Dispense as Written: Ambassador Spotlight – Dr. Martienne Vernon

Featured PILs Ambassador:

Martienne D. Vernon, PharmD, BCPP
Mental Health Clinical Pharmacist Specialist

Who/what inspired you to pursue pharmacy?

While attending Prairie View A&M University, I worked at a pharmacy in a very small town and I witnessed how much the community depended on their neighborhood pharmacy. Before consulting with their physician about anything, they came to Mustafa, their community pharmacist. After a while, they trusted me with the hard questions and I knew I wanted to be at the front line treating people in need.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your area of pharmacy practice?

Bringing reassurance to a Veteran who has lost all hope. Having a Veteran tell me “Thank you for listening” or “I appreciate you for explaining that to me. No one’s ever done that”. My day is made EVERY time 🙂

At what moment did you realize you were a real pharmacist?

During my first week as a Target pharmacist after training was complete, an angry customer presented to my pharmacy very aggressively and said, “Can I speak to the pharmacy manager?” … I looked around, straightened up my white coat and said, “Yes how I can help you?”

Which prominent figure, past or present, leadership style do you admire and why?

George Washington Carver – “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of opportunity”. He was known for coaching former slaves to be self-sufficient by teaching farming techniques.  He was a lifelong learner, practiced perseverance, and extended his knowledge. I thrive for continual growth, working hard, and helping others in need regardless of my current circumstances. What does anything mean if you can’t share it?

Which particular aspect of your field/specialization do you foresee drastically changing in the next 5 years? 

Particularly within the VA, most clinical pharmacy specialists already have prescriptive authority within their scope of practice for non-controlled medications which is a change from 5-10 years ago; however, with prescriptive authority comes more responsibility. I can see more programs and/or pharmacists pushing for DEA certification to have prescriptive authority to prescribe controlled substances.  This is already seen in some states.


Interview by: Onye Ononogbu, PharmD. Dr. Ononogbu is a staff writer for The Package Insert.

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