Florida A&M’s Michael Thompson wants to increase research and community service opportunities for pharmacy students. And he has the authority to make these changes: Thompson is the newly appointed dean of FAMU’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Thompson, who has been an employee at FAMU since 1981, is quick to point out he is no stranger to FAMU’s pharmacy program. He said he plans to work to increase funding that could strengthen programs for the university.
“With more research dollars, we can expand involvement with the medication management program and increase research funding,” said Thompson. “Community service is also a big deal to me; I would love for students to do more community service and become more actively involved with the community.”
Thompson said he believes the pharmacy is in an excellent place, but there is room for improvement.
Angenika Lattery, a 22-year-old pharmacy student from Jacksonville, agrees, saying that administrators could better manage supplies that students need.
“I would like Dr. Thompson to address the issues which current students have regarding resources that should be available to pharmacy students,” said Lattery. “These issues are… not limited to replenishing ink and computer paper in the computer lab.”
Margarettie Dingle, a professional pharmacy student from Miami, would like to see changes as well.
“As a student, I would like to see the newly-appointed dean be an advocate for the student voice and ensure that the [pharmacy school] offer more resources and opportunities for students to be successful,” Dingle said.
Lattery said she wants to see is a place where pharmacy students can study.
“One of the major issues is having a study environment where pharmacy students can have access to and be productive throughout the day whether it’s between classes or during late nights,” Lattery said.
Thompson said his 30 years at FAMU has made him “in tune with what the students want and need.” Thompson is also no stranger to the pharmaceutical industry. He received residency training for 14 months at the University of Michigan Medical Center after he earned his doctorate degree in pharmacy from the University of Michigan. He also has retail experience, working as a retail pharmacist and with Home Infusion.
Dingle said he also believes Thompson’s teaching experience will have a positive impact on the pharmacy program.
“As a professor, his teaching methods and attitudes foster an excellent learning environment for students,” . With total support of the faculty, students and community, he will do all he can to help produce the best pharmacists, medicinal chemist and pharmaceutical researches.”
Thompson said he plans to host weekly forums, allowing students to voice their opinions and concerns with the direction of the pharmacy program.
When asked about the pharmacy program’s retention rate, Thompson said, “Increased tutoring services and an increase in help outside of the classroom through a learning resource center is a main focus of mine.”
Thompson is not only the newly appointed dean, but a staunch HIV researcher as well. Not only has he worked with other health professionals – physicians, dentists, physician assistants – but supervised the care of HIV-infected patients in Leon County through the Aids Drug Assistant Program (ADAP).
Pharmacy students are also allowed to participate in HIV research.
Some students, according to Thompson, have already developed pamphlets and web-based programs through the Florida Caribbean and Education Training Center.
Students already have high expectations for Thompson. “I have faith that [Thompson] will adhere to students having a voice that is heard,” Lattery said. I am positive that my colleagues and I will agree to Dr. Thompson doing everything in his power to make sure that the Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences exemplifies ‘Excellence With Caring.'”