New pharmacy dean focused on ‘next generation’ in health care

By Jan Jarvis

Growing up in a small rural town in Alabama, Charles Taylor and his family did not have a physician to turn to when the sniffles struck or a fever took hold.

What they did have was a pharmacist, who did far more than dispense medication. He inspired a young boy, who was so touched by the way he had been treated when he was sick that he wanted to do the same for others.

“I told myself that when I grew up I wanted to be just like him,” Dr. Taylor said.

Taylor – now a pharmacist, educator and researcher – recently was appointed Dean of the UNT System College of Pharmacy, located at UNT Health Science Center.  He will join the university in June, having previously served as Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED).

Dr. Taylor brings to UNTHSC a foundation in pharmaceutical education and a strong commitment to community, innovation, quality and excellence. Throughout his career, he has encouraged collaboration, interprofessional health care education and research.

He said he is enthusiastic about creating an environment where student pharmacists are proactively integrated into health care teams to collaboratively advance and deliver the best patient care.

“Let’s create, along with other health care professionals, a model of being part of the team delivering exceptional care,” he said. “Let’s position pharmacists in a way that they can make impactful decisions.”

The next generation

New and rewarding career options are unfolding for pharmacists today that were unheard of when Dr. Taylor graduated summa cum laude from the Auburn University School of Pharmacy. Making young people aware of the many opportunities a pharmacy career promises is one of Dr. Taylor’s goals.

“We need to rewire, rethink and retool for the next generation in health care,” he said.

In 1970s and 80s pharmacy students were taught that they should not talk to patients, Dr. Taylor said. But the profession has evolved, so that today pharmacists are more involved in a patient’s health care.

As the population ages and more drugs become available, for example, pharmacists need to be skilled at managing medications with many side effects and interactions.

“If you can reduce someone’s prescriptions from 12 to five, that is really meaningful,” Dr. Taylor said. “At the end of the day, you have to want to help others lives healthier lives.”

A natural choice

Dr. Taylor previously served as Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at St. Louis College of Pharmacy and as Senior Associate Dean at the University Of Minnesota College Of Pharmacy.

At NEOMED, Dr. Taylor strengthened the College of Pharmacy’s research enterprise with the launch of a neurodegenerative diseases and aging research center. The center was funded initially with philanthropic support and has resulted in significant increases in NIH funding over the past few years.

His dedication to students and education has been clear throughout his career. At NEOMED, he launched a scholarship program to enhance diversification of the student body. He also is committed to creating meaningful learning opportunities for pharmacy students.

He believes in sustaining authentic collaborative care models within the community and developing pharmacy leaders who can create positive changes in the pharmaceutical field.

“Dr. Taylor is a strong supporter of interprofessional education and practice, collaboration and innovation,” said Claire Peel, PhD, Interim Provost at UNTHSC. “With his leadership, the College of Pharmacy will continue to grow and excel in education, research and practice.”

For Dr. Taylor, coming to UNTHSC was a natural choice. The school, with its strong roots in the community and dedication to finding health care solutions, fits in well with his own belief in serving others, said Dr. Taylor, who is married and has a five-year-old son.

He is quick to point out that a solid foundation with an outstanding curriculum is already in place. The pharmacy college was founded in 2013 and set to graduate its first class of pharmacists in May.

“They recruited the best faculty and worked diligently to open a great program,” Dr. Taylor said. “We have all these wonderful pioneers, on so many frontiers, who founded the school and set the stage for early development.

“That speaks to the founding dean. They launched an audacious program. They did it right.”

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