November 16, 2012

Leadership award given to late Pharmacy Dean Emeritus Sid Nelson

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Dr. Sid Nelson enjoyed teaching medicinal chemistry to second-year pharmacy students.

The Washington State Pharmacy Association recently announced its 2012 award winners. Several School of Pharmacy alumni were honored for their contributions to the pharmacy profession, patients and the community. In addition, the late School of Pharmacy Dean Emeritus and Professor of Medicinal Chemistry Sid Nelson posthumously received the Washington State Pharmacy Association Distinguished Leadership Award. Nelson, an alumnus and beloved member of the UW School of Pharmacy community, died in December 2011.

The Distinguished Leadership Award goes to individuals who have been instrumental in developing and growing the pharmacy profession and who demonstrate significant influence and direction in the community.

“While Sid was known internationally during his life as an award-winning scientist and mentor to young scientists, he also helped shape pharmacy practice and pharmacy education in our state in his work as a professor and administrator,” said Nanci Murphy, associate dean of academic and student programs at the School of Pharmacy and a long-time colleague and friend of Nelson.

As dean from 1994 to 2008, Nelson helped the School convert from a Bachelor of Science to a Doctor of Pharmacy degree program. He expanded the School’s faculty by recruiting a group of educators who strengthened an already stellar program and who are building on the School’s efforts to improve the practice of pharmacy and to advocate for patients. He supported the development of new innovations in the Doctor of Pharmacy degree curriculum, and he helped expand the School’s many community partnerships and outreach efforts.

But his impact on pharmacy students is arguably his greatest legacy on the pharmacy profession in Washington state.

Nelson, who joined the School of Pharmacy faculty in 1977, taught throughout his tenure as dean and continued to teach after he stepped down. In his popular medicinal chemistry course for second-year students, he made a challenging, complex subject interesting and fun. His students consistently reported that he inspired them to work harder. When students did poorly on an exam, he would seek them out individually to ask how they were doing and offer encouragement.

He held course finals at conferences that he and pharmacy students attended so the students could participate in the conferences without sacrificing their studies. As a teacher, he twice won a UW School of Pharmacy Gibaldi Excellence in Teaching Award.

As a dean, he was devoted to helping students excel academically and grow professionally. He provided Dean’s Fund monies to help students conduct research, create outreach projects and go on international rotations. His open-door policy made him highly accessible. Nelson and his wife, Joan, also made a special point of attending and supporting student events. In 2007, he won the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists Dean of the Year Award.

Dr. Sid Nelson in his academic regalia at graduation ceremonies.

“Sid was one of those unique individuals who transcended the traditional profile of a professor,” said UW School of Pharmacy alumnus Collin Conway, ’05, a pharmacist and co-chair of the UW School of Pharmacy’s Pharmacy Practice Board. “He was always one of my favorites in the classroom, but what really struck me was a rare, unquestionable and sincere interest in my future and well-being. This inspired me not only to get involved in the profession, but also to be a better person. For this, I am forever grateful.”

Today, in hospitals, clinics, community pharmacies, nonprofit organizations, government organizations and elsewhere in this state, UW alumni like Conway are making a positive impact, in part, because Sid encouraged them and believed in them.

Nelson’s wife, Joan, accepted his award during an emotional presentation Nov. 2 at the Washington State Pharmacy Association Annual Meeting awards ceremony in Grand Mound, Wash. (Read more about Sid Nelson’s life and legacy at http://sop.washington.edu/rememberingsid.)

Also at the awards ceremony, School of Pharmacy alumna Beverly Schaefer, ’70, was named Pharmacist of the Year. Schaefer is co-owner of Katterman’s Sand Point Pharmacy and is currently working on a project to increase prescriptive authority for pharmacists.

Ryan Oftebro, ’03, received the Pharmacist Mutual Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year Award. Oftebro, a co-owner at Kelley-Ross Pharmacy, oversees community and clinical services at Kelley-Ross and is noted for his work mentoring student pharmacists.

Jennifer Kreidler-Moss, ’01, received the Innovative Pharmacy Practice Award. She is director of pharmacy services at  Peninsula Community Health Services, which is a Bremerton clinic providing primary care services to a predominantly underserved population.

During the annual meeting, Brian Beach, ’00, was installed as president of the Washington State Pharmacy Association Board of Directors. Beach is a co-owner of Kelley-Ross Pharmacy and has long been an active member of the Association and an advisory board member of multiple pharmacy and health care organizations.