What is PILs?:
WE WANT TO BRING OUT THE BEST IN YOU.
AT EVERY STAGE.
Pharmacy Initiative Leaders (PILs), Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation which seeks to establish quality connections within the pharmacy profession and serve as a premier resource for the success of aspiring pharmacists. With the exciting progressions of pharmacy today, our purpose is to empower underrepresented individuals to succeed at every stage of their pharmacy journey through authentic support and connection.
Exponentially increase the diversity and inclusion of pharmacists, both locally and globally, in all facets of healthcare
Illuminate | Cultivate | Amplify | Connect | Build
- Illuminate pathways to success at every stage
- Cultivate authentic relationships with a diverse group of pharmacy and non-pharmacy leaders at every stage
- Amplify opportunities of the pharmacy journey at every stage
- Connect the profession of pharmacy to every discipline both inside and outside of healthcare at every stage
- Build a sustainable resource which continues to evolve healthcare at every stage
VALID: Vision | Authenticity | Leadership | Innovation | Diversity & Inclusion
- We work and invest diligently to catapult not only our future, but the future of others.
- We move confidently yet remain grounded by who we are at our core. We serve others while empowering them to embrace their uniqueness.
- We are leading leaders who seek to advance pharmacy and healthcare as a whole.
- Intentionally shaping the future. Continuously evolving and adapting with insight and foresight in order to impact the world.
- We take pride in allowing ALL of our differences be our advantage.
The PILs community range from pharmacy consultants in various sectors of the field to include Clinical Specialists, Pharmaceutical Industry, Community Pharmacy, and academia who have traversed the rigors of the field. One common principle that unites all individuals of the PILs community is the genuine excitement for the profession.
Think of PILs as a resource hub with tools and services dedicated to bridging the various disparity gaps in the profession. We pride ourselves on providing consultative services (PILs Coaching), connections with a consortium of eclectic pharmacy professionals (PILs Ambassadors), community based workshops/events, and dissemination of thoughts and ideas from leaders who are dedicated to the profession (The Package Insert Newsletter).
So whether you endeavor to simply learn more about the pharmacy field or perhaps desire to reach the pinnacle of your success, PILs is here to service you AT EVERY STAGE.
Meet The Leadership Team
Dr. Bryan Sackey
Founder, President of PILs, & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Dr. Sackey, founder of the PILs program, received his Doctorate of Pharmacy from Howard University. He was raised in the DC metropolitan and completed his undergraduate training at the University of Maryland College Park where he received his B.S. in Biological Sciences. During his pharmacy school tenure, Dr. Sackey established the PILs program and was a founding member of several other initiatives including “Tutor the Youth” and the first ever pharmacy focused Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) in the nation.
After receiving his PharmD, Dr. Sackey pursued a Post Graduate Year-1 (PGY-1) residency training at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Houston, Texas and completed a PGY-2 in Psychiatry at the Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital. Dr Sackey currently serves as a Psychiatry Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at the Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital as well as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy. He is also involved with several national pharmaceutical organizations to incldue the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) as well as the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP).
Dr. Sackey’s passion involves assisting the underserved and helping to break the barriers of mental health in our communities to include increased access to care in minority populations. Through his experiences, Dr. Sackey hopes to EMPOWER others to achieve beyond the perceived limitations of our society.
Dr. Joshua Blackwell
Co-Founder, Executive Chairman & Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Dr. Joshua Blackwell received his Doctorate of Pharmacy from Ohio Northern University and double-minored in Business Administration and Management. With a completed PGY1/PGY2 Health Systems Pharmacy Administration Residency program at CommonSpirit Health – Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and a Masters of Sciences in Pharmacy Administration and Leadership program at the University of Houston, he has professional interests which include operational and health-system leadership, ambulatory care, transitions of care, and strategic planning or development. Dr. Blackwell currently serves as a Clinical Pharmacy Manager at Johns Hopkins Home Care Group where he focuses on advancing community and ambulatory care practices as well as international patient services.
