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Michigan pharmacy school makes historic appointment

Vicki Ellingrod becomes the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy’s first female dean.
Vicki Ellingrod
Vicki Ellingrod

Vicki Ellingrod is a scholar, educator and administrator who has dedicated her career to mentoring the next generation of pharmacy and translational science leaders. This month, Ellingrod will become the first female dean of the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy. We spoke with Ellingrod about what she hopes to accomplish during her five-year term as the college’s dean.

Drug Store News: What does it mean to you to be appointed the first female dean of the U-M College of Pharmacy?
Vicki Ellingrod: Many outstanding deans have led the U-M College of Pharmacy, and I have big shoes to fill. However, being the first female in this role aligns our college with the changing demographics of the pharmacy profession over the last 20 years, as the percentage of PharmD students identifying as female has become the majority, and at least half of our graduate student groups identify as female. 

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DSN: What do you hope to accomplish during your five years as dean?
VE: I strongly feel that our profession needs to take steps to ensure that the diversity of individuals in our field matches that of the U.S. population. I’m excited to work with the U-M pharmacy community — our students, faculty, staff and alumni — to accomplish this. To achieve this, we need to ensure that a U-M pharmacy education is open and accessible to all, and that prospective students, faculty and staff understand the differential advantage that the U-M College of Pharmacy brings with our tight-knit community and outstanding research enterprise. We are small by design but located within a fantastic university and academic medical center that affords us resources and innovative practices not seen by many other schools. I’m also excited to deepen the commitment to our research enterprise and our graduate students by ensuring that the innovation realized by our faculty, staff and students is effectively translated into practice to improve human health.

“I strongly feel that our profession needs to take steps to ensure that the diversity of individuals in our field matches that of the U.S. population.”

DSN: What would you say to someone considering entering the pharmacy field right now?
VE: I would say what I have always said: With a pharmacy degree, and in particular a U-M pharmacy degree, your career possibilities are endless, and the impact you make on the world is up to you. You can see this in the careers chosen by our alumni, from working in rural underserved areas in community pharmacy to leading worldwide therapeutic development in the pharmaceutical industry to serving as the CEO for national pharmacy organizations. Additionally, many of our faculty have started their own companies based on their research innovations or have developed advanced practice models that the CDC has identified as best practices. 

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DSN: What do you like to do to decompress?
VE: I am someone who loves to walk and ride my bike, as both these activities give me time to think. However, whenever possible, my family and I love to do game nights, which has become more challenging as my children are now in college, and one of my daughters is studying abroad. I also love to travel and explore new places.

DSN: What’s your favorite Ann Arbor restaurant? 
VE: I’m not a big foodie, and if given a choice, I would instead enjoy a veggie burger and beer at a local biergarten with my family and friends. Thus, Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, Mich., just next to Ann Arbor, is my favorite place to go.

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