Auburn Pharmacist Spotlight: Jessica Jackson

Jessica Jackson with Rebecca Sorrell Jessica Jackson (left) accepts the 2018 Distinguished Young Pharmacist Award from Rebecca Sorrell.

October 12, 2018

AUBURN, Alabama – Upon receiving her doctor of pharmacy degree from the Harrison School of Pharmacy in 2011, Jessica Jackson set out to “save the world one pill at a time.” After several years working in retail and hospital pharmacy, Jackson is taking the next step in her career to fulfill that dream.

A 2018 recipient of the Alabama Pharmacy Association (APA) Distinguished Young Pharmacist Award, Jackson is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Ryals School of Public Health. With a passion to help those who need it the most, she is looking for ways to use her degrees to improve the delivery of health care.

“I quickly saw the disconnected pieces of our healthcare system and felt the isolation of working in silos from other care providers,” said Jackson. “I felt compelled to use my God-given talent to influence how we can better coordinate health care delivery for the communities we serve.”

With a focus on public health and health policy, she completed an internship under Commissioner Lynn Beshear of the Alabama Department of Mental Health. The experience has allowed her to get an in-depth look at issues from a state level.

“The Alabama Department of Mental Health has provided a learning arena for me that is priceless,” said Jackson. “I have been involved with everything from statewide program research, grant writing and procurement of funding in coordination with federal agencies, stakeholder forums and resolution-focused work groups.”

That work extends into her passion in battling the opioid epidemic. In 2017, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey established the Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council and Jackson was selected as one of its members.

“As a pharmacist, I bring a unique blend of expertise as we tackle some of the most critical issues surrounding opioid related deaths and addiction,” said Jackson.

For Jackson, a balance between her day job and community involvement has been important throughout her career. While she was honored to be recognized for her work by APA, she feels it is part of her duty as a pharmacist.

“I am driven to stay involved with APA because I cherish the profession of pharmacy,” said Jackson. “I recognize the value we bring to the healthcare space and we are living in a time where patients are taking more prescription drugs than ever before and we are vital to managing the quality of drug therapy.”

Looking back on her time at the Harrison School of Pharmacy, she recalls the respect for the profession and the importance of professionalism that was instilled.

“HSOP definitely taught me to respect the profession above all else,” said Jackson. “I think there are many schools of pharmacy with rigorous curriculums that prepare students didactically, however professionalism was heavily instilled in the HSOP philosophy. It impacts how I practice today.”

Drs. Salisa Westrick and Kimberly Braxton Lloyd stand out to her as faculty that made an impact on her during her time on The Plains.

“They always fascinated me with their unique take on pharmacy practice,” said Jackson. “These faculty members have work focused on population-based solutions to health and the concept of pharmacy as a population-based practice is the future or the profession. Their research and programs show how the most accessible healthcare profession, the pharmacist, can fill these care gaps.”

A native of the Birmingham area, Jackson has made her home in Montgomery with her husband Charles and their two children. Along with her involvement with the APA, she has participated in young professionals groups, city leadership and work in the community.

In her roles as a pharmacist, she has also precepted students. When working with students, she candidly reminds them that health care never stops and comes with many sacrifices. Those aside, she sees a hunger in pharmacy students and is excited about the direction of the profession.

“I sense that the students and residents entering the workforce are hungry for something new in pharmacy,” said Jackson. “New practitioners are now courageously asking questions about how they can fit into new value-based care models and are leveraging technology to mend patient care gaps. It is very exciting to see this change in outlook! Our survival as a profession relies on innovation.”

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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. For more information about the School, please call 334.844.8348 or visit http://pharmacy.auburn.edu.

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Last Updated: October 12, 2018