Joshua has a strong passion for serving his community and being involved within the profession. Outside of his extensive involvement within the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) where has served as a former National President and most recently National Executive Consultant, he maintains professional involvement within the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and Maryland Society of Health-System Pharmacists (MSHP).
Dr. George Okpamen
Co-Founder, Executive Vice President (EVP) of PILs & Pharma Affairs
Dr. George Okpamen is the first of three boys born and raised in Texas, by Pastors Mike and Christy Okpamen. Dr. Okpamen was initiated into the Eta Mu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. at the University of Houston and proceeded to earn his Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) “across the street” at Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Dr. Okpamen had the unique privilege of finishing his pharmacy school career as the first-ever student from his school to intern both at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and a pharmaceutical company (Bristol-Myers Squibb). These experiences, along with his national service on the executive board of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA), cemented his interests in the pharmaceutical industry.
Dr. Okpamen moved to Indianapolis in the summer of 2014 to complete the Eli Lilly Visiting Scientist Fellowship. His one-year post-doctoral fellowship was in Global Public Policy and Corporate Affairs. During his fellowship year, he also began his service with the executive team of the African American Network. As he transitioned from the fellowship to a full-time role in U.S. Oncology Payer Marketing, he co-founded Lilly’s newest employee resource group – the Early Career Professionals (ECP). Currently, Dr. Okpamen leads the consumer experience brand strategy for a novel brand in the U.S. Diabetes market. Dr. Okpamen’s energy and demonstrated ability to AMPLIFY, BUILD, and CONNECT people to purpose have served PILs’ mission since it’s national inception in 2016.
Dr. Onye Ononogbu
Co-Founder, Executive Director of Programs
Dr. Amaechi completed a Bachelor of Science in Allied Health and Diagnostic Sciences at the University of Connecticut. She received her Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of the Incarnate Word – Feik School of Pharmacy in San Antonio, Texas. Her passion for clinical work compelled her to pursue a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC.
Dr. Amaechi is currently a Hematology/Oncology Clinical Pharmacist at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, Texas. As a Clinical Pharmacist, she is responsible for verifying oncologic medication regimens, medication reconciliation, drug information, rounding with a clinical care team, patient safety, nursing unit inspections, etc.
Dr. Amaechi loves being a pharmacist and desires to be an HIV & Oncology Clinical Pharmacy Specialist and eventually, to open up her own consulting firm.
Dr. Martienne Lewis
Chief Information Officer, Executive Secretary of PILs
Dr. Lewis, the Executive Secretary of PILs, is a Board-Certified Psychiatric Pharmacist with the Department of Veteran Affairs. Originally from Wichita, KS, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Business Administration from THE Prairie View A&M University. She then obtained her Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX. As a blessing in disguise, Dr. Lewis did not match her first year. Instead of pursuing the Phase 2 match, she worked in retail pharmacy management in North Texas and gained significant experience in leadership, time management, handling those difficult decisions not taught in pharmacy school, and most importantly, solidifying her passion for pursuing ambulatory care services. She then applied, matched, and completed her PGY1 Ambulatory Care-Focused Residency at the Phoenix VA and her PGY2 Psychiatric Residency at the Eastern Colorado VA in Denver, CO.
Currently, she serves as a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at the Fort Worth Outpatient Mental Health Clinic and the Residency Program Coordinator for the North Texas PGY2 Mental Health Residency program. Dr. Lewis is also involved with other national organizations such as American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), as well as the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP). Dr. Lewis believes in the importance of self-care, normalizing mental health, promoting the value of pharmacists, and helping underserved communities in any way. Outside of pharmacy, she enjoys loving on her husband, 90-lb mastiff, spending time with friends and family, all things food-related, and catching up on her favorite TV shows and movies.
Dr. April Henson
Director of Publications
Dr. April Henson is a graduate of the University of Texas where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences with an emphasis in Early Childhood Development. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy from Chicago State University College of Pharmacy in Chicago. Serving the community and promoting the profession of pharmacy has been April’s passion since she was an undergrad pre-pharmacy member of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA). Her participation in SNPhA led to active involvement on the local and national level throughout pharmacy school.
