ETSU Pharmacy dean awarded national honor for service

Published 2:41 pm Monday, August 9, 2021

JOHNSON CITY — East Tennessee State University Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy’s dean earned a national honor for her years of service to the profession of pharmacy.

Dr. Debbie Byrd was awarded the Anne Marie Liles Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Pharmacy Practice Section.

“This truly is an honor to be recognized by my colleagues, and especially with an award named in memory of Anne Marie Liles,” said Byrd. “Anne Marie was my student then fellow faculty member at Auburn, and she is missed.” 

Since 1997 Byrd has served as a member of AACP and the Pharmacy Practice Section demonstrating her commitment to the section’s mission and objectives, as well as having served as chair of the Pharmacy Practice Section. Over the past five years as dean and professor at Gatton College of Pharmacy, Byrd has continued to champion and allocate resources for several initiatives that support AACP Pharmacy Practice Section Objectives, like enriching the applicant pipeline, supporting pharmacists and pharmacy careers, and innovating in education and practice.

A professor of Pharmacy Practice, Byrd’s practice experience includes development of new patient care services for underserved Family Medicine patients at sites including a private community hospital, rural mobile health clinic, rural private practice and a large academic medical center. Honored as a Preceptor of Excellence, her leadership in education includes curricular redesign, faculty orientation and mentoring programs, formal resident teaching and learning program activities, and an academia and leadership Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE).  

Originally from Tennessee, Byrd came to ETSU in 2016 with previous administrative leadership experience at University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy and Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy. At UT, Byrd served as associate dean for professional affairs and assistant dean for a new satellite campus; at Auburn she served as director of experiential learning, director for primary care and rural primary care residency programs.

Byrd is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy and completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis followed by a Primary Care Specialty Residency at the National Institutes of Health. She is a graduate of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education Management Development Program and the AACP Academic Leadership Fellows Program.

Gatton College of Pharmacy was founded in 2005 by the community to train student pharmacists in order to fill a health care need in the region. Over the last decade, the college has grown and matured to a national presence and enrolled high-quality students from across the country. The college’s faculty, student pharmacists and student organizations are the proud recipients of national awards and accolades for service, scholastic achievement and clinical training. Learn more at