Auburn Pharmacist Spotlight: Dr. Richard Hansen

Get to know the Harrison School of Pharmacy's new Dean

May 17, 2017

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.Periodically, the Harrison School of Pharmacy will highlight one of its students, faculty members, staff members or alums. This month, we will feature Dr. Richard Hansen.

A faculty member with the Harrison School of Pharmacy since 2010, Dr. Hansen was named as its next Dean on Jan. 20. He officially took over his new position on May 15, following former Dean Lee Evans, who guided HSOP since 1994. Dean Hansen previously served as the Department Head in HSOP's Department of Health Outcomes Research and Policy.

First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
“I am originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin. I am happily married to my wife Nicole and together we have two sons, Ayden (11) and Nolan (9).  My wife is also a pharmacist. She earned her Pharm.D. from the University of Minnesota and is board certified in oncology.  In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, golf, running, and swimming”

What is your professional background?
“I was drawn to the profession of pharmacy out of a general passion for human medicine, and I loved the idea of using medicines to keep people healthy. I attended the University of Wisconsin and got my bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 1997. From there I moved to Galveston, Texas and worked as a hospital pharmacist for two years at the University of Texas Medical Branch before deciding to pursue a graduate degree.

I was accepted into the graduate program at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and earned a Ph.D. in Social, Administrative, and Clinical Pharmacy in 2003. While I was pursuing my degree, I never strayed too far from practice as I served as a relief pharmacist for the Supervalu grocery store chain.

It was then that I had my first Auburn connection when I received my first academic appointment. I was hired by former HSOP Dean William Campbell as an assistant professor with the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy in the Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy. I was eventually promoted with tenure in 2008 to associate professor and I remained in that position until I made the move to Auburn in 2010.”

What focused your attention to working in health outcomes research and policy?
“Working as a pharmacist allowed me to work with individual patients, but I saw system failures and opportunities to work at a larger level with larger populations.  That ability to make contributions on a grander scale drew me to this area.

“I am most interested in using real-world data to understand population-level effectiveness and safety.  My work includes evidence-based medicine, comparative effectiveness, and drug safety. Since moving to Auburn I have mostly worked in the area of drug safety, working to improve safety surveillance systems.  I am excited about these areas because it prevents patient harm, but also uses existing data sources in novel and efficient ways that I think is fun.”

What makes Auburn a special place?
“The “Auburn Family” is real. When we moved to Auburn we could not believe the sense of community and pride that surrounded us. The university provides a fantastic work environment, and the community is a great place for a family. The quality of life provided by Auburn could not be better.”

What drew your interest in the HSOP Dean position?
“Moving to Auburn was a strategic decision for me to move into academic administration.  In other words, I knew this is the direction I wanted to head. I just didn’t know when or where. Given how happy my family is in Auburn, this seemed like the perfect opportunity and timing.  I’m excited to move into the Dean’s office because I feel like I understand the university and have been effective in its environment. I understand the strengths and weaknesses of the school, and I can quickly help move the program forward.”


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. For more information about the School, please call 334.844.8348 or visit

Making Medications Work Through Innovative Research, Education and Patient Care

Last Updated: May 17, 2017