George E. MacKinnon III

George E. MacKinnon III

Member Spotlight

Our latest member spotlight is George E. MacKinnon III, Ph.D., M.S., R.Ph., FASHP, FNAP. Dr. MacKinnon is the founding Dean at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a Professor of Family and Community Medicine in the Institute for Health and Equity. George spoke to Matt Cipriani, AACP Director of Member Engagement, about his career in academia and experience with AACP.

Which priorities in the 2021-2024 AACP Strategic Plan do you support and/or identify greatly with and why?

Given the overall theme of the strategic plan, Preparing Pharmacists and the Academy to Thrive in Challenging Times, as a pharmacist and dean, I am drawn to strategic priorities one (Leading the Transformation of Pharmacy Practice) and two (Optimizing Pharmacy Education and Training Across the Lifespan of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists), as I see these two priorities inextricably linked. As a profession we must be relentless in our support of new models of “interprofessional care teams” that include pharmacist practitioners, who have knowledge and skills complementing those of the other team members (e.g., as the medication use expert, pharmacogenomics, assessing drug-drug interactions). Our Academy must ensure we produce pharmacy graduates that can provide such services on a consistent basis while providing educational modalities and resources supporting not only student pharmacists but advancing the skills of current pharmacists through CPD programming and degrees. 

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

My masters project focused on the use of computer adaptative software (in the late 1980s) to better understand the process by which student pharmacists and pharmacists made clinical decisions from predefined case studies. This work instilled in me the desire to create programs and resources to support students initially in the clinical environment. Following my two-years of residency training, I had the great fortune to be co-located with a family medicine residency training program in my faculty position where I created my first post-graduate training position (that instilled in me a model for primary care pharmacist practitioners). During this time, I realized that I enjoyed the process of creation and working with all learners from various disciplines (before IPE was IPE). Carrying on my “creation passion,” I have been fortunate to have been involved in a leadership capacity in establishing four colleges/schools of pharmacy the past 30 years. I was able to become engaged in curricular innovation where I co-created accelerated B.S.Pharm and Pharm.D. programs, a non-traditional Pharm.D. (NTPD) for practicing pharmacists, and recently introducing Pharm.D. Concentrations. As a result, I too have had the gratifying opportunity to have recruited and hired many faculty that have gone on to successful careers (several in leadership roles) in pharmacy/medical education and practice. 

What has been the greatest challenge in your career?

Taking on too much at a time.

How many years have you been a member of AACP?

I have the great pleasure to have been an active member for over 30 years serving on Workgroups, Standing Committees, and Dean’s Task Forces while presenting at various meeting and Institutes. I also was fortunate to have been afforded the opportunity to join the organization as the Vice President of Academic Affairs (2006-2008) with highlights including overseeing the movement of Experiential Education to a Section and the formative stages of what has become IPEC.

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

AACP has served as my academic home where I have shared the journey and ride with many colleagues that were always willing to have a side-bar conversation on a topic or issue I maybe was facing as a faculty or administrator. I too recall attending my first Council of Deans (COD) meeting as this was a surreal experience, as I was walking into the hall of giants, names that I knew from textbooks, seminal papers and presentations. Yet, they welcomed me and I learned from their collegial yet critical ways of thinking about the business of academic pharmacy. I hope that I have returned the favor to new members. 

What advice do you have for new AACP members?

Follow your passion(s), connect with those with similar interests, at AACP meetings and through listservs. From a scholarly perspective, if it’s worth doing, then do it well, and thus it’s likely worth publishing (hopefully in AJPE). Collaborations can be infectious, beneficial, and rewarding. Lastly, advocate for the essentiality of pharmacists across the spectrum of care.