April currently resides in Houston, Texas, where she serves as a pharmacy manager at the corner of happy and healthy with Walgreens. Within the retail sector, she has worked at various specialty and retail locations serving populations with focuses in areas such as transplant, HIV, Hepatitis C, and fertility. Ensuring seamless transitions of care from one setting to the next for every patient is always the goal and April makes every effort to address each customer experience as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Dr. Shantel Houston
Director of Branding & Public Relations
Dr. Shantel Houston is the Clinical Coordinator at Premier Pharmacy and Wellness Center in Charlotte, NC and the Diabetes Prevention Program Coordinator for Moose Pharmacy in Concord, NC. As President of HoustonRx LLC, Dr. Houston also acts as a consultant for various organizations to complete special projects as requested. She completed a PGY-1 Community-based Pharmacy Residency with the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and Moose Pharmacy and obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of South Florida College of Pharmacy in Tampa, FL. Dr. Houston utilizes her passions for preventive health, medication management, health education, and coaching to provide holistic care to her patients and better serve her community.
Dr. Chandler Shexnayder
Director of Ambassadors Program
Dr. Schexnayder received his Doctorate of Pharmacy from Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) stationed in New Orleans. Some of Dr. Schexnayder’s highlights at XULA include co-founding a service organization, Project E.A.T., to empower black men on campus and leading XULA SNPhA to National Chapter of the Year honors. Dr. Schexnayder is continuing his service with current involvement in the National Pharmaceutical Association (NPhA).
Dr. Schexnayder’s dedication to serve the underserved was a catalyst in completing a PGY-1 Pharmacy Residency and a PGY-2 Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Residency at the Michael E. DeBakey Veteran Affairs in Houston, Texas. At this institution, Dr. Schexnayder is currently a Home-Based Primary Care Clinical Pharmacy Specialist focusing on tele-medication management of chronic disease states for geriatric Veterans. Dr. Schexnayder is an advocate for eliminating racial disparities and inspiring the next generation through means of guidance, representation, and exposure.
His words to live by are Evaluate, Attack, Triumph – E.A.T.
Message from the Founder
Are you sure you want to pursue Pharmacy? That was the phrase that played countless times in my head as I pursued a career that I was unsure I was built for. As my own self-doubt consumed me, I nearly gave up on a passion destined to impact so many individuals. It is true that no one path is the same, however my journey to pharmacy school was a particularly discouraging one. Through my pre-pharmacy endeavor, I never really received appropriate guidance on the necessary steps to take and was left to blindly traverse the process. After repeating several courses to attain a GPA barely sufficient to graduate, my self-confidence severely wavered. At one point, I was even told by my school “advisor” to forgo pharmacy school and become a full time technician because I did not “fit the mold” of this profession. Thankfully, I searched beyond that advice and now proud to call myself a member of this exciting profession.
So the question becomes, does everyone have to go through similar difficulties in their pursuit of this profession? Absolutely Not. Unfortunately, there are many potentially great health practitioners out there in the pre-professional world whose aspirations may be derailed as a result of this. Through my personal experiences, I felt it was a duty incumbent of me to prevent others from experiencing such demoralizing outcomes. This became the inspiration for the development of the Pharmacy Initiative Leaders (PILs) program. I essentially wanted to provide an opportunity for others who may not exactly have the “roadmap”, to continue pursuing their dreams. One of the most prominent components of failure is the inability to recognize your own potentials. Sometimes, all it takes is for one person to believe in you and provide the necessary guidance. Being a leader is all about embodying these principles and possessing the ability to bring out the best in others. The passion of the PILs program is to develop a culture of leaders which promotes the idea that success is attainable regardless of where your journey started. Together, leaders can develop future leaders and ensure a bright future for the field of pharmacy!
-Bryan Sackey PharmD
“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you”