Gloria Grice

Gloria Grice Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight

In honor of April 2023 being designated as the first annual National Arab American Heritage Month, AACP will be honoring the contributions of Arab Americans to pharmacy education and practice on social media and in our Member Spotlight series. Our latest member spotlight is Gloria Grice, Pharm.D., BCPS, FNAP, Associate Dean, Academic Affairs and Professor, Pharmacy Practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy at University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy. She also currently serves as AACP Speaker of the House of Delegates. 

Why did you decide to pursue a career in pharmacy academia?

I never initially saw myself pursuing academia as a career path. My first career after graduation was clinical pharmacy. I loved practicing in family medicine and I also fell in love with precepting and being in a classroom. It was becoming clearer to me during my residency that I wanted a job that offered me both practice and teaching. Over the course of my academic career, I have changed my practice area several times as my interests evolved and opportunities presented themselves, but each of those changes has deepened my passion for pharmacy education along the way.

What has been the greatest challenge in your career?

Each new position and set of responsibilities have come with different challenges, and that’s precisely why I change positions and responsibilities every 5-6 years. If I’m not being challenged, I’m not growing. And one of my favorite quotes is, “when you stop growing, you start dying” by William S. Burroughs.  Some of the things in my career that grew me the most have been leaving patient care for clinical research, supervising faculty and staff, developing and managing budgets and contracts, designing a new curriculum, leading an accreditation, and negotiating priorities. Now, looking back at all those changes and challenges, I am stronger with a more diverse portfolio of expertise for having had all those experiences. The difficulty of navigating learning new and often tough things has very much been worth it.

What are some ways your Arab American heritage has impacted your scholarship, teaching, clinical practice and other aspects of your professional life?

Many people would not guess that I am an immigrant, or that English was not my first language, or just how challenging it is to grow up in America around a large family that did not grow up in America. These are experiences that shaped me and instilled within me a relentless need to work hard and achieve my goals. Being unlike those around you can be both a curse and a gift. For me, in my professional career, it has been a gift. One that has allowed me to naturally be more inclusive, see things from multiple perspectives, and share with others a respect for the power of diverse thought. This has made me a better clinician, educator, administrator, and person.

What unique perspectives or experiences do current Arab American student pharmacists and pharmaceutical science graduate students bring to pharmacy education and future practice?

Pharmacy education has partnered with many colleges of pharmacy in several Arab countries. Pharmacy education across the middle east has collaborated with ACPE and AACP and it has been truly incredible for me as an Arab-American to see. While there are some commonalities that Arab-Americans likely share, such as their love for food and family, it is hard to generalize what Arab-American students and trainees offer by way of perspective and experience because each person has their own unique perspective and experience based on individual religious, political, familial, and educational influences. If you’ve never had a conversation with an Arab-American, get to know one and learn about what makes them who they are.

Which of AACP’s strategic priorities do you support and/or identify greatly with and why?

Oh, this is so hard to choose!  All six are so relevant and I fully support all of them. The two that initially resonate the most with me are Strategic Priority 1 and Strategic Priority 4. Strategic Priority 1 has been a priority for our profession since I was in pharmacy school, over 20 years ago. I’m sad that it is still a priority and we have slowly moved the needle in the last two decades. I’d love to see greater transformation happen during my lifetime! Priority 4 has become more important to me as I’ve gotten older. Earlier in my career, I was focused mostly on my career and everything I had to do in order to be fulfilled and achieve various goals. Often at the expense of my well-being. With age and experience comes wisdom and if I could go back, I would tell my younger self to stop and smell the roses more and take better care of yourself (mind, body, heart, and soul). In the last few years, I started doing yoga more, sleeping in a little longer, spending more time appreciating the little things: sounds of the birds chirping and waterfalls, seeing the colors across the sky with the sunset, hearing the laughter when my kids are playing, and eating good food with friends. I may also be seen doing crazy things at times (carpe diem, right?) such as picking grape leaves (used to make a traditional Arabic dish called “Waraq dawali”) from a Gaylord hotel in Grapevine, Texas with a dear Palestinian friend in the Academy when the programming was light and everyone else was at the pool. Don’t worry, I had approval from the hotel staff, though they said they had never been asked that before.

How many years have you been a member of AACP?

I have a been a member of AACP since 2004. This organization has had an area for me in each part of my career journey. I began my involvement in the Pharmacy Practice Section while I practiced in family medicine. Then, I became involved in the experiential education section and served as the secretary of knowledge management. I have been involved in the Assessment and Curriculum SIGs, as well as the Council of Faculties and Council of Deans throughout my career. Currently, I serve as the Speaker of the House of Delegates and a member of the Board of Directors for the organization. It is truly a deep honor to have participated in this organization across my career.

What has been the most impactful way that AACP has helped you in your career?

It is easy to focus on just our set of work responsibilities and go about our lives doing them and doing them well. Stepping outside of that and seeing the bigger picture of how truly transformative we can be as educators and administrators when we surround ourselves with others across the country who offer different ideas and different approaches has made me a better educator and administrator. It has been through this network of colleagues, mentors, and friends that I am able to better innovate, problem-solve, and strategize. The community has been the most significant, but in addition, there are three specific ways in which AACP catapulted my career: 1) The meetings and the official journal (AJPE) allowed me to share my scholarship of teaching and learning through various presentations and publications; 2) The Academic Leadership Fellows Program (ALFP) developed my leadership skills and my identity as a leader; and 3) I have had so many opportunities to serve with strong mentors that have encouraged me to do it.

What advice do you have for new AACP members?

Go to an Annual Meeting, and then go to another one. And then keep going! Meet people, learn, share, present, and volunteer! Getting involved will both grow your knowledge and skills as well as your network.