throughout their careers.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
It is an honor to be part of the UGA community and to have the opportunity to interact with our outstanding students each day.