George Garmer and Sherry Butler honored for their leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion for independent pharmacy.
By: Malissa Carroll
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
George Garmer, PD, BSP ’91, pharmacist and owner of Halethorpe Pharmacy in Arbutus and Independent Drug in Middle River, and Sherry Butler, BSP, clinical pharmacy specialist at Halethorpe Pharmacy, were inducted into the Dean’s Hall of Fame for Distinguished Community Pharmacists as part of an annual banquet hosted by the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) student chapter on April 12.
Established in 2006, the Hall of Fame Award recognizes leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion for independent pharmacy and is presented each year to pharmacists who embody those characteristics. Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP, dean and professor of the School of Pharmacy, said both honorees live those ideals on a daily basis.
Following his graduation from the School of Pharmacy in 1991, Garmer worked in a hospital pharmacy, but found that he missed the direct connection with the public that he had in the community pharmacy where he worked during high school. In 2000, he became co-owner of Halethorpe Pharmacy with his mentor Harvey Goldberg, a store with a 100-year history in Arbutus. Independent Drug followed in 2004.
“Harvey and his dad instilled in me the values that make a great pharmacist and owner. They gave me the desire to be forward thinking in order to keep the business relevant as times change,” Garmer said in his remarks at the banquet. “I want the tradition of independent community pharmacy to continue for many generations to come. I would like for all of the students in this room to have the same opportunity I had to own an independent pharmacy. It affords you more freedom in how you care for your patients.”
As a member of the Maryland Pharmacists Association, Garmer is a passionate advocate for the pharmacy profession. Throughout his career, he has written hundreds of letters to state delegates and senators, US senators, and even the president. He has also penned opinion pieces and letters to the editors of newspapers on issues that affect pharmacy.
“Through his pharmacies, George is known for his innovative practices and has become an outspoken advocate for the role of pharmacists in health care,” says Eddington. “He strongly believes in independent pharmacies and the important role they have in the future of the profession.”
Adding an element of surprise to the evening, Maryland State Delegate James Malone of Baltimore County made his presence known during the banquet as he presented Garmer with a citation from the House of Delegates in recognition of this honor.
“I am truly touched to be acknowledged by my alma mater and our students. I am proud to be an alumnus of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, an independent community pharmacist, and a small business owner,” says Garmer. “This award is a celebration of what we do for our patients. We share a common goal to make our patients happy and improve the quality of their lives.”
Butler, Garmer’s co-worker also honored at the banquet, is a graduate of Howard University College of Pharmacy. At Halethorpe Pharmacy, she works to integrate professional clinical programs into the store’s workflow. She is a diabetes educator, immunizer, and provider of medication therapy management.
“At Halethorpe Pharmacy, we combine our strengths to make a pharmacy that, in my opinion, is patient-oriented and clinically progressive,” says Butler. “We reach new levels every day, enhancing programs and making changes that will benefit our patients and pharmacy students.”
A preceptor for the School of Pharmacy, Butler has also worked with the Maryland Patients, Pharmacists, Partnerships (P³) Program, a collaboration among the School of Pharmacy, the Maryland Pharmacists Association, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Linking Pharmacists to Improved Health Outcomes program from Lancaster, Penn. Through these programs, she provides diabetes education to optimize wellness and reduce health care costs.
“Sherry’s love of the pharmacy profession is evident through her leadership and determination to push clinical programs forward in Maryland,” says Eddington. “She has even worked to change legislation to increase pharmacists’ immunization authority in the state.”
As she accepted her award, Butler offered words of advice to the students in the room, saying, “Have passion for your profession, find your niche and mold it into your specialty, and love what you do. Be positive and show that positivity through your actions, your smile, and inflection in your voice. Be a team player and be a part of the whole.”
The NCPA annual banquet recognizes the NCPA student chapter’s yearly achievements. It is also the event at which new chapter officers are installed.
“This outstanding group of students is the future of the profession and based on what we’ve seen and heard here tonight, a group of which we can be especially proud,” said Eddington.
The chapter’s goal is to promote independent pharmacy with the intent of increasing student awareness of its advantages, encourage newly practicing pharmacists to pursue pharmacy ownership, and support independent pharmacy’s already established positive image.
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