Auburn Pharmacist Spotlight: Capt. Travis Whiteside

Whiteside Family Travis Whiteside (HSOP Class of 2011) with his wife, Jennifer, and his son, Jack, at the Cochem Castle in Germany, Fall 2013.

December 8, 2015

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Periodically, the Harrison School of Pharmacy will highlight one of its students, faculty members, staff members or alums. For December, we will learn more about Capt. Travis Whiteside, a member of the HSOP Class of 2011. This profile originally ran in the Fall 2015 issue of Alabama Pharmacy.

Whiteside joined the United States Army in 1999 and made his way onto the Auburn campus in 2003. After earning a bachelor of science degree from Auburn, he went on to pursue his Pharm.D. at the HSOP Mobile campus, graduating in 2011. Whiteside is a pharmacist in the United States Army and is currently completing a PGY-1 residency at the San Antonio Military Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

What type of pharmacy do you practice and why did you choose it?
Military Pharmacy Operations. A military pharmacist must be versatile as we primarily function as managers and leaders but may also be called upon to execute outpatient, inpatient, clinical, informatics, or logistics functions in a variety of pharmacy practice settings.

Where did you study pharmacy?
Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy (Mobile Campus)

What inspired you to pursue a career in pharmacy?
I sought a career in a health care field that was reliable, flexible, and offered diverse practice opportunities.

What inspired you to join the military?
Initially I enlisted from high school, due to a lack of life direction and influenced by growing up as an Army brat. Upon being accepted to pharmacy school I desired a return to service, esprit de corps, and military tradition. So, I decided to merge my past with my future. I was also encouraged by the generous financial assistance and opportunities.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
The variety, the opportunities, world travel, adventure, and the sense of accomplishment watching operations and teams mature.

What is the hardest part of your job?
The unknown. Military pharmacists must be versatile as the duties can change suddenly and assignments change every few years. I spend quite a bit of time in limbo as to what is next. At least it isn’t boring.

What are the challenges unique to practicing pharmacy in the military?
Consistently re-locating, extended periods of time away from family, and assuming responsibilities for duties completely out of my comfort zone.

What advice can you offer someone coming into the pharmacy profession?
Never stop learning, and constantly seek the next challenge.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Currently, I am at the beginning of PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency so hopefully that is successful and I can achieve BCPS certification. Following that I will transition to an unknown assignment, most likely another management position.

Professionally, if you could change something, what would it be?
I would like to see a national implementation of ethical standards regarding profits from medication, medical products, and services.

Who is your role model/mentor?
There is not just one. I have had a plethora of peers, supervisors, preceptors, and teachers that I have had the opportunity to work with over the years. They all taught me so much. Most demonstrated values, competencies, and attributes to be emulated while some provided me with some good anti-role models.

What is the most memorable experience of your career?
The most memorable experience was at the beginning, graduation. Graduating from pharmacy school was never guaranteed. I averaged 20 hours a semester through the first two years and really struggled with Drugs and Diseases and ROTC. I had this reoccurring nightmare that I had not attended ROTC class all semester.

What do you think has been the most significant change/advancement in pharmacy?
Recently, the most significant pharmaceutical advancement has been the introduction of the newer anticoagulants (Eliquis, Pradaxa, and Xarelto).

When was the last time you did something for someone else and what was it?
I bought a meal for a man down on his luck about a month ago.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
My family. I don’t know why my wife chose me but she did. I mean, I can’t stand me.

Where is/was your favorite duty station? Why?
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) Germany. This facility is the largest American hospital and the only tertiary care center outside the United States. It supports Department of Defense (DoD) patients from the Middle East, Europe, and Africa to include stabilizing combat casualties. I served at LRMC during the winding down of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (OIF and OEF), through the government shutdown of 2013, while preparing for Joint Commission. It was a challenging time and I was permitted the opportunity to serve in a variety of capacities to ensure continued mission success of that vital facility in a period of transition.

Who inspires you? Why?
Theodore Roosevelt. Where to start? The man beat his childhood asthma with a strict exercise routine. I highly recommend the books by Edmund Morris on Theodore Roosevelt.

What is the last movie you rented?
The Lego Movie

On a sunny day, how do you spend a free afternoon?
I take my son to the neighborhood pool.

What was the last song you sang?
Taylor Swift, Shake it Off

Where would you go if you could go anywhere? Why?
The Great State of Alabama, specifically Mobile, Orange Beach, and Auburn. I have not made a visit since August 2013 and I miss family and friends. I have a 17 month old nephew I have not even met yet.

If you were stranded on an island, what three things would you want to have?
5 gallon can of water, a case of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), and a utility knife.

What is your simplest pleasure?
Those small moments when thing slows down, you notice it, and realize that life is good.

What makes you laugh the loudest?
My son, he is 5. He says and does the darndest things,

If you could meet anyone (dead or living) who would it be and what would you ask them?
Nicholas Flamel. Did he discover the secrets of Alchemy and what are they?

What book are you reading?
America’s Bitter Pill by Steven Brill. It is a good retrospective look at the creation and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

What five adjectives best describe you?
According to my wife: stubborn, confident, work-a-holic-ish, athletic, and driven.

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About the Harrison School of Pharmacy
Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy is ranked among the top 20 percent of all pharmacy schools in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the School offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.) while also offering a master’s in pharmaceutical sciences. In 2014, the school adopted the slogan, “Making Medications Work Through Innovative Research, Education and Patient Care.” For more information about the School, please call 334.844.8348 or visit http://pharmacy.auburn.edu.

Last Updated: March 28, 